Recently, I was clicking through videos on YouTube with my two boys. All the Fortnite and Minecraft videos one can handle, right? The boys would defend their choices by describing how these videos help them learn how to play videos games better. Sure. I get it. I used to do that.
Now it was my turn to pick the next video. So I searched for the shows that inspired me as a kid. I love drawing and I’ve done it since I was a kid. The first show that came to my mind to search YouTube for was The Secret City with Commander Mark! I LOVED this show and I feel like I watched every episode. Watching these episodes again took me back to when I was a kid and trying to learn how to draw. Commander Mark would show you step-by-step how to draw in three dimensions. For me, as a grade school kid, drawing in 3D was (insert mind-blown emoji)! So every day I did exactly as Commander Mark had instructed me, “Draw, draw, draw. Practice your drawing 15 minutes a day & we’ll see you next time.”
You can still see some of his lessons here https://draw3d.com/
While I’m not going to show you how to draw in three-dimensions today, I am going to share with you an exercise, that I still use today, to help me become comfortable with drawing. It revolves around a simple constraint. A pre-drawn blob.
1. Using a broad-tipped marker, a paintbrush, or your favorite painting app create 4–6 random blobs on the page. Don’t think about them. Just place your brush against the paper/screen. In my example, I used Adobe Sketch on my iPad. It’s free and has a watercolor brush that works really well for blobs. And for painting I’m sure. :)
2. Now, using a pen, draw in some attributes that turn those blobs into something new. It can be anything! Remember that activity you did as a kid when you were lying on your back looking up at the clouds. “Oh, hey! That one looks like a dinosaur.” It’s the same idea. Only with this, you get to draw in those details. You could even add the constraint of keeping with a theme.
So why do this? When I sketch out ideas, images, or just art I often get caught up in making that first stroke.
How large do I make my drawing?
Is the body round enough?
What is the shape of a bird?
Will anyone be able to tell what this is?
So to push past that, I use this blob exercise. Over time you build a visual library of objects or ideas. So when you do need to draw a robotic alien driving a broken down spacecraft, you can recall the image you made with your blob.
“Draw, draw, draw. Practice your drawing 15 minutes a day & we’ll see you next time.”