Summer Self Progression Part 2 – Draftsmanship

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This one is going to highlight something that a lot of artists overlook – draftsmanship.

Most people gloss over their technical ability in illustration as they feel it is beneath them, but really this is the work that underpins all your creative work.

The core of this is confidence, a sense of purpose to the lines you create and being able to ‘see’ the world in as 3 dimensional forms when you draw, simplifying things down to either boxes, cylinders, cones or spheres and combinations of these.

This requires a seriously strong ability to draw these forms are any rotation in perspective.

So to kick things off I recommend that you all engage with these sources Drawabox, moderndayjames and Scott Robertson.

I’m going to talk about Drawabox in this post but make no mistake if you want to level up your drawing ability and creative output, this needs to be a daily exercise you engage with.

Drawabox is a completely free online resource with lessons, video resources and challenges to go through. It’s based upon a unit structure of Pasadena College of Art and sets you up with a key approach to art.

It prioritises mileage and confidence in line, everything you draw must be done in ink. It stands as a definite mark that is either correct or not, highlighting areas of your skillset that can be worked on. Work on printer paper, this will get you over preciousness with your sketchbook.

Do not be proud and think the early exercises are beneath you, I guarantee you there is always something you will learn from it.

So go ahead and draw a box (or 250 of them in the challenge)

Post your progress to your blog if you like.

Summer Self Progression Part 2 – Draftsmanship

Summer Self Progression Part 1

Hi All. This is the first of a series of summer posts to keep you all inspired and motivated over the holiday period.

This is aimed at students to help them progress their skillset and prepare them for the next year of studies. But of course these activities are just good advice for everyone and can be applied to all areas of life.

This post is aimed around 30 day challenges and habit building. If you want to develop any skill you need to engage with it on a daily basis. This doesn’t have to be for hours on end what is more important is that you are building the habit bit by bit and strengthening it over time.

At the end of the challenge the option then lies with you as to whether it is something you want to stick with and keep the streak going or switch on to learning something else.

30 days is a really nice period of time in that it isn’t too long that you feel you are focussing on only one aspect for too long, or that it is unachievable. For example think of how many people instigate change in their life through giving up habits for lent.

This is a really popular challenge and there are many throughout the year that many artists engage in: Inktober, Mer-May, Ani-May, Smaugust etc. these are great fun and really motivating to keep pushing your skills onwards.

Because we are talking art and animation this might be a good example: 30 day challenge to draw/animate everyday, however on a weekly basis you could shift the area of focus. So 30 days drawing but 1 week on hands, 1 week on heads, 1 week on anatomy, 1 week on environments, with some gesture studies thrown in for good measure.

Of course there are many 30 day drawing and animation challenges online with a different prompt for each day.

One of the key things is that is you miss a day that is fine, the challenge doesn’t end and everything is not lost. Just just keep going! Don’t build the reverse habit of not doing the work, as that becomes harder to break.


How to make the 30 day challenge easier for you.

Resistance – Reduce the resistance to engaging with the task that you are setting yourself and increase the resistance to activities that will distract you from your goal.

For instance at night set up your drawing area so that it is all clean and fresh and ready for you to draw the next day. Clean the space, open a new page on the sketchbook, get your references ready.

This means that when it comes to start your drawing all you have to do is to sit down and begin.

Similarly anything that might distract you try to increase the resistance to engaging with that activity. For instance using printed/book reference so that the internet can’t distract you, or putting your phone in another room whilst you work.

I’ll have a future post about strengthening focus to help with these things.

Although this is focussed on art remember that you could apply 30 day challenges to any area of your life, health, exercise, wellbeing, diet, learning an instrument or language. Literally anything that you want to build your skills around.

Post your work to your blog and do your best, I believe in your power to be the greatest version of you!

Here’s a possible animation challenge:

Summer Self Progression Part 1