Weekly sketchbook art lessons!

The Realistic Approach

I already have a camera. Why do I need to make realistic drawings? There are two reasons that lifelike drawing is essential to all artists’ training and development. The first reason is to accumulate a mental catalog of objects and how they are formed. The second reason is to expand the artist’s understanding of how people perceive the three-dimensional world.

The Mental Catalog - The fastest way to achieving success in creating anything from the imagination is to acknowledge the fact that a person’s imagination references accumulated memories as a resource for creating something new. The first thing that comes to mind are mythological creatures derived from two different animals. So why must an object be drawn, for it to become a useful reference in the future? After all, I have a good memory and can recall what things look like. I remember the first time playing the game WatchamaDRAWit. It seems simple enough. A card describes an unlikely combination of common items for each player to draw. It didn’t take long for me to recall that there is more to drawing than just remembering what something looks like. The secret to creating a useful mental catalog is in knowing how to break down objects into their basic forms (cubes, spheres and cylinders). This is a shorthand for artists that has unlimited possibilities when coupled with the linear perspective technique.

The Three-Dimensional World - The sense of sight is a person’s connection with the three-dimensional world, but don’t forget that the eyes are also the windows to the soul. Creating a realistic drawing of the world around us is more than just an exercise in photographic representation. The artist looks out and sees the effects of gravity, movement, time, distance, light, dark, heat and cold. This is the magic moment. This is where the artist formulates an original and distinct interpretation of what is seen. This is where the artist decides what is to be communicated. Some elements are more important to the artist and will be emphasized, while other elements will become more subdued. Creating a realistic drawing of the world around us is an exercise that teaches the artist how to communicate a focused idea within the laws of nature.

Thank you for visiting Lifelike Drawing. And remember to practice with intent.

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