Learning How To Draw More Freely

by CherylsArt

Different kinds of skills are involved with drawing, i.e. proportion, letting it flow, tightening it up. In this article I will discuss tips and the process that I went through.

When I first decided to be an artist, I hadn't drawn anything for years. As a kid, I thought I had to pursue something that was more viable. I eventually put my art aside and trained for other, more "lucrative" careers.

After pursuing those other paths for a number of years, I finally gave myself permission to honor my first love.

My first drawing attempts as an adult were laughable.

I'm serious. We used to pull out my portrait attempts, and laugh at them.

I laughed too, they were that funny. Heads looked more like bowling balls. Maybe I should make some bowling ball art.

Anyway, not having been practicing my art for decades, let's just say it was time to learn and practice some techniques.

I was already drawing freehand, but I had to learn how to get proportions down.

Kids learn a lot about proportion by tracing.

Grid Method Drawing

Tracing is one way. The way that I came across and pursued, was with the aid of using a grid. It involved placing a grid (drawn on a plastic protective sheet) over the drawing, and then drawing what was in each individual square. You can also turn the original drawing upside down, to help your mind think in replicating by actual sight, instead of what you "think" it should be.

Another variation of this method, is to place dots at various points to replicate the main design, and then quite simply, connect the dots.

Another method that I liked was drawing on graph paper. I could count the little squares to line things up and to get things be the same size, or not.

Anyway that you practice, helps to teach the brain the method that you are using, and the proportions too.

Drawing on graph paper was a method I used to help with proportions.

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Once I got better at propotions, I needed to move on to drawing more freely.

My drawings were quite good, but I wanted to get beyond measuring, and using rulers, etc.

Not that those tools don't have a place anymore, they do. However, I wanted to loosen up. I wanted to be more relaxed when I drew. I needed some new skills. Low, and behold, there are exercises for that too.


Have you ever tried drawing while not looking at what you are drawing?

That was one of the main exercises in Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain, that I really liked.

The initial drawings done this way, did not look at all like the subject at all. These drawings weren't even laughable, they were unrecognizable! Was I getting better? Was this helpful?

It turned out to be yes. Because my mind was starting to work with and trust my hand. It led me to be able to combine the proportion techniques, with freehand drawing.

outline drawing of a baby

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

was the book that enlightened me, with the wonderful exercise that I mentioned above.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Edwards uses the latest in brain research to explain how anyone can learn to draw more accurately and creatively. This edition contains a new illustrated section in color, sever...

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This book has numerous exercises, that build on one another, to free the artist, in their drawing style.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain provides exercises to help people learn and or improve drawing skills.



Drawing from the right side of the brain

is the newer edition.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition

A revised edition of the classic drawing book that has sold more than 1.7 million copies in the United States alone.Translated into more than seventeen languages, Drawing on the...

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This is a companion work book,

so that the budding artists can have an easy location to do the exercises that are written about in the corresponding text book.

Although this book isn't necessary, you can get your own sketch book or blank paper for the exercises, it can help for those like a simple way to be organized, and to follow along.

This book wasn't available when I worked through the book. I used blank computer paper, and did fine.


The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook

The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook: Guided Practice in the Five Basic Skills...

Millions of people have learned to draw using the methods of Dr. Betty Edwards. Now, in an essential companion to her bestselling classic, Edwards offers readers the key to mast...

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Updated: 06/04/2013, CherylsArt
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

I hope you found this information helpful. I found it reassuring to know that even famous artists had techniques that helped them to improve their art.

BrendaReeves on 09/30/2013

Drawing on the right side of the brain is an excellent book. I need to practice the techniques, because I tend to be very tight with my drawing.

WriterArtist on 06/24/2013

Great tips to get the proportions right, it is very important for an artist to get the figures and forms correct.

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