The Problem With Drawing Methods

Drawing Xena and measuring before every stroke I realized the problem with drawing methods upon checking my progress.

I didn’t continued where I left off with yesterday’s drawing of Xena. Because after I compared my work with the original photo, overlay of the drawing on top of the photo in Photoshop, I became frustrated with how incorrect the drawing was.

Then I started a new drawing with the same drawing method I was using in the last post.

  • Draw a line for the top of the head and the bottom of the chin
  • Guess at the full width of the head and make marks
  • Draw a line that represents the eyes, normally half way between the top of the head and the bottom of the chin.
  • Draw a line to represent the brow. Just a bit above the eye line.
  • Half way between the brown and the chin draw a line for the nose.
  • Then there comes a lot of guessing and measuring to check. The width of the face, the width of the nose, width of the eyes, mouth location, etc…

The First Drawing

Here is how far I got before I did another overlay to check my work against the original photo.

The problem with drawing methods

AND it was mostly wrong….

I was focusing so hard, resisting my urge to just draw what I saw so I could just measure, measure, measure, etc…

This is not art making this is drafting!

The problem with this drawing method and all drawing methods, in my humble opinion. Is that they teach to rely to heavily on the method itself without actually looking, seeing and feeling what you want to drawing. Methods remove all emotion and are all about copying.

So I let go, focused, looked intensely and just drew from the heart.

The Second Drawing Expression

The problem with drawing methods

Is it perfect?


Will my drawings ever be perfect?

Heck NO!

But you know what. It’s me. There is part of me in this drawing and I really love it for that.

Now, I’m not saying that you should get rid of all methods for making a proportionally correct drawing. Or if you’re just starting out drawing you should just draw from the heart completely. Don’t change everything just because I have a problem with drawing methods. Use your own judgement here.

What I am saying is this. The purpose for art is to express yourself. To communicate something with this language we call graphite or charcoal or oil paint or whatever.

Of course if you want to go the Photorealism route that is fine. Exclaim to the world how amazing you are at reproducing a photo down to it’s individual atoms.

But that is just not for me… I’d rather just print a photo.

The artist of the surface does not see further than material fact. He describes appearances and he illustrates events.

Robert Henri

Gestures from Memory

This continues to be an exercise that I feel is really expanding my mind to tremendously.

But the modeled exercises… I’m not so sure they are really helping me see the form. I could be wrong though so I do what I can on them.

People say, “It is only a sketch.” It take the genius of a real artist to make a good sketch—to express the most important things in life—the fairness of a face—to represent air and light and to do it all with such simple shorthand means. One must have wit to make a sketch. Pictures that have had months of labor expended on them may be more incomplete than a sketch.

Robert Henri

More Post of Challenges and Learning from Xena

What went well?

I got lost in the Xena drawing after letting go and stopping to measure like crazy.

What didn’t go so well?

The drawing didn’t turn out too well. Awesome! I get to do it again!

What did I learn and/or how can I do better?

Use the methods to get you somewhat there to some accurate proportion but drop them in favor for communicating a part of yourself.

Session Details