Q: How much time to you spend drawing?
A: My first year, I drew (almost) every single day, for 2 hours.
Now I am more flexible because I trust that can get back into my routine pretty easily. I aim for 2 hours a day, 7 days a week, from 7AM–9AM. I don’t draw when I’m on vacation. If I happen to have something going on in the morning that throws off my schedule, it is usually a struggle to draw later in the day, so I occasionally miss days.
Q: How much experience did you have when you started?
I have a BFA in graphic design, so I guess you could say I have a general “fine art” background. In terms of drawing, I took a figure drawing class in 2009 (when I was in school) and didn’t do anything between then and when I decided I seriously wanted to learn to draw (2016). I’ve been drawing consistently since then.
I do want to note that I have always been into drawing—art was always my favorite class when I was younger. It’s hard to quantify how a high school art class or a college design class affects your drawing, but I am quite certain that my previous experiences have made learning to draw easier than someone who has never picked up a pencil.
Q: What’s better: Watts Atelier Online, Drawabox, Proko?
A: Le sigh.
Q: How long should I do each exercise?
A: This is a tricky one. I will say that I believe I actually spent too long on some of the Watts exercises when I was going through the drawing phases. Obviously, there is not a set amount of time that’s going to work for everything, so here are a few things to consider:
- What is the purpose of this exercise? This is usually written out pretty explicitly, so take the instructors at their word.
- What mistakes do I keep making and WHY? This is super important. This is also sometimes painful, because it often means you have to “derail” slightly and address whatever your weaknesses are. You can draw a skull 6 bazillion times but if you don’t understand basic head proportions and basic perspective, have good dexterity, know WHAT it is that is important (as opposed to superfluous detail), you won’t get anywhere. There are infinite places where you could improve; the question is, does the next lesson in this program address at least one of these issues? If yes, move on! If not, you will need to look elsewhere.
- Have I gotten a critique on my work?
Q: If you did it all again, which programs/lessons would you use?
A: I have thought about this A LOT. I’ve created a chronological list of the programs I have used in the order I think makes the most sense. Please keep in mind this is my personal opinion, built 100% on anecdote. And it’s free, so you’re getting what you paid for. My one caveat to this list is that if you are looking to develop reasonably decent charcoal portrait drawing skills, you could skip the Drawabox lessons and go straight to Watts; However, keep in mind that you WILL hit a roadblock with perspective and will have to go back to fundamentals to move forward. And then you’ll have to do the walk of shame back to Drawabox.
Watts – Fundamentals 1
Watts – Fundaments 2
Watts – Head Phase 1
Watts – Head Phase 2
Watts – Head Phase 3
Watts – Head Phase 4
SKULL? – Loomis
Simple Asaro Head – Memorize
Proko Figure – Bean
– Make sure to watch Robo bean and robo bean critique to better understand the twist.
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I was a graphic designer for 4 years (print/web/etc). During that time, I slowly transitioned into more illustrative work (infographics/icons/flat illustrations).
Q: How long will it take me to get good at drawing?
A: 10 years.
Q: What if I’m already pretty good and I quit my job and study full-time?
A: 10 years.
Q: Are you even listening at this point?
A: 10 years.