Day 5 – Back to Basics

The reason I decided to work on my drawing skills this year is that it’s something I’ve always felt insecure about. When I went to school for graphic design 20 years ago I was in class with some incredible artists. They could quickly draw something that looked like a photograph and most of them went on to be professional illustrators. Knowing that path wasn’t one I had the talent for, I concentrated more on the technical and practical side of things.

Over the years I have taken a number of drawing courses and learned some great things. In college I took the popular ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain‘ course based on exercises in the book of the same name. It was fascinating to learn how your brain works and how you essentially have to trick it when you’re drawing. Through that course I learned how to filter out the object itself and pull out the light and dark areas. I’ve found that’s the key for me….seeing things in the right way.

Today I decided to go back to basics and do a simple still life. I grabbed a couple of apples out of the fridge and set them up. I pulled out paper and pencils and charcoal and got to work.

When drawing apples your brain says ‘it’s an apple, I know how it’s supposed to look” and then you try to draw the image of an apple that’s in your brain. This will never look right because that isn’t actually what’s in front of you. You have to ignore what your brain is telling you and actually just draw what you see. I find it helpful to break it down even further and concentrate on the shapes of light and dark. Instead of looking at an apple shape I concentrate on the dark areas and their shapes and then the lighter areas and their shape.

So here are the apples I set up and my drawing.