It’s funny the comments you get when people catch you drawing in public. Almost always, someone will say something along the lines of, “Wow! So much talent. I wish I could do that.” It reminds me of a conversation I had with my pre-med college roommate that has stuck with me. She said, “People say I’m smart. Like it’s natural, like I was born with it. But they don’t realize how hard I work, how much time I spend studying. I just work _really_ hard.”

I think this gets lost often when people see artists doing their thang. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in order to cultivate and nurture our technical skills and creativity, a lot of observation, and discipline.

Here are some of the ways I’ve been studying:

• Mastercopies. Copying the sketches and drawings of artists I like and admire. This is an incredibly effective way to learn how the artist approached their piece, their technique, and how they problem-solved within their piece. I’ve been trying to do mastercopies everyday.

• Film studies. Freeze-framing animated and live action movies to break down the compositions, lighting, how the focal point is emphasized. Working with a black marker to break the frame down into simply blocked out shapes is a good way to learn about layout designs and compositions, too.

• Learning about LIFE things. I listen to Radiolab episodes while working, I’ve been reading about neuropsychology, learning about social-psychology theories, branching out into other worlds of interests lately. I’ve been reading a LOT, more than I ever have. Also, I’ve been trying to watch one classic film a week so I just have that cultural knowledge. I’m making more of an effort to go out and experience new places and things when possible. Creativity does not exist in a vacuum.

Mucha sketch studies. Super soft lines! Ahh!

Mucha sketch studies. Super soft lines! Ahh!

 

Norm Schureman, former Dynamic Sketching instructor at Art Center. Copying this book has been golden.

Norm Schureman, former Dynamic Sketching instructor at Art Center. Copying this book has been golden.

 

Chris Sanders for anatomically correct stylized female figures. Very fun to draw.

Chris Sanders for anatomically correct stylized female figures. Very fun to draw.

 

50's type and design element studies. Copying out of some books to get the feel for the 50's designs for an assignment I'm working on.

50’s type and design element studies. Copying out of some books to get the feel for the 50’s designs for an assignment I’m working on.

 

Sleeping Beauty value breakdowns

Sleeping Beauty value breakdowns

 

Some books I've been reading at the moment.

Some books I’ve been reading at the moment.

 

My growing bookshelf! Doesn't include all my undergrad soc books that are all up North. This is just my more recent collection, which mostly developed in the last 6 months. Trying my best to get thru them!

My growing bookshelf! Doesn’t include all my undergrad soc books that are all up North. This is just my more recent collection, which mostly developed in the last 6 months. Trying my best to get thru them!