While we are still on new year’s resolutions let’s talk about that “secret” some have of copying or tracing photographs in preparation for painting.

tulips2 I prefer to guide rather than lecture but let’s make this the first day of NO MORE tracing.

    You make a face and say,”But I don’t draw well enough.”  I know.  I have seen that face time and again in classes. I have a question for you.

Have you been drawing or painting each day since you read the post on Judy Middleton (Oct. 2012)?  In a class last month again the point was made — someone who was painting with freedom and gusto mentioned that she had painted some EACH day.

YOU, ME all of us need to find the time to draw (or paint) every day. If you can’t paint find ten minutes to do one drawing.

Do you have some flowers in the house? Draw them every morning.

Do you have a plant that is starting to open? Draw it every day.  It is amazing what you learn.

drawmushNo plants?  Look around.  What is in the kitchen? Draw it.

Get some eggs out of the refrigerator and set them on the window sill. Or put some of the egg shells from breakfast there. Draw them.  Move them around and draw them again.

How about some vegetables from the vegetable drawer? What is on the coffee table? Draw it.  Draw it the next day and see how it compares.

draweggsDraw your husband or wife or friend or child who is watching TV. Chainge tools — pencil to pen, pen to felt pen – draw them again.

Are you starting to prowl around? How about your sewing machine?  What tools are down on the tool bench? In the garage. Try drawing them.

Look around — that chair by the wall?  The pillows on the sofa? Just draw.

Dump out some chalk as I did here and draw it. Or something else?  Bring in some rocks from outdoors and draw them.

draweggs2Or take a friend and go to a scenic parking place.  Draw the view – from the car if it is raining.

Draw the people in line at the coffee shop. Do it every day if you go every day. Or draw the view out the window.

How many times did I write DRAW …. ? You know if you have drawn that

many days in a row you are drawing better now.


First step:  do it today!!!!

Some hints and pointers?
1. Start with the shape nearest to you and keep going on the edge of that shape until it end, or you hit another shape.

drawchalk2. Then and only then pick up your pen or pencil. Move on to the next shaple and stay on it until you come to an intersection. Then stop, look and carry on.
For example: On the tulip at the top of the page, you would start with the petal front and right.
drawvegThen go to the petal that hugs it to the left – a choice: a)I would recommend first going up and around on the outside until you get to where the petal in back starts; or do the front edge first b) then, pick up your pen, go down to where the front, yellower edge curls forward.

3. When you draw people – same thing. Nearest shape. An arm? A leg. Do not start with the head unless it is the nearest shape.

4. Do not judge. Do not say, “I can’t do this.”  Draw and draw again. Change tools. Write down the date. 10 minutes (at least – you may do more).

drawpeople5. Choose a soft pencil and don’t draw contours (edges), just start drawing the shapes of the shadows by going back and forth. Do the same with the background to pop out the light side.

When you keep drawing — from things you are looking at — you are training your eye and hand to move together.  Our eye tends to travel faster than our hand and disaster follows. Slow down your looking. Move together.

drawout The skill you are developing with daily drawing is the same skill that allows you to type without looking at the keyboard, it is the same skill that piano players use so they can hit the right notes without looking at each key.

Can you play a stride base on the piano? Neither can I. But I can play with two hands and get the notes all coming togehter in the right order and at the right tempo when I practice. And practice. And practice.

drawchairIt is the same skill that allows a basketball player who practices to get the ball into the basket more times than not. Or the place kicker to get the ball through the goal posts.

Yes you can draw. But not without practice. Draw every day for a month and see if you are doing better.

Don’t say you can’t.

Slow down… give yourself time… don’t judge… it comes with practice.

You will gain confidence. You will gain a sense of scale and a sense of proportion. You will have a satisfaction that you will never have if you sell yourself short and trace.

drawviewthe view from the coffee shop
Questions? Feel free to email me.


Also let me know what you think of the update website – just up today 2/05/13. Thanks.

If it is acting funny you may need to “empty cache” in your browser menu to get rid of the old site signals.

    © 2013, Caroline Buchanan