I feel like every time I pick up a pencil to attempt portrait drawing, I am back in elementary school learning the basics of how to draw a face all over again. You know that art argument about whether you need natural talent to learn how to draw? Well, I’m here to tell you it isn’t true because I’ve got zero natural ability, and yet I know that my skills have improved tremendously over the years.
|Self-Portrait by Kathe Kollwitz, woodcut, 1923. Kollwitz was always so brave
with her line, unhesitating and bold. I quite admire that!
But what I want and struggle with the most is figuring out my style of drawing. I want my works to have a look that unites them, and that is uniquely ‘me.’ Something that distinguishes them in a viewer’s eye, but also connects them to the work of the artists and draftsmen that I admire.
It’s a tall order, and what I’ve come to realize is that with skill comes style. Every step I get closer to figuring out how to draw faces with technical accuracy is a step closer to drawing ‘my’ way. So if you are like me, give yourself a break! Focus on learning the skills of drawing portraits—how to draw a nose and how to draw lips—and trust that your style is in you, and that the way you draw is your style!
|The Lovers by Rockwell Kent, wood engraving, 1928. Kent was masterful in his use of black
and white and the way he could turn line upon line into just about anything.
There’s no need to struggle with how you draw. If you are drawing, your skill and your style are growing together. Look at your work with new eyes knowing that every drawing technique you master like drawing hair realistically is putting you on the path to a distinctive style with each mark you make.
I’ve also found that I make the greatest strides with my drawings when I’m in the studio working without distractions and the environment is one where I’m not intimidated and can really focus. That sweet spot was hard to find until Drawing: The Complete Collection came onto my radar. You get top instruction on drawing from instructors who know their subject matter so well and the tools you need to really stretch yourself when it comes to drawing people. Enjoy!