How to Get Good at Drawing

tl;dr – Stop writing blog posts and start drawing… a lot.

It’s been a few months since my last post here, and my excuse is that I’ve been doing a ton of drawing and studying.

I also read listened to Bounce, which reinforced the need for lots of deliberate practice if you want to get really good at anything.

I used to draw/paint quite infrequently, and when I did, I would usually do a ‘finished’ drawing or painting, spending from 30 minutes to a few hours on a piece. I very rarely did quick sketches.

For the last few months I haven’t spent more than about an hour on one piece, and more often only 30 seconds to 10 minute sketches.

Here’s a random selection of pages where you can see what I’ve been spending my time on:

Instead of trying to do finished paintings, I’ve been working on gesture, structure, anatomy, and proportion, without worrying about what the finished product looks like. Getting hundreds of drawings under your belt reinforces muscle memory and makes it easier to draw from imagination. That helps when drawing from reference too, because you understand what you’re drawing and you can design the drawing based on what you know rather than just what you see.

So if you don’t hear from me again for a while, I’ll be busy working towards my 10,000 hours of deliberate drawing practice.

If you need instruction in figure drawing or portraits, I’d recommend New Masters Academy and Proko.com. Both have served me well recently.


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3 responses to “How to Get Good at Drawing”

  1. Alison512480 Avatar

    Thanks for this Dan. Sometimes i just need a proverbial kick up the backside, and your blog has done just that. You are very down to earth and inspiring.

    1. Dan Johnson Avatar

      Thanks Alison! Happy to provide the proverbial kick 🙂

  2. hilda5462 Avatar

    I agree! That’s what it’s all about, deliberate practice! 🙂

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