April 16, 2014

How to Practice Drawing: Phase 3 — Application

If you’ve done your work so far, this should be the most enjoyable part of practice, although you should still approach it with focus and purpose.

Application is where we practice using imagination. As I shared before, imagination is one of the essential components that makes good art, but rather than being an unrelated third segment of the Good Artist Pie, the quality of the imagination will be directly related to your commitment to studying life and the work of other artists.

Remember the notes you took in the previous phase? This is where you bring them into the laboratory and mix them together to create your own concoction. Above all, the application phase is about:

Play

That’s right. The reason you started drawing probably had something to do with having fun, and the application phase should always be a reminder of this. But unlike unstructured mindless sketching, this should be an informed play.  Use what you have learned in the previous phase, but apply it to your own subject matter. Mix it with other drills. Push the boundaries of what you think is possible.

This is the pay off for all that hard work (Live mural by Ryan Ottley, Alan Tew, Geoff Shupe, Damian Dayton and Yours Truly).

 

Have fun during this phase, but also thing of it as a Test.

This is your opportunity to solidify your learnings. Recently, I’ve been focused on studying anatomy. After copying and labeling an area of anatomy, I like to take a photo or piece of art and test my knowledge by drawing the anatomy over the image, but you could also draw your own character and label the anatomy. Once you start stylizing your characters and playing with proportion this can be a lot of fun.

A bit of application of anatomy knowledge. You can see more of my studies on pinterest

 

Lastly, Make it Relevant. One approach I like to take is to design my study sessions based on the day’s work I have ahead of me. That way, I can be applying my learnings throughout the day.  It also happens to make my work much better.

So, the application phase isn’t as structured as the previous phases, but it still helps to follow a couple of guidelines. To recap:

Play

Test Yourself

Make it Relevant

You’ve got the building blocks, now go make something awesome with them.

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Comments

  1. I’d like to see your studies on Pinterest. How can I find them?

  2. Noah Page says:

    Hey Brandon,

    I’m a college grad that has just gotten to the point where I make a (Sustainable) living freelancing full time. Due to hand strain, I started doing hand stretches and thinking: “Gosh, this is like being a professional athlete”. You’re tutorial only reinforces that model.

    Thanks for the exercises. I’ll be using them.

  3. peter israel says:

    Your information is really amazing, I love that and am gonna put it into practice.

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