View Full Version : Drawing Classes

04-30-2004, 10:37 PM
Quite awhile ago I had read that Monet and his gang dissed Matisse, damning him with the most negative invicative they could muster..."He can't even draw." (They were all classically trained) Wanting to do serious art, I enrolled in a series of drawing classes. I did quite well, although not on the level of some here. But when I was done my thought was, 'ok, now I can draw." I just moved on to painting and stopped drawing. What a mistake! I now have a much better understanding of the importance of drawing in the creation of fine art, but I don't want to go back to school with all of the time requirements, and especially the assignments to draw things that have no interest or meaning for my own work. This week I thumbed through the local park district program listings for the summer, and discovered a 6 week drawing class, flexablity in projects. and across the street from me. (Any TAW grads will relate to 'serendipity'.) I am excited. What I need is # 1, the challange, and #2 the flexibility of subject. Any advice is welcome. My long term goal is to establish a routine of drawing that is a part of my creative life.

05-01-2004, 11:51 PM
You will forever be limited if you always pick and choose what you want. You want to be a serious artist? What do you need? If you approach this goal selecting only that which interests you, it is going to stunt your growth and your art.

An alternative: Think of your approach or mindset, skills and abilities as the vehicle transporting you through your "creative life." Develop the mindset that keeps you open to inspiration, expands, and enhances your skill and ability with art. The focus is on a dynamically flexible system not flexibility in choosing what is more enjoyable, desirable or easier from a fixed or stagnant view of yourself.

When you develop a creative system it should be well-rounded advancing all areas in a balanced program. When one area stands out, strengthen the weaker areas. You are only as good as your weakness. Think of the spokes on a wheel. The wheel cannot roll when there are short spokes. When the spokes are balanced in length the wheel rolls along smoothly. When you can maintain a balanced wheel you are free to choose your direction, subject matter, etc. You will produce higher caliber work because you have addressed all aspects of art when creating.

This comparatively disciplined mindset is more exciting, fulfilling and ultimately offers the greatest freedom to make choices in your creative life.


05-03-2004, 04:17 PM
Being one of the damned, I applaud anyone's ability to draw. But I am sorry to hear a comment like that from Monet.. who often painted his figures to have only three fingers.

05-04-2004, 03:44 AM
. You will forever be limited if you always pick and choose what you want

Well, I be limited then. :crying: I simply cannot imagine painting something that I have no affinity for. But then again, I am new at this - so who knows what the future holds. :confused:

05-04-2004, 02:15 PM

My path into painting began much the same as yours did in that I pretty much gave up drawing when I first started painting. That was 20 odd years ago and my career work for most of those 20 years took me away from doing any art at all. Its been the last couple of years that I have gotten back into it. Anyway- I have been a student with an excellent teacher and artist of classical realism for the past 6 months and have gotten into a routine of drawing (in charcoal) studies of any and every painting before actually painting it. I have also been going to life drawing sessions (once a week - usually). For me, the combination of drawing each painting first, and going to life drawing sessions is really helping me improve my drawing skills. (and life drawing sessions are fun- you get to draw and hang out with other artists). The value in drawing is not only to improve my drawing skills though. The preliminary drawings done of paintings help resolve compositional issues and value relationships. You really get to know your composition and subject well- before painting it, and help out your drawing skills to boot.

Thats my 2 cents. Your routine may very well differ from mine since it should fit in with what you do. Regardless of how you develop your drawing routine it will become every bit as valuable to you as my routine is to me, or other folks are to them.

best regards...

05-05-2004, 12:11 AM
I find this thread quite interesting. I call myself a drawer because I love drawing the most. I can paint but my real love is drawing and only through drawing I can fully express myself. I do realistic drawings with my favorite subject of people mostly but I can draw just about anything.
I am not sure if I can quote it exactly but I heard somewhere " If you don't know how to draw and you don't learn how to draw you can only paint as good as you can draw" - I agree completely with this.
Few months ago I started to teach drawing at home. I teach basic drawing and portraits drawing. I have students coming and telling me they are painting for several years but they don't know how to draw and for example if they want to include a person in the landscape they just don't know how to. Others want to learn how to draw just to be able to make a portrait of somebody close or pet. I have to explain to them what it takes to get there.
I personally believe a good drawing can be as beautiful and expressive as a painting. Most people see drawing as a sketch or preliminary drawing for the painting. The fact is drawing can stand up by itself and be as powerful in communicating as painting.
As far as what to draw - it is all about seeing. Once you learn how to see and put it down on paper it doesn't really matter what you draw. You will be able to draw anything you want. If you will be too selective in learning you will limit yourself. This is learning process and some subjects are just better to exercise specific techniques or more suitable for different medium.
I hope you will continue to draw and paint as both are equally important.

05-05-2004, 12:53 AM
"The Key, The Very Foundation to painting is drawing." (Leonardo)
Who can add to that? The school I plan on attending has 4 or 5 hours of figure drawing each morning. You first year you have drawing the rest of the day too. In their own words.(Work from the live model begins in the student's first week; we believe that early time spent in mastering fundamental skills is time well spent. The human figure is central to European art – our innate urge towards anthropomorphism depends on it for expression and many of our principles of composition stem from a study of the nude.) The first year you draw, the second you painting from life cast, the third year if figure painting, the fourth year is still life and the fifth year you serve an apprenticeship.
We begin work from specially prepared drawings, which quickly and effectively give a command of shape, proportion and tonal rendering. These skills are then applied to studies from plaster casts, first in charcoal, then in oil paint. Third- and fourth-level students concentrate on the disciplines of still life and continue to study from the model. Still-life is the perfect arena in which to understand colour, texture and the illusion of space. The live model demands ability in gesture, design, narrative and very subtle colour.
That’s what I think _OO_ meant by not limiting yourself to one style. I am doing the Charles Bargue and J. L. Gérôme, Drawing Course. There are several threads in here dedicated to that book alone. We begin work from specially prepared drawings, which quickly and effectively give a command of shape, proportion and tonal rendering. It is this book a lot of the Ateliers are doing this from. It is quickly becoming their official textbook.
That's my 2 cents worth:)


05-05-2004, 03:36 AM
. Well, I be limited then. :crying: I simply cannot imagine painting something that I have no affinity for. But then again, I am new at this - so who knows what the future holds. :confused:
Perhaps "limited" you be. I expanded on what I was getting at in that first statement which ought to have clued you in that it meant more than those words. It should have read "...when you only (better choice of words than always) pick and choose what you want..." However the entire post made that point if you were receptive when reading it. I certainly am not discouraging interest in that which you have an affinity for. I am advocating taking a larger view of the basics including that which you deliberately avoid.

Hope that clarifies things. :)

05-09-2004, 04:18 AM
I will elaborate. I have studied a variety of subjects in a variety of styles and mediums. I have
chosen the ones that I prefer. I would like to participate in classes that allow me to pursue those


05-09-2004, 09:45 AM

That's great you have discovered the mediums and methods of creating art that is for you. I think that is the only way to eventually get really good at something. It's pretty clear that the best painters in each medium painted (for the most part) exclusively in their medium of choice.

As for developing your drawing routine - your own discipline and desire will pull you towards the goal you are striving for. In your quest to reach the goal, you will end up doing what it takes in a way that is in direct proportion to how powerful your discipline and desire is. Sometimes the harder it is to reach the goal you are striving for, the more valuable it is when you finally reach it.

Best regards!

Keith Russell
05-14-2004, 06:14 AM
I have never understood how anyone can paint without drawing.

The very notion that one could 'advance' to painting, and 'stop' drawing, makes no more sense to me than one could read a book that had not first been written.

I'm getting ready to buy the Charles Bargue book, and plan to study it seriously and intensely, whether or not it is used at school this fall.

Other than that, I agree with _00_, and with most of what Danny said, as well (FWIW)...


05-17-2004, 04:29 PM
I just finished a great book on Camille Pissarro a month ago. One of the interesting things is he did 1000s of drawings before he ever touched a paintbrush. It was only through the urging of "Papa Carot" (Camile Carot) and other friends like Monet, Manet, Gugain and others gave him the confidence to finally start painting. He did an extremely large body of his work from plain air. Most of his drawings were lost in World War II when he fled to England. A huge body of his paintings were destroyed too. After the war he continued to draw as well as paint. When he was in an area for a limited amount of time he drew and later painted from these drawings. Michangelo and Leonardo both continued to draw throughout their lives. If drawing is indeed the foundation to painting, then when we paint only, and stop drawing, aren’t we eroding that foundation?
Keith you will love the book. It will help you more than you can ever imagine. I love mine. Read it from the front cover up to the tips on using the course first thing right off. The reason I say this is it makes several recommendations so pay careful attention and take notes to this section. This book will give you many happy enjoyable hours of education as well as many hair pulling hours of frustration lolololololol. Its all a part of the learning process. You will learn though. I know I am with each page.

Karen Cardinal
05-17-2004, 09:20 PM
Hello all!
Sorry to butt in here since this is not my usual forum at all.

I just wanted to add my perspective on this wonderful discussion.
I'm what you would call a "self-taught" artist... although the books and online classes are really what taught me.

Since I never have the funding for some of those enviable life drawing classes, I've found that my favorite drawing activity was to take my sketch pad and pencils to the mall and draw the people as they walked by. It always seems to help me keep my gesture sketching ablities from getting too rusty. And if I'm in the mood for a more seditary subject, there are some facinating maniquins in the shop windows... and there's always a few husbands sitting outside the stores holding their wives purses. ;)

I have only been drawing for 30 mumble mumble years and it's only been the last half of that that I've experimented with paints, pastels and colored pencils. I do know that for me, if I can't pick up a piece of chalk and draw a picture on the sidewalk with my son, I certainly can't put it on paper or canvas.

Thank you for listening to me.
I will resume my lurking now. :D

05-25-2004, 03:09 PM
Last night I regestered for the drawing class, and I'm excited for it to start. June 14th is the first class. I appreciate all of the comments and insights. I want to make drawing a part of my life.


Keith Russell
05-31-2004, 06:29 PM
There are at least six 'open' life drawing groups in the Greater Kansas City Area; I know, at one time or another, I've attended them all.

But, I have stayed with one group the longest. We meet on Saturday mornings, and there are about six artists (usually) who show up each week, including one internationally recognized professional artist. (No, I'm not going to say who it is.)

My point is that, for ten bucks a week, we get to draw from the model, for two and a half hours (three hours, including breaks).

No instruction, no 'rules'...just show up, and draw or paint. (We haven't had any sculptors...yet.)

There ought to be such groups in most larger cities; if not, why not start one?

Check with art schools or programs in your area to find models, and go for it.