Hello everyone, I was curious as to what drawing exercises people do and how often you do them. Do you pick a few exercises and do them for a set amount of time (one week, two weeks, one month, etc.) or do you have a set of exercises that you work on continuously and just do different ones in a rotating schedule? Are there any exercises you’ve found so useful that you do it every day and intend to as long as you’re still drawing/painting? For any experienced artists here, are there any exercises you’d recommend that helped you when beginning but tapered off as you increased your skills?
Hey, @Malt Hitman, these are great questions and a very pertinent concern! Setting a defined group of exercises to work on continuously or on a schedule never worked well for me. What I used to do when I was starting out and fully dedicated to study was simply to follow along the assignments of whatever course I was taking at the time. And in free practices such as in my sketchbook or when I participated in live model sessions, I tried to approach all I had learned up to then in a global, applied and more intuitive way, not necessarily establishing specific tasks for each session, but just drawing based on what I knew while also allowing space to experiment with materials, methods and styles. In my personal experience, what I’ve observed is that, over time along my journey, my goals refined and became clearer - and, with that, my practice routines changed many times to adapt. Nowadays, I’m more dedicated to creating artwork of my own, so course assignments and “pure exercise” sessions like those from before became a bit more rare, and the process I follow to make my stuff is what has pretty much become my regular practice lately. So I guess this comes together with what @Christopher Beaven and @Kristian Nee pointed out! For me, personally, as a cartoonist, not committing to specific exercises and allowing the very process of art-making to be my regular practice means I’m often in touch with things like gesture, design, linework and creative ideation; on the other hand, things such as painting, light, rendering and even anatomy don’t come to me as frequently. I’m fine with this because it matches what I’m currently looking for with my work and style, but, luckily, since I’m also teaching, I get the opportunity to pick up on some of these “lost” topics occasionally (so I guess teaching is a way of keeping me in touch with the fundamentals on a roughly regular basis). To sum up and attempting to answer your last question based off my own limited point of view, I think what I’d recommend in the beginning is to broaden up, take courses, read books and learn all you can from multiple sources in an open and experimental way; then, keep observing yourself, notice what topics and exercises you enjoy more and very gradually consider where you might like your art to go - based on that, you will be able to use your own criteria and experience to define which kinds of practices work best for your goals and are worth maintaining in the long run. And it’s totally fine if things change several times, this is a long process of discovery and maturity. Hope this helps! Feel free to pop questions if you might have any. Best of luck!
Hello sir. I am a complete beginner on the journey to mastering my creative abilities in drawing the figure. I too am in search of exercises and process. If pencil control is your game check out 'Draw a box' website or Peter Han masterclass 1 on youtube.
I used to do a whole page of circles, lines and ellipses before every session, which is every day. Here is an example on this post. https://chrisbeaven.com/sleep-your-creative-power-plant/ Drawabox influenced my warm-up tremendously when I was doing them. I've never really found any exercises useful enough to do daily. I paint or draw every single day so this lessens the need for daily exercises. Also, after 9+ years of doing art every day I've gotten to a point where I know exactly where I want my art to go so the need to keep multiple aspects of art trained up is no longer necessary. The MOST important exercise I would recommend for every artist starting out is to draw every single day. Draw from photos, draw from life, draw what you like or what you love, just keep drawing every single day. That one single piece of advice has allowed me to develop my skills fast. Hope that helps!
Hey! Something that a lot of people do is draw circles, or straight lines. Scott Robertson has a chapter in his books about drawing exercises to get your hand warmed up. I know that @Sinix does spirals of different sizes as well. When it comes to setting aside time for that, I really don't know any pros who do dedicated drawing exercises. I know that they'll spend time occasionally just doodling circles to get warmed up, but when they're dedicating time to art they're generally just doing the art. I asked @Rembert Montald about what he does to practice his drawings, and he'll generally just invent figures from memory. In terms of actual studies to be done as exercises, figure drawing workshops are always great to be doing.