Originally Posted by daisie
I have a question for Ken please. I am always curious as to why some people, as you have mentioned in the past, draw every day/week, take regular lessons and yet never seem to improve. If they take lessons and draw regularly, are they not destined to get better? Is there something special required inside a person in order for him/her to click and "get it"? Is there an "artist" in all of us?
Armin and some others have said they do not believe in talent. After due consideration of their positions I have to respectfully disagree. If the quality of work and amount of skill only amounts to practice then everyone would be as good as the amount of time they spent drawing (in this case). Just a little comparison of work will show this not to be the case. I know one person in particular locally, who has taken every drawing class available with instructors - including several years of private instruction at the Atlantic Center For the Arts with professional artists as well as local colleges. She has studied life drawing and copying photos. She was in my first drawing class 7 years ago and I understand she had begun drawing about 5 years before that. Her work is ... well ... terrible. She loves to draw and does it constantly, but there has been no improvement in a number of years. On the other hand, we've all seen people who seem to have a "knack" for some skill and pick up on it very rapidly. I believe from my observation and experience over the years that there is something inside some people that allows them to progress rapidly in skill - I call it talent. Armin refers to them as prodigies .. but I fail to understand how we can accept prodigies and yet not allow for talent on a lesser level. I also believe there is something creative within nearly everyone but we must find an outlet. For some it might be drawing or painting, for others woodworking or glass blowing ... still others might find it in flower arranging or gardening .. there are unlimited outlets with no one being "better" than another.
Now back to the subject at hand .. the 5 pencil method. Darrel is a wonderful artist .. his work is very recognizable and a lot of it has to do with his method of work. I have seen a number of his lessons and find the quality of the video and instruction to be excellent. However, after seeing him draw one thing - or even part of one thing, the method becomes quite clear. No amount of viewing beyond that is going to do much good because his method, like any other, is based mostly on practice.
And his method is not the only way to approach drawing. His relies strongly on very sharp pencils and what he calls a tapered stroke. This works for him .. not at all for me. My work is nearly all done with a rather dull pencil. He uses the tip ... I use the side. Our work is different in appearance but neither is better or worse. My work appeals to some while Darrel's appeals to others. There is no one "right" way to draw.
I think a new artist would do well to try the classes in our classroom here. They cover everything from perspective to geometric shapes to fur to landscapes to many more advanced subjects. And your work is seen by an experienced artist who will offer advice. You can go at your own speed and the best part is there is no cost. If you get nothing out of it, you haven't lost anything.
Another useful means is to get a good book on drawing and work from that - although I think this method is not as good as the classroom. The reason for that is that in a book the author is teaching their method and usually does not explain alternative techniques. For instance, many, if not most, of the books are for beginners and tend to teach blending as the way to draw skin. While it is indeed a legitimate method, it is by no means the only one although one would not know that simply from reading the book. So, while books can be wonderful tools, they can be a little confusing or perhaps inadvertently misleading. Getting the input of more experienced eyes and other artists is a priceless thing and something a site like this can offer if you keep an open mind and listen to advice and suggestions that are offered. We won't always agree (note my first paragraph to daisie), but the more opinions you hear the more you can learn.
The very best means of learning drawing is to take lessons in person .. but that is not always possible for everyone.