Wanna know a secret? Getting stuck or frustrated is a natural part of being an artist. Not knowing how to draw a specific subject, whether it be hands or a World War II Panzer tank, can cause some artists to feel a sense of artistic paralysis (in other words:”art block”). But there’s a cure…
Skill building is a perfect antidote when you are feeling stuck. You can do this in a few ways: 1) going back to drawing fundamentals and 2) drawing diverse subject matter
While drawing fundamentals aren’t exactly sexy, there is a lot to be gained by going back to the basics. I find myself doing this ALL the time. What are some of the fundamentals, you ask? Form, perspective, anatomy, composition, and value and lighting. Each time I revisit these fundamental techniques, I always seem to come away with new knowledge.
Another way to build your skills is to draw diverse subject matter. Drawing Sonic the Hedgehog a million times may make you a whiz at drawing that character, but that can lead to complacency. You have to draw different things that you normally would never draw in order to build your drawing skills.
To that end, I wanted to share some excellent, free resources that I’ve personally used which you might find helpful in your own artistic journey.
- “How to Think When You Draw” by the Etherington Bros. is an indispensable resource for artists young and old. Each tutorial is about a page long, making it perfect for daily practice. At present there are over 300 free tutorials on their site, covering a wide variety of drawing subjects (people, buildings, vehicles, etc.).
- Ctrl Paint is excellent for learning the fundamentals of digital painting. If you’ve never digitally painted before, this is the place to start your journey. Using new tools and exploring new techniques is a great way to skill build and kill art block.
- BAM Animation (Youtube channel). Perfect for aspiring animators, character designers, and background layout artists. If you are studying animation in school and NOT following BAM, you are really missing out on some excellent, actionable instruction.
To sum up: When you’re stuck, go back to the fundamentals. Cultivate an attitude that you want to draw everything, setting no limits on the subject matter.
What are some of your favorite free resources for skill building? Share them in the comments below!