2013 RECAP

March 10th, 2013 was when I first started drawing. At the time it was simply going to be something I did at the weekends for fun; the goal being to try and create my own custom Anime characters. I can still remember laying on my sofa, opening my Keys To Drawing by Bert Dodson book for the first time and smiling as if it were yesterday … but it was over 9 months ago; things have changed a lot.

In 2013 began to realise how powerful art could be. I saw the light as they say lol Around August time I decided this was going to be something I wanted to take more seriously. I stopped playing videogames. I started listening to Art podcasts. I created this website.

The more I got into drawing, the more I realised I enjoyed and wanted to draw more realistic, so my goals changed during the course of 2013. I am now fully focused on trying to improve my realistic drawing skills. I’m sure the desire to draw Anime characters will return when the time is right, I have a feeling it will go hand in hand with a need to start studying digital drawing too :)

I honestly can’t explain how much art has changed my life, I feel like a different person to who I was this time last year. Looking back, some of the highlights of the last year were

1. Realising I actually had the power to stop playing videogames; something I never thought possible lol

2. Overcoming my lifelong, and at times, crippling OCD, which had me doing random stuff like having to walk a certain way round lampposts, or having to unzip my coat before I reached the top of the stairs in my flat else I would have to stand on the top step waiting until I unzipped the coat (used to be well annoying when I had bags of shopping lol), or having to keep my eyes closed when entering my bedroom! Art helped me get over OCD. When that happened, I honestly began to feel like I could do anything!

3. Cosplayers Liz Katz and Amy Thunderbolt sending me nice messages about the drawings I did of them. I have never felt so happy as when I received those messages!

4. Getting the courage to go to Art Class! It still shocks me that I managed to do that.

There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifices, but I’ve found it to be a very rewarding and fun 12 months of drawing! 2013 was all about studying from two books, Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson and How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs by Lee Hammond. The latter being the book that kick started my journey down a more realistic route. I’m still working though Lee Hammond’s book; I suspect I will have completed it around April 2014. Once finished, I aim to move onto one of the following books, which I ordered on Boxing day last week. These are all books that had been on my wish list for a while, I had a little bit of money saved up in PayPal, so thought I might as well treat myself :)

The books I bought were:

The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
I kept hearing this book get mentioned on the Artists Helping Artists Podcast. From everything I’ve heard, this is a really inspiring read, so I’m really excited to start reading this one! I feel you could lay in bed and read this book, it’s more of a reading book than a studying book.

Figure Drawing for all it’s worth by Andrew Loomis
This one got mentioned on the Artists Helping Artists Podcast too. On Amazon it seems like it’s a really amazing book. This is one of two that I have already received in the mail, and a quick flick through left me slightly humming and haring. It seems a bit too advanced, it’s not fair to say that after a quick flick through really, but I like books that are clearly set out with exercises to do and feedback at the end of each chapter. This book doesn’t appear to be set out like that, instead opting for a more traditional wall of text on each page. The sketches look really cool and via Amazon they say there are exercises to do, so hopefully I will get into this one and enjoy it.

Figure Drawing Design and Invention by Michael Hampton
I heard about this book from Jonathan Rector via one of his YouTube videos. I started listening to his YouTube videos while sketching in the morning some time ago; it’s turned out to be a fun way to sketch. It’s as if your’re both drawing in the same room together – kinda cool. This book, he couldn’t stop singing it’s praises, so I had a look at some video reviews of it and it really does look like it’s the book for me.

It seems to be set out really nicely, and the main concept is just turning everything into shapes, which is the way I’ve been drawing, so I think I’m gonna love this book! It was very hard to find, and a tad expensive, but I think it’ll be worth it. The next couple of books I picked up were based around using coloured pencils.

Lifelife Drawing in Colored Pencil with Lee Hammond
The Portrait book I’ve been studying from for the past 3 months, How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs, is by this same Artist – Lee Hammond. I’ve enjoyed her style of teaching so much, I ordered this book in the hope that it will also be easy to read, follow and learn from as I start to learn coloured pencil drawing.

Colored Pencil Painting Bible by Alyona Nickelsen
I also picked up this book, as it looked really good on Amazon. This is the other book I have already received in the mail, and a quick flick through has me excited to start using coloured pencils. The drawings inside are so amazingly detailed, I can’t believe you can do this with coloured pencils. I want to start using coloured pencils already! The book seems to be set out the way I like, breaking things down into easy to follow steps, so this one gives a very good first impression.

Goals for 2014? Finish the Portrait book, start learning Figure drawing and introduce colour into my artwork via Coloured Pencils. I may randomly try something different in 2014 and feel like that is the direction I want to go in, so these are my current main goals for 2014, but may change:

April 2014 | Finish the Portrait book I’m currently studying from
April 2014 – September 2014 | Start learning Figure Drawing
September 2014 time | Start to introduce colour into my artwork via Coloured Pencils

My long term goal is still to start painting, but I just need to concentrate on getting good at drawing first. I do gesture drawings in my sketchbook all the time, I really love trying to capture the pose, so I’m excited to start figure drawing. And in terms of adding Colour to my work; I’ve been licking my lips in anticipation for ages now … so I’m really looking forward to 2014!


Thomas Merton