another beginner

Home Forums Practice & Advice another beginner

This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Artful Vixen 6 years ago.

  • Subscribe Favorite
  • #464

    Hi All: yep another senior who decided to learn how to draw. I've had 6 private lessons with a professor who had me doing blind contours, upside down Stravinsky drawing, upside down horse, blind contours of my hand (several). I found the internet to be useful for 'pencil mileage' while my teacher does not care for the net. Recently she assigned my 30 gesture drawings of one minute. Frankly I kind of freaked out and try as I might all of them looked to have been done by a 5 yr. old.
    We've had no pencil drills as such. My circles often have a flat spot on them, lines often wiggly/furry type. I hunger for having someone to talk with about this drawing thing as I very much want to become competent even later excellent. I am 70 yrs of age so maybe there is a bit of cognitive erosion re:hand eye coordination and frankly am fearful of that happening tho' I realize I cant stop it.
    For any of you inclined to offer advice I would be very grateful.

    Please support Line of Action

    Support us to remove this


    Welcome to this wonderful world of art! I'm no professional, but here's my two (or four) cents:

    Firstly, loosen up! When drawing basic outlines or rough sketches, you can try holding the pencil in one of these non-traditional positions. It will force you to draw with your arm and shoulder, rather than just your wrist; as a result, your strokes will become longer, and less "furry". When trying out these (admittedly weird) pencil positions, don't be cautious - just slash that line on the page! There's always an eraser. I typically block in general shapes and proportions in a non-traditional position, then switch to the traditional pencil position to draw the final outline, add detail, etc.

    Secondly, learning about human proportion and the sizes of body parts relative to each other is very helpful. Straight up searching "human proportions" on the internet yields a lot of resources. It might also be interesting to learn about the (ancient) Greek canon for human proportion.

    Thirdly, learning about shadows and light is a must. I'm really bad at explaining this concept, but Youtube is a wondrous place. I urge you to go explore.

    You can go with any art style you desire, but I personally really like cross-hatching. Though it may look more rough than blending/smudging, I think it's all part of the appeal. Plus, it's quicker. Here's an example I drew the other day.

    Also, would you mind sharing with us your sketches? Don't worry if you think they are "bad" - we are here to help, not criticize. Seeing your sketches may help me (and others) give more personalized advice.

    Good luck on your endeavors!


    Thanks for your kind and insightful reply. Lots of very good suggestions which I will follow.
    I would be up for sharing some of my 'sketches' even as my self consciousness tries to hold me back. How would I share them? By scanning some of them?
    BTW, what do you think of the drsb (Edwards) way of learning and drawing? What do you consider meaningful practice say, when you're at home and have a pencil/pen and some paper at hand?

    Thanks again, Artful appreciate your suggestions muchly.



    Hi, there. I'm also a senior beginner ... sort of. I'm 62, and I got my degree in drawing and painting 35 years ago. But since then, you know, life intervened, and I feel like I need to approach it as a beginner again. So I started with Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, which I loved 35 years ago and still love today.

    Artful Vixen has some great advice, and I'm going to look into some of it for myself. The one thing that I get mixed up on is: learning proportion and perspective are left-brain type things, and that's why I think I fail at them. I know they're important, but I find I do better when I let go of the analytical side of things and just look. (By "better" I mean I feel like I've done something authentic, true to myself.) But I know my drawings suffer from distorted proportions. I keep thinking I need to get further into Right Side - book and exercises - before I try to do anything analytical like Vitruvian Man. (I am also reading the new Isaacson bio of Leonardo, ha.)

    Not sure I'm making any sense here. I know I need to learn proportions, but I like my drawings better when I loosen up.

    You can take photos of your drawings with your phone, to post them. (I usually get a thumb in mine, but cropping tools are a wonderful thing.) Some of mine can be found here:
    And I am shy about sharing them.

    I will say that life drawing in a group is the best thing I've done for both skill and confidence. Everyone has a different style and approach - like Edwards says in Right Side, it's like your signature. Knowing there's no single "excellent" drawing makes me a lot more comfortable with my efforts. There is a Meetup group in my city that hires live models. I like that better than a formal class because of my erratic schedule and because, you know, I'm old. Art students are young, energetic and arrogant ...

    I guess this is more moral support than advice. Good luck and happy drawing!



    Hi Kay! No worries, you make perfect sense to me. I do get the out of proportion issue since nearly all drawings of mine end up being out of proportion. Ex: when I draw a head and then go to the neck and shoulder connections one side will be "accurate" while the other will be way off, i.e. line from neck blending into shoulder will bear little resemblance to opposite side of body. Then I get tense and frustration sets in and then more tension. I think a lot of my issues are rooted in absolutely no earlier experience in drawing at all. Well, those football plays I diagrammed in h.s. study hall don't really count lol . I love to read so naturally I delved into library books on 'how to draw'.
    Also the videos on the internet have been helpful but the teacher I meet with doesn't care for that material at all. So I'm pressing to gain pencil mileage by doodling lots and drawing those drills I find. I haven't experienced working with a live model and don't feel prepared to do so.
    I will check out your drawings and thanks for sharing them with me. I have learned from my teacher there are no mistakes in drawing, that's why there are erasers. She encourages me really to really lighten up. When we first began working together I was doing a blind drawing on my hand and she told me, "you can breathe while drawing"...
    Thanks again Kay, and please feel free to comment further.
    Best wishes,
    Tom in Indiana


    Ah, proportions. Pesky things, they are. One suggestion I have is to view objects as relative to each other. For example: noticing that the end of a shirt collar is vertically aligned with the corner of the right eye, that the vase is three times the height of the teacup, that the width from ear to ear is equal to the height from chin to eyebrows, that the right fist is exactly horizontal to the left elbow, etc. Pencils are handy tools for measurement.

    An alternative way of sharing your sketches: you can initially store your photos in the Cloud (I use Google Photos). That will then generate a link that you can use on here.

    Hope this helped! Happy (solar) New Year!


    Thank you Artful! Very good tips to be sure, lots of knowledge and experience behind your comments. I'm a bit stuck on the right fist being parallel to the left elbow; the others i got immediately.
    Good advice too, for transmitting images.
    Hope you all have a super New Year and a healthy one too.



    Oops, I definitely phrased that oddly.

    For clarification,
    here's an annotation of one of my drawings.

Login or create an account to participate on the forums.