It’s no secret that learning to draw can take a long time, but that’s not a matter of time. It’s a matter of attitude, discipline, and repetition.
Drawing a pencil portrait can be done in the smallest possible time. There’s no longer any excuse not to. So don’t rush into it.
Step One: Find a canvas
It may be hard to visualize. There’s little excuse not to purchase a sketchbook if you don’t already have one. But I would not recommend it unless you’re sure you’ve got the patience and are confident you can draw. You are not in a position to draw a model; you don’t know how they move, how they smile, how they stand, how they breathe. You certainly don’t need them on your desk to look at them.
You do need to get comfortable drawing a lot.
I’m in the habit of drawing a lot and of having some things on paper. In order to get comfortable and use these sketches, first you are going to want to make as many drawings as possible. I draw all of my sketches in the sketchbooks I have on hand and the books of pencil drawings that I buy at drugstores. I sketch as much as I can each drawing day before going to work, then I pick these up at the office. If I draw on paper, it’s mostly for the instruction of my assistants at the drawing table. We often make sketches about 10–15 minutes before I need them. Then I will bring them down to the drawing table for a brief discussion about the drawing. These discussions lead to discussions and often revisions, often several sketches at a time, until things are more or less right. It could take up to 20 pages to get an original drawing right.
I have a lot of practice with drawing. Sometimes that seems to be how I end up getting it right—it is the way I draw—but you can draw a lot with practice. Take a lot of pencils, pencils in various styles, brushes, pencils, ink, pastel paint, markers, and erasers.
Step Two: Start drawing with a pencil
Start with the simplest form, a simple pencil. A regular pencil is good, but a fountain pen feels much better on your hand, easier to use, and easier to hold onto. You want to be sure you are able to draw directly with the tip of the pen. But if you start with one of the many pencil
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