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:


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.

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.

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:


Test Yourself

Make it Relevant

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

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