I’ll make this challenge short and sweet so you can get back to your holiday festivities.

Whether you’re a still life artist used to sketching lifelike forms or a comic artist who prefers cartooned figures with circles for heads and dots for eyes, learning the fundamentals of drawing and design is one essential step towards becoming a better artist.

Case in point: I have always loved comics like Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes. Nothing was more impressive to me as a young person than observing how Charles Schultz and Bill Watterson included lifelike sketches right alongside cartoon characters in some of their strips (for example, when Calvin transforms into a photo-real T-Rex). This aspect of some of their work helped me understand the importance of possessing a well-rounded skill set as an artist, which includes an excellent grasp of design and drawing skills.

Maybe I’ll discuss exactly what makes up these designs and drawing skills in a future post, but for now, here’s your holiday challenge until next time: try to draw a photo-real portrait or still life over the holidays — something that will really challenge your artistic ability. The purpose of this challenge is to stretch your drawing skills to the limit while also testing your knowledge of basic design skills, like aligning figures, proximity and depth and contrasting colors, values, shapes and directions.

There. That wasn’t too long.

Now hurry! Get back to present wrapping, cookie making, volunteering and decking the halls!

(P.S. We are back to two blog posts per month in January. See you then!)

December 14, 2017

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