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  • Writer's pictureAndy Chapman

A Journey Into Art: Part One

My relationship with art has always been one sided. I enjoy looking at art. I’m a fan of galleries and spending time wandering through the brains of artists from the past and now. I love the varied personalities you find hanging on the walls, the emotion you find in each brush stroke and I love the almost perplexing nature of much contemporary art. Where sometimes it’s simply the idea or the attempted execution of the project that matters most. I’m a fan of art because it delves into the vastness of the human condition in ways that words can never express. But when it’s come to creating my own art, things are a little different.

I’ve never been able to draw, much of my skill hasn’t really improved since early childhood when I’d enjoy drawing strange monsters, goblins and indescribable scribbled entities that would make Lovecraft proud. I haven’t drawn with purpose, well, ever. So what’s changed.

All it took was a decision. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Deciding I want to do that, I’m going to try. So I searched for local courses and found a weekend introduction to drawing and painting. A two day course to get you started. From this course I learnt a helpful method of how to go about drawing, what to look at first, how to work out proportions, measuring and perspective. Knowing just a little bit of these ideas has allowed me to progress and actually produce work that I feel isn’t all that bad.

Below are examples of how in one day I progressed from drawing a box with no guidance, to gradually taking on board the ideas that were taught.

On the second day, rather than hammering into technique, was the fun with materials day. We produced quick 15 minute sketches experimenting with different materials. This gave a good test into what each student preferred to work with.

Below are the results of this work, using Charcoal, Compressed Charcoal, Soft Pastels and acrylic paint.

I think the soft pastels drawing seemed to give me the best results, but I enjoyed using acrylic paint more. Painting ultimately is what I’d like to be doing. But getting the basics of drawing I believe is import, so for now I’ll hone my skills with pencil on paper.

Talking of which, in the subsequent weeks after the short course, I’ve drawn a few other sketches that I think have mixed success.

Below is what I have drawn since the course.

My first forays into drawing people have been mixed. The first (the girl laying on her side) I had real trouble getting the face and hands right, which still aren't, but I am happy with the position of her body and head, as well as the effect of pulling her lip down with her fingers.

The fourth drawing (The girl sitting with her hands crossed) I have is a big improvement on the first. Her hair and face, although nothing close to the reference image, have a personality and since of identity to them which draws in the eye. Improvement can be made on shading as well as arms and hands.

The last drawing of a vampire girl was my first drawing from nothing, all the others I had a reference image to measure from, while in this was an experiment in drawing from my own mind. What I have learnt from this is to think more about the scene or composition of the subject and the image overall. I drew her in a basic portrait, front facing pose, which is hard to get a sense of depth or character, it is very much a drawing on paper, rather than a character coming to life in my opinion.

Moving forward I’ll continue to draw people as this is my interest and am thinking of joining a life drawing group, which will help me progress further. Finding real life subjects to practise on will be the goal, but I think I will also continue to draw from images. Movies are a great source for finding dynamic stills to recreate.

Thanks for reading.


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