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Thread started 15 Sep 2016 (Thursday) 16:36
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Is it possible to learn how to draw and paint?

 
Scrumhalf
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Sep 15, 2016 16:36 |  #1

My artistics skills are zero. If I try to draw a dog or a bird, it looks like a 2nd grader drew it. I can't get the paws right, the head is too big or too small, the joints are all messed up.

But I would like to learn how to sketch things, and then learn how to paint. Still life, birds, animals, sceneries, etc.

Is this something that is actually possible to learn? Or is it something that, like composing music, either you are born with, or you are not?

I would love to hear from anyone here who is an artist!


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Sailor ­ Larry
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Sep 15, 2016 21:12 |  #2

I'm not an artist but My wife is pretty talented with drawing and painting.
Like most things with an "artistic" side to it I'd say it's a combination of natural talent and learned and developed skill.
To some degree a person can "make up" for a deficit in natural talent by working the skill side, practice, technique and practice.




  
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texkam
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Sep 16, 2016 02:28 |  #3

You can have the best natural drawing skills in the world, but that doesn't make you an artist. It makes you a great drawer; an illustrator. With hard work and training, anyone can improve their drawing skills, but they may never be as good as someone with natural talent.




  
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Sep 16, 2016 03:28 |  #4

To quote Edison - genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

If you want something bad enough, and you are willing to put in the time, almost anything is possible.

It is that simple.

Go watch some highlights from the para- Olympic games if you don't believe it - my guess is that you could probably learn how to draw and paint better than 99% of the population using your mouth to hold the pencil and brush if you really wanted to.


Now that I have said the above, my actual experience is that when my kids were younger, I decided for 1 month to bring a sketching pad and pencil everyday to the dinner table and during the 20 minute dinner sketch one of their faces. By the end of the month, only 30 days, the amount of improvement I made, all the things I learned about how the tiniest difference in certain distances made a 4yr old look too like a 12 year old, was almost shocking. I went from nearly useless to pretty good at faces in 1 month - by the end my kids were each hoping I would be drawing them - I kept it hidden until the end what i was doing.


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sandpiper
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Sep 16, 2016 06:28 |  #5

I believe it is possible to learn the skills, but I never managed it. I did take art at grammar school, but after one term the teacher threw me out of the class for "wasting paper", a rather harsh assessment of my work I thought.

That is why I am a photographer, not an artist.




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Sep 16, 2016 09:55 |  #6

.

Ned Smith was one of the best wildlife artists of the 20th century, yet he had to work his butt off for decades to develop his talent. If you look at his earlier work from the 40's and 50's - it is downright awkward in many ways. If you look at the work he produced in the 60s it is so much better than what he did early on in his career, but is still "off"; at least in the subtleties. Then, the stuff he painted and drew in the 70s and 80s was absolutely wonderful! It literally took him a lifetime to develop his talent.

Skill is not the only thing that has to be developed over time through a lot of hard work. Talent also must be developed in the same manner. Talent is not just something you are born with - it is something that you build and refine through constant effort and practice. This goes for any endeavor - whether it be singing, athletics, managing people, photography, painting, or drawing.

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CyberDyneSystems
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Sep 16, 2016 10:05 |  #7

Practice.

Of course it's possible to learn!

Tons of books available. Most I have read were all quite handy and useful.
On Amazon start with a search for "life drawing"

Bridgman has authored some of the classics. I relied on "Constructive Anatomy" quite a lot, it is particularly handy for us that have a hard time leaving the left brain. The paperback is apparently very affordable!
https://smile.amazon.c​om …-13&keywords=life+drawi​ng (external link)

YMMV, but as a carpenter, the basic shapes used in constructive anatomy went a long way towards conquering the mechanics of the body.

I'd say a good class would be the most helpful, but knowing where to find a good one is harder.


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Sep 16, 2016 10:11 |  #8
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You either have the gift or you don't. Yet, that doesn't mean that if you have it all you must do is grab a pencil and you'll be crafting master pieces in no time. The talents come as raw material that you have to first find and then hone.

Fortunately, it's easy and cheap to find out whether you have the ability to draw. All you need is paper and pencils.

This might also help: https://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1474038​404&sr=8-1 (external link)


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CyberDyneSystems
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Sep 16, 2016 10:30 |  #9

Also, painting is an entirely different thing. Yes, there is obviously some cross over, but working color is one art form on it's own.

There are some people that can start wotking with color and be very artisitc without any of the mechanics of life drawing.

and there are some that are very good with pencil and paper that never master color.

I'd say any ones first order of business would be to ID which is more important, and which you might already have some affinity for.

In my own case, I was much more capable with the mechanics and use of B&W drawing, and fall completely apart when it comes to working with color.


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teekay
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Sep 16, 2016 11:30 |  #10

Is it possible for YOU to learn how to draw and paint? Only way YOU can answer that is for YOU to try.

Since it's something you want to do, then DO something about it! Find a local art class or artist or online course and get going. Give it a good try. Either you'll improve and get enthusiastic about it or you will decide it's not for you.

I'm speaking as someone who has tried silkscreen printing, pottery and oil painting in the past but decided in the end that photography was what I enjoyed the most.




  
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Scrumhalf
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Sep 16, 2016 12:36 |  #11

Thanks for the inputs and suggestions, guys!

Yeah, I think I'll check out that book from the library first. Then, maybe take a few lessons or at least talk to my son's art teacher in school to see if she can recommend a teacher. Maybe a few lessons would either pique my interest or would tell me to stick to the camera! :D


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Sep 16, 2016 12:55 |  #12

Scrumhalf wrote in post #18129313 (external link)
If I try to draw a dog or a bird, it looks like a 2nd grader drew it. I can't get the paws right, the head is too big or too small, the joints are all messed up.

Many adults draw like second-graders because they stopped drawing soon after the second grade. In the 19th century, natural scientists, engineers, and young ladies of "good breeding" were expected to be able to draw, and they were trained in it. Ability to draw adequately was understood as something that could be acquired.

If your dog's or bird's head is too big, it's because you didn't start by observing the proportions of the whole animal and transferring them, with marks or mentally, to the paper. I was among the best art students throughout school and the art editor of the high-school yearbook. Later, my first real job included illustration, mapmaking, and design of ads and books. I'm not the fine artist you may be looking for, but I do have some experience. I think I drew well in elementary school because I'd already done it at home for many hours (started school at age 8 1/2). I'd had no instruction and hadn't been corrupted by being given coloring books. When drawing a real object, as opposed to creating an imagined scene, I began by looking at the thing to get a sense of its whole appearance–basically, its shape and the proportions among its elements. (The handle of the pitcher starts there and curves out like that . . . ) This is a special kind of seeing. It feels different from just looking.

Another good habit is to check your work often, review what you've done. Block in a line quickly with light pencil and a relaxed arm, compare this approximation with the real object, make corrections. At this stage, you don't have to erase successive tries; just keep going. Start with major elements, not details. In fact, start with objects simpler than birds and dogs.

Contour drawing has given some people good results. The classic book explaining it is Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.


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CyberDyneSystems
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Sep 16, 2016 14:11 |  #13

OhLook wrote in post #18130112 (external link)
...

Contour drawing has given some people good results. The classic book explaining it is Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

Excellent suggestion, and I feel 180 from the book I recommended. Good to get more than one perspective on this. Checking out both would be ideal and one could see which side of the brain one leans towards.


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Scrumhalf
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Sep 16, 2016 14:18 |  #14

Thanks, OhLook, for your advice! I'll look for the book you recommend.

And I agree completely on what you said. My 11 yo son is a big time birder, encyclopedic knowledge of bird taxonomy, well above average bird call IDs, etc. He wants to be a field biologist when he grows up and he is excellent (for his age) at sketching and coloring. He puts in a lot of effort into it because he wants to be able to have a sketchbook in the field and draw what he observes. Now, with photography, maybe you don't need to be an Audubon to be a good field biologist but it probably doesn't hurt, so I have been encouraging him to really continue to work on his craft.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Sep 17, 2016 10:45 |  #15

.

OhLook wrote in post #18130112 (external link)
This is a special kind of seeing. It feels different from just looking.

Do you have an alter ego named OhSee ?

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Is it possible to learn how to draw and paint?
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