After deciding that I wanted to get better at art, I did what you would expect; I YouTubed it.
I found a channel by a guy named Sycra Yassin (Sycra), and I began going through his beginners playlist.
The most helpful video I watched was one on how to get better at drawing, or how to practice drawing in a way that leads to improvement. According to Sycra, the answer is iterative drawing.
What is Iterative Drawing?
The fundamental concept of iterative drawing is that you draw the same thing over and over analyzing your drawings to find areas for improvement.
So, if you want to work on head proportions, you draw a head, or you draw a few of heads, and you look at them and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Then you draw a few more heads, implementing your observations, and follow up with another analysis, and lather, rinse, repeat.
This method allows you to improve quickly as well as learning how to draw naturally rather than painstakingly copying a tutorial. You teach yourself the ‘why’ behind what you’re doing, internalizing principles of form and proportion and composition. Most importantly you strengthen your observational skills and build your self-critique muscles.
What I Did
I saw this video and decided I would try this.
I would draw 1,000 faces.
At the recommended rate of 20 face per day this would take 50 days, so I gave myself two months to complete this project. Thinking the extra 10 days would be a sufficient buffer for unanticipated interruptions (read: Toddler).
It took 4 months, twice as long, which in general is a pretty standard time inflation for life with a toddler.
What I Learned About…
From a drawing perspective I think I did get better and faster at drawing heads in proper proportion. I wasn’t working on detail work, just general sketching proportions and speed. I worked on drawing different types of heads—old, young, men, women, children, adults, even some faceless men. (GoT humor). I tried drawing various ethnic distinctives without inadvertently creating racist caricatures.
Perseverance Through Boredom
I like drawing, but there were times when I didn’t want to draw any more heads ever. There were times after the first few days when I didn’t feel like I was making any progress. The first few days yielded a lot of gratifyingly observable improvement, but then it became less noticeable. I kept drawing.
The problem with self-imposed goals and deadlines is that you don’t actually HAVE to finish it. No one would know or care if I didn’t actually draw 1,000 heads. If I quit at 500, who cares? I don’t lose my job over this.
I kept drawing and finally finished on July 12! 100 days after I started.
Finishing is the most important accomplishment of the whole project.
So every finished project needs a follow up. I’m currently working on my 1,000 eyes project!
I probably won’t blog about it unless I have some great personal epiphany, but you can check out my progress as well as see more of my 1,000 faces at my Instagram nataliefetzerart.