In between work on contracts, client work, products for upcoming craft shows, and preparations for my busy holiday season (no pressure, right?) I’ve decided to also take on a small art practice program that I intend on using to improve my techniques.
The program is called Draw A Box. Presented by Irshad Karim and completely free, Draw A Box is an art program that starts at the very core of art fundamentals. It’s a simple, yet layered program that focuses heavily on improving the mechanical habits of drawing before easing into elements of observational and analytical drawing skills. It’s extremely beginner-friendly, but has also proven to be a great “kickstart” and refresher for established artists like me who feel they could use a little boot camp.
“But Allie,” I hear you say. Yes, you. Over there. You say, “Allie, you already know how to draw. In fact, I’m pretty sure you make a living off of it.”
You’re right, I do. But like many a professional at their craft, I’ve settled into some familiarities that aren’t entirely beneficial or condusive to being the best I can be, in favour of what I perceive to be comfort.
Some of these things include:
- putting my face way, way too close to the screen or paper
- relying almost completely on my wrist for pen motion
- focusing too hard on individual lines
- fussing over minute details instead of focusing on composition as a whole
There’s more that I’m forgetting. All things I’ve wanted to work on for some time, but wasn’t sure how. Then I found Draw A Box, which resonated with my idea, and made the decision to try it. After all, why not? The content is free (though I intend on becoming a patron of Irshad’s if I continue the program) and doing these drills and exercises is sure to improve my overall skillset in some form or another, no matter how drastically. I have always been a believer that drawing is not a talent – it is a skill, and the “talent” comes from the passion to pursue the skill. Irshad shares this mentality.
Anyone can draw. So can you!
So let’s proceed, shall we?
The first part of the first lesson is all about lines, and practicing the art of moving your pen using the pivots of your shoulder, elbow and wrist, depending on the line. This is a deceptively difficult exercise for me, as I am foremost a wrist-pivot user. I’ve known my whole art-school life that it’s better to draw from the shoulder, and it’s a common mistake not to.
Above is the first page of exercise: superimposed lines. In this exercise, you fill a page with lines. He suggested making varying lengths of straight lines with a ruler, as well as various curved lines. On the left is the page once I had filled it with the lines.
Once your page is filled with lines, you go over each line you made. Eight times each. Trying to be as precise as possible and staying true to the first line you drew. As you can see, some were way easier than others. I had the most difficulty with the longest straight lines and any vertical curves. Shorter lines and horizontal curves were pretty okay, so I focused on the tough parts for the second page of lines.
Round two! This one went much better – I was getting the feel for the exercise and tried to focus on my speed and using my shoulder. I only did two pages today, but this is an exercise I want to do some more.
Next was ghosting lines + planes, which I cheated a little and combined into the planes exercise. Turns out this was a mistake, because as evidenced I’m terrible at ghosting straight lines. I will be returning to this and practicing several pages of it to see if I can get the hang of ghosting – it’s a technique I’ve known of for years, but never practiced so I’m extremely rusty! In fact, I’ve already filled a few more pages with lines to superimpose on, and a few more pages after that with dots to connect using the ghosting method – and this time, I’ll start with the lines before planes. Promise. No rushing.
I have a feeling I will like this program – I’m only at the first part of the first lesson and I already feel as though I’m learning something!
What do you think? Will you try this program with me? Do you want to see my future updates on this program? Let me know!