Today it’s my pleasure to bring you inspiring words of advice from Maureen Killaby, who has mastered the art of drawing and finds pleasure in sharing her knowledge with those on the same path. Maureen tells us that she began her art journey at the age of 40, after first earning a degree in law. Scroll down to learn some of Maureen’s drawing tips and to be moved by her gorgeous art. (Bonus: score Maureen’s DVDs on drawing skin tones, skin textures, eyes and hair, plus a variety of pencils and erasers here!)
CH: I don’t know of many people who transitioned from law to art. Please tell us about this change in your path.
MK: I changed careers after the law firm split. I got a job in education at City University and it changed me. I instantly loved education and the teaching aspect of it. Although I didn’t teach there, I still was fascinated at being able to see others teach adults and children in their areas of passion.
CH: What are some tips that you can give beginners for drawing portraits?
MK: Draw from life as much and as often as possible. Keep a sketchpad with you and readily available all the time. Start with small drawings or sketches and draw what you see. It’s like doodling when you were a kid. I remember picking up a pencil for the first time at work and drawing something out of a magazine–I couldn’t stop the passion after that.
CH: Is there anything that you wish someone had told you when you first began drawing?
MK: I’ve always wished that I’d had a better education with proper training in the beginning. I guess I made up for lost time by immersing myself into art and never stopping.
CH: What’s a common mistake that you see students make? How can it most often be corrected?
MK: The most common mistake most people make when they’re beginning to create art occurs when they’re learning to “see.” They need to understand their vision and how to achieve the end results. Getting an education and being trained properly is something most people don’t have the opportunity to get; I didn’t have this in the beginning so I went back to obtain it. Most often people start out being self-taught and can harvest bad habits just from not knowing what’s correct and what isn’t.
I think another common mistake is not getting the right information to apply to the craft of drawing. Getting instruction from a credible source is the key to success.
CH: What general advice do you have for those new to drawing?
MK: Draw first and get good, solid training. Learn to draw thoroughly and then move to color and painting if that’s what you desire most. Books, videos, etc. are all great tools, but too many different sources can be frustrating. Scaling down to one or two different approaches of what you think may be your own style or your goal for how to express your creative personality makes a much clearer path. Then you can build on that and grow into the artist inside of you. Mostly, practice, patience and perseverance are the keys. Practice at the highest levels all the time.