“How do you do that?”

“How do you do that?”. Sometimes people ask me this when they see my drawings. I have no doubt they are being complimentary and see something great in what I do. My response? I shrug and say “Thanks. I don’t know. I just kind of…do it”. 

Yep. Real helpful I know. My technique for drawing has become so second nature I don’t tend to think how to explain it all that much. It’s as though you’ve asked me how I manage to walk on two legs and stuff that burrito in my mouth at the same time. 

Now, being a creature of comfort, I will most likely continue to give this feeble response. I hesitate to bleat on about art technique when I’m talking with non artists because I don’t want to give the impression it’s some superior skill that only the elite can understand and master, because I don’t think that it is. Also, that kind of jibber jabber will induce an eye-roll so big their eyes are unable to return to this hemisphere. Nobody needs it.

So how do I do that? Here’s just a few of the things I’ve come up with:

1. Practice. Yep. Like any other skill, it mostly amounts to practice. Making lots (and lots) of mistakes and then learning from them. Although I am relatively new to making art my full time job, I’ve had years of practice drawing. Now that I am drawing full time I can see myself improving continually. 

2. Actually doing it! So you’ve read point #1 and thought “um, no not for me”. Relax. Drawing isn’t for everyone and that’s ok. But if you really want to get good at anything, you need to just start. Then go back and read point #1. 

3. Take your time. Most styles of drawing can be more tedious than other forms of art such as painting. Generally because it’s harder to cover your mistakes. You need to set out with a plan and not rush it. 

4. Contrast and detail. Most times when people ask how i did something, it is usually with a piece that has high contrast (i.e. dark vs light) and/or a lot of detail. If you are looking for the wow factor I would suggest creating more interest with your work.

5. Push yourself outside your comfort zone. I think you can agree that no one would be asking me “how I did that” with my childhood doodlings. Or maybe you are (I apologise in advance that those pieces are not for sale). In any case, if you are looking at someone’s work and you think, “wow, I’d love to but I could never do that, it’s just too hard” I’d say give it a go. I look at many artists and think the same thing. The reality is I probably don’t have the patience to attempt what they are doing. But in my own work I have tried to push myself whether it is to try a different technique, work on a larger piece or a different subject matter. 

Has this answered the question? Eh probably not. Will I answer people differently if they ask me “how I did that?”. Almost positively no. But I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t hide behind my computer to inform you there is no shenaniganary, just a whole lot of hard work. Anyway, I’m still learning and can’t believe how others do what they do in their day job. “How do you do it?”

x Candy

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