Monday, August 15, 2011


One of the things that I've learned about learning how to draw is that it's not a sprint but a marathon. This goes for just about everybody, with the exception of those special people who can draw with no instruction or practice. These prodigy's are few and far between. For the rest of us, the process of getting from here to there is a long slog filled with lots of practice.

My Pop used to say that the way to be a better artist was to burn paper -just draw and draw and draw. When I decided to get serious about my artwork I was literally at the beginning, even though I had done a little figure drawing from a live model. I would stay up late into the night and draw from magazines. A couple of weeks later I started drawing comic pages out of my head, but continued to look at art anatomy books. As soon as I got the chance, I did more figure drawing from a model. I just drew and drew and drew.

The first page is where I was at the very beginning, and the second is
where I was at the end of college a couple of years later.

The good news was that I did get better. The bad news is that I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.  I finished college and started working at an art studio where I helped color storyboard frames and watched to see how different illustrators approached their work. I learned some great things form them, and some things that I later found that I had to abandon. I worked there for about a year before I realized that, even though I didn't want to, I had to go back to school.  This was all part of the process.

Some of my early attempts at illustration advertising art,
before I went back to school

I put aside the comic book artwork for a couple of years and concentrated of advertising illustration. I found this was very helpful, because I learned to draw real things as opposed to just superheroes. I did find myself going back to comics though and was able to employ some different techniques to them, like making use of photo reference.

A couple of pages I did while @ American Academy Of Art
the later page was done with photo reference.

Practice and being open to different approaches is essential to becoming an illustrator and learning how to draw. Just as important is realizing your own shortcomings and taking steps to improve them, like taking a class or studying the way someone else draws. However, it is only one part of the process. Tomorrow I will talk about rejection as well as useful, and useless, advice.