The notion of art is, by definition, an inexplicable, ephemeral quality.

What qualifies as drawing art to one appreciative viewer might look like doodles, scribbles or random blobs of paint to even his closest friend.

Until the Age of Enlightenment, any concept of art was thought to be in contrast to tangible, measurable disciplines such as science and nature.

Since the mid-eighteenth century, when philosophical and intellectual pursuits became the vogue, art has been synonymous with beauty.

Far from remaining stagnant, this form of creation has enjoyed many trends through the years: cubism, realism, impressionism and abstract, just to name a few.

Can you think of an artist prominent in each movement?

Through each of its incarnations, one constant remains true to this day: rendering any type of art means that the person wielding the graphite pencil, Conté crayon, charcoal or paint brush is expressing deep, inner thoughts and emotion.

That holds true for any form of art: music, cinema, literature... not just drawing people, drawing animals or a serene watercolor landscape drawing.

Each these media – every medium through which one can create art, has one fundamental, driving force: to communicate an emotion and/or message from the artist's point of view.

The most amazing aspect of art is that each of us might have the soul of a poet or the eye of a painter.

What about you? Is your inner artist buried deep inside, seeking a way out?

Learning how to draw is a good way to develop your artistic sense and alter your relationship to the external world.

You might find, through your sketching, that what appears in your drawings is simply the best of you.

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Imagine gifting your imagination to loved ones for Christmas!
By giving your imagination free rein, you too could design such fantastic landscapes Source: Pixabay Credit: Kellepics

Give Your Imagination Free Rein By Drawing

Art is creation. Creation is visual imagination.

Have you ever watched a child draw? Especially the way they draw faces?

Their drawings can be very simple: their house, their mum and dad or some other person, and how they love to draw animals!

When you quiz your young Picasso about what s/he drew, the answer might be wildly different than what the simple lines on the paper reveal.

Young ones are especially adept at shouting back from the fields of imagination.

It is such a pity that their right brain is not fully developed.

Their left brain isn't fully developed either, meaning that limited vocabulary and minimal fine motor skills they possess, at the time their imagination is so vivid, don't permit accurate depictions of what they see in their mind's eye.

As adults, we sometimes lack the boldness of children who, when confronted with a blank piece of paper, feel compelled to fill it with shapes and colors.

For most of us, an expanse of drawing paper immediately fills us with a sense of dread.

What should we draw? Will we represent it well? Will we be judged for our efforts?

To rediscover our inner artist, we must first become emboldened.

We must dare to dream. Dare to draw. Dare to express ourselves loudly, in the quietest medium available.

Who knows? If you get good a drawing and painting, you may be able to escape the cube farm you are currently employed at and find work as an illustrator!

But, please: don't pick up a pack of Derwent colored pencils simply in the hopes of a better, more stimulating job. There are many reasons to learn to draw.

Practice art for art's sake, if you can.

Art school and drawing tutorials online would suggest that technique is key to realistic drawing.

Let us put that theory to the test, shall we?

Would you sketch a tree, please?

Do you only see green leaves and a brown trunk? Or is there a brilliantly-hued bluebird building a nest, hidden in the branches?

Is your tree alone upon a vast expanse of lawn, or is he standing proud among his peers? Are there any flowers blooming nearby?

Does a family with small children dwell in the house sheltered by your tree? Do they play on the swing that hangs from that particularly sturdy, low-hanging branch?

Here, with words alone, we have created an entire tableau that suggests home, family, security, happiness, nature, and timelessness.

Imagine what you could draw with the right colored pencil in your hand?

Great art, like great music, does not come from technique alone.

The guitarist must feel every note, just as you should quite nearly feel the warm spring sun on your skin as you draw that scene we imagined just now.

To paraphrase what our dear JK Rowling quipped about the importance of imagination:

Imagination is that exclusively human ability that allows us to see what is not, and thus invent and innovate.

Have you never felt more spoken to in all of your life?

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This mixed media work is the result of artistic experimentation
Experimenting with mixed media can yield art such as this Source: Pixabay Credit: Intographics

Experiment with All Media

By media, we don't mean those available on your computer or Smartphone, otherwise known as social media.

Those can yield quite the opposite of the calming effect that creating art generally has!

We hope to entice you to try your hand at all forms of art: weaving fabric, working clay, even sculpting stone, if that is your pleasure!

And, of course, we hope you will have a go learning drawing and sketching.

You may even want to pick up a paint brush and try your hand at watercolors, acrylic painting and oil pastels.

You might also find that digital painting can be rather fun and engaging!

In short: you should try every manner of artistic expression until you find the style that is right for you.

How do these strike you?

  • Realistic drawings, such as: still life and life drawing
  • cartoons
  • manga
  • caricature
  • fantasy art
  • figure drawing

As there are many types and styles of drawing, each with its own characteristics, surely there is something for you to draw!

How about:

  • drawing a rose?
  • Drawing an animal?
  • Drawing hands?
  • Drawing eyes?
  • Drawing the human form?

Of course, we concede that every subject would be easier to draw and paint if you have learned a few drawing techniques.

And what a great reason to take more basic drawing lessons!

Unless you are a lucky art savant – or images just flow out of your pencil tip, finding your muse can be tricky.

Cultivating your powers of observation, ability to reproduce on a flat surface that which is three dimensional, drawing has many benefits in improving your creativity, mental and motor skills.

Imagining: pulling ideas from your inner landscape and creating them for all to see takes both skill and courage.

For your bravery, the best advice would be for you to have a go at free drawing.

As for skill, you should learn:

  • how to use scale and proportion
  • how to create perspective
  • how to draw shapes
  • how to draw a human figure
  • how to draw a human face
  • how to shade, and use the interplay of light and shadow
  • gesture drawing, to create a sense of movement
  • how to convey a mood through colour and setting
  • how to gain fluency in your strokes, be they pencil, brush or eraser

Besides acquiring skills necessary to fill your drawing paper with pencil portraits, your art teacher should instruct on:

  • how to use a blending stump
  • differences in paper: watercolor paper, Bristol or charcoal
  • why you need a kneaded eraser, a gum eraser, a vinyl eraser and a rubber eraser
  • the different grades of pencil – H, B, HB, and F, and their uses
  • the importance of a quality tool to sharpen your pencils with
  • the best ways to store your art materials

The more you know about the mechanics of creating art, the more confident you will feel addressing your sketchbook.

With each successive drawing lesson, you will be able to cast a more critical eye on your work.

Not a more jaundiced eye, mind you. Quite the opposite!

As your drawing skills improve, you will contour with the softness reserved for a mother lovingly caressing her child's cheek.

Conversely, you may eagerly, aggressively render a line drawing in bold colour or a pen and ink cross hatching that speaks of your desire to produce art quickly.

Your actions will be more precise, and you'll take more and more pleasure in taking time to draw.

You might be surprised to find yourself doodling, every chance you get!

When you first start your art lessons, you will find yourself keen to spot unusual sights, and find your fingers itching to commit them to paper.

As you advance in learning to draw, you might be surprised to realise that the way you see the world has changed: everything is embellished with angles, lines and structure.

You will be helpless against noticing horizon lines and multiple perspectives.

You will capture it all in your sketches that, once worked, will become a preserved moment in time.

And that, dear Reader, is what it means to be an artist.

If you learn how to work a Wacom tablet, a career as a graphic artist awaits!

Drawing to Capture Reality

In these days of reality television programmes – and of the selfie: those eternal snapshots, with this filter or that one applied; are you, like so many others, seeking an alternate reality?

A more there reality?

We're not saying anything against the selfie. After all, some of the world's most famous artist painted their own likeness.

It is just that a fleeting moment in time, digitally captured and equally easy to delete, seems to mean little when compared to the time, effort and passion invested in capturing a pastoral scene at first light.

And the skill required to execute such a work!

To expand on the subject of skill, let us now consider caricature: satire in colour.

The artist must have to capacity to observe the ironic quality of his subject, and call it forth, all while retaining the essential appearance.

How to draw a chin particularly exaggerated, all while maintaining relatively normal features elsewhere in the face? Or a protuberant nose?

A caricature artist sees humour just under the surface of everything. She would most likely enjoy a good laugh, and thus pours her heart into laughable depictions.

Would your next step be to become a professional artist?

An artist taps a deep well of emotion, from start to finish, when creating art.

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No two people view this pencil sketch with the same emotion
This evocative pencil sketch calls forth conflicting emotions Source: Wikimedia Credit: Dali

Getting to the Heart of Art

It is striking how a single work can affect everyone differently.

Two friends, viewing City of the Drawers, a pencil drawing on paper by Salvador Dali:

“That poor woman! They took everything from her!”, says one viewer.

Her companion opined: “How odd! He turned her torso into drawers!”

Clearly, each woman had a different life experience, leading the first one to focus on the woman's pose and the second friend to marvel at the cleverness of the depiction.

As you learn how to sketch, don't be surprised if your efforts meet with the same result.

By refining your technique and defining your style; while you master step by step drawing and the use of negative space, you will find your sense and feel of art evolving.

As it does, and as you grow artistically, you will find that the whole world is yours to draw!

Do you know about the connection between maths and drawing?

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.