2 Beginners INSTANTLY Improve? How to draw what you see

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We’re doing an experiment this week. I asked two drawing beginners – my wife Lucy and my friend Dan – to draw a face. They were nervous because they, like many of us, find portraits particularly difficult to draw. Their lines were tentative and shading was light.

Then I asked them to go through an exercise in abstracting the light and shadows on the face. Their drawings changed dramatically. See the results in the video!

The reason behind this is that people often draw figures and faces worse than they could draw other things because we are too attached to the human form. When you can learn to detach a little bit – stop thinking about the face and instead think about the shapes of the tones, your ability to draw what you see improves.

I found this experiment to be really fascinating and I’d love to hear what you think. I was shocked to see how different the portraits were, even though it was the same person drawing the same photo during the same drawing session.

As we always say, there’s no shortcuts in drawing. This is an exercise that will help you develop the ability to draw what you see and overcome the anxiety of drawing a human being, so it’s a good way to practice, but it’s still all about practice.

Try our foreshortening series:

Thanks as always to Croquis Cafe for the reference photo.

Music by Osaka Rain by ALBIS, Distant Lands by Hanu Dixit, Country Gentleman by Endless Love, Slow Times Over Here by Midnight North


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