As many of my readers know, I just started teaching my very first drawing class at my studio this week. I created a 5-session course to help beginning artists learn skills that will help them create realistic, detailed portraits they can be proud of.
Since I normally am a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kind of guy, I figured I would do better and create an intricate, elaborate lesson plan with 50-some drawing exercises (a little exaggeration) and that the students could knock them out in about 10-15 minutes. No problem, right?
Man, I am glad I only had one student.
It took me and and my student way, way longer to do these exercises than I had anticipated.
We had 5 exercises planned for the first two-hour session and only got the second one partway done!
Time to regroup.
Instead of trying to create several mediocre drawings, I am now shooting for the students in my class–well, in this case, one–to create just two really great drawings. And I”ll teach him every trick I know.
But so far, my student Tim, who is a professional taxidermist (you need some art skills to paint fish and deer mounts) did a good job on his first portrait attempt, based off a photo of young woman. Here it is in progress, after a little over an hour’s work. Not bad!
My student, Tim P., working on a pencil portrait
We start by using the grid method to gain proficiency in drawing what you actually see instead of what you think you see. Did you know Michaelangelo used this method to sketch in the composition for the Sistine Chapel? If it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for me!
In the coming week (today), we will shade this drawing in. After that, we’ll have the student create a drawing from one of his own photographs, and fully shade it in with tone and value. That way, he will end up with a fantastic drawing that is personally memorable to him, and something he’ll be proud of!
In an upcoming post, after I teach it in the class, I am going to share with you in depth, how I approach shading and value in a portrait sketch, and hopefully give you some tips if you like to draw.
But for now, I’m learning more is not always better. Sometimes it’s better to teach a few things well, than to teach many things poorly. And the same thing goes with learning, too! I am learning how to teach art–this is new thing for me.
We are all a work in progress.
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"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."
"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo
One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!
Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!