#aprilDrawing – Summary

Trying to summarize art would be naive. Nevertheless, naiveté is what ignites our curiosity. Therefore, let me try to do my best explaining what drawing is and some keys to get you started with it 🙂

Month: April 2018

Theme: Learn to draw

Mission: Acquire drawing fundamental concepts and train the basic skills to draw from observation of daily life.

You can follow the progress of each week here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3. You can also follow daily updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the tag #aprilDrawing.


Drawing is a visual art in which the artist uses different instruments (graphite, charcoal, pen, ink, etc) to mark a two-dimensional medium (paper, canvas, leather, etc).

IMG_9903.jpgDid you say an artist? Yes, “from the moment you sketch your first line, you become an artist” – as the famous South American painter Mamani Mamani mentioned in a lunch we shared in 2017.

Drawing is considered the basis of all visual arts because it’s widely used – especially as a preliminary sketch – to help the artist to visualize the essential lines, forms or shapes and therefore the emotions that will later be conveyed through painting or sculpture, just to mention a few art forms.

Tools & Techniques 

After 30 days of learning how to draw using mainly online resources and in-person feedback from more experienced people (#thankYouArtists!), I realized that between all the techniques that any drawing class will provide, you mainly need:

  • Practice, practice, practice… E-v-e-r-y D-a-y!
    • It doesn’t matter if you only draw stick figures. Sit down, get paper and pencil and try to copy any simple object for at least 10 minutes. #discipline
  • Tools
    • Minimally you need any paper, any pencil and an eraser. If you want to take the next baby-step, then you will need:
      • Pencils. I would recommend 3 different ones: an HB pencil – the one you use daily, a 2B pencil for darker strokes, and a 2H pencil to achieve softer values. You can find more info about the differences in this video.
      • Erasers. You can go with either a plastic or gum eraser, but you must not forget a kneaded eraser to shape to work those difficult spots in the drawing. More on erasers here.
      • SketchbookIt will become your drawing journal and you will be proud of its content.
      • RulerYou will need it to help achieve One, Two or Three Points perspective effects.
  • Techniques
    Simple shapes used to represent the human body
    • Shading: Hatching & Cross-hatching. These are two of the most used shading techniques. Not commontly used for finished work, but for sketching they will work great. Watch Mark Crilley demoing them here.
    • Grid method. When you want to copy from photographs, this method will provide you guidance on the structure and placement of your reference. See how you can use this method here.
    • Use shapes. From the beginning, represent any object using simple shapes.

Drawing 101

Understanding and applying the fundamental concepts will make your drawings more mature. Likewise, when you’re learning from more experienced artists, these concepts will help you communicate fluidly, thus you’ll have more “Aha” moments.

This is a great blog post that will provide the definitions of Lines, Form, Shapes, Values, Perspective, Shading and Composition.

Besides the concepts just mentioned above, learning how nature and anatomy works is the most effective way to level up the quality and realism of your artwork, whether it’s copying from a reference or drawing straight out of your imagination.


People you want to follow

Even though Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso and Normal Rockwell didn’t leave YouTube channels behind (yes, I researched to make sure), you can study their work and techniques.

A handful of artists with social media presence that you may like to follow based on your drawing style preferences are: Mark Crilley, Eliza IvanovaDraw with JazzaHayao Miyazaki. Leonardo Perez Nieto.

How to apply this knowledge?

  • “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Especially when you want to convey messages/emotions unequivocally. Use words and things will go wrong sooner or later, but use images or sketches and you’ll minimize misunderstanding.
    • Real Life Use Case: When working inside of a Team (especially distributed/remote teams), sketch your ideas on paper or a whiteboard for your colleagues and it will help to create effective brainstorms.
    • That you don’t need to draw at all? Sure! (#sarcasm). Then, why do you use emojis when you text message?
  • IMG_0197.jpg
    Cartoon character – first try

    Drawing as a meditation. When you stop self-criticism of your initial sketches, drawing turns into a very relaxing activity. Realizing that you’re one pencil and a paper way from becoming a creator has a soothing effect.

  • Increased observation. Because drawing requires a deeper observation of your references, the way you perceive the everyday places and faces changes for good. Go for a walk in nature and your eyes will be delighted with the different shapes and values in trees, leaves, mountains, and overall landscape. Have a conversation with a person, and you will notice characteristics of his/her face that you never noticed before. In other words, you connect with your “references” in deeper levels.

How much time & money was invested in this project?

Time invested: 53 hours.

  • Weekday Avg: 1 hour 35 minutes.
  • Weekend Avg: 2 hours 15 minutes.

Drawing requires patience and dedication. Spending that many hours in the Udemy class, practicing myself and reading drawing theory were definitely paid off.

Money invested:

Sketchbook, pencils, erasers, sharpener, and ruler14$
Udemy Drawing class10$

Final thoughts

Human face sketch – first try

April 2018 was amazing. After almost two decades without drawing, it feels great to go back to do what you loved doing as a kid. The difference is that this time, the childish curiosity is paired with discipline, focus, and Google.

I will dedicate a new month for drawing in the short future for sure! The next levels – hyperrealism and digital are – are beckoning me.

Thank you for following me in #aprilDrawing. I hope that this project is motivating you to take on your personal learning path. I’m still far away from being a master blogger, so feedback is immensely appreciated. See you in #mayMnemonics.

Keep on learning!

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