Best Drawing Exercises – Asking Pros


Yay! Hey, Cooper! Say hello. Best drawing exercise to improve your drawing
skills. Gosh, there are so many. It’s hard to boil down one. I think looking at the world and turning it
into the simplest geometric volumes, boxes and cones and cylinders and spheres. I think that’s the most valuable. That’s a biased opinion there. So, there are artists who are gonna tell you
otherwise, but that’s the one that I didn’t have and that’s the one that held me back,
and that’s the one that holds many people back. So, I think that’s very valuable but it is
not enough, I will say that. It’s one of the things that it’s like playing the
scales effortlessly is essential to being a competent musician, but it isn’t enough. Best drawing exercise, probably to surprise
yourself. Try drawing anything that takes you outside
your comfort zone. If your figurative artist, or
if you think of yourself as a figurative artist, try and start with landscapes. Turn landscapes into caricatures. Try and find ways to use your strategy to
draw a convincing grassy hill or a tree or, you know, an abandoned well. Do anything that make you comfortable slightly. You’ll find yourself slowly growing more and
more comfortable, because comfort level is very subjective. You’re never really comfortable as an artist
but you always need to be turning your hand towards something else. The second you start thinking of something
as getting easy, that’s when you need to switch subjects. Start thinking about drawing machinery or
rigid bodies. Start thinking about drawing things in a more
dynamic or fluid way. Things like that. Anything that you can do to surprise yourself. And to keep a pencil on you at all times or even
better, to try and mix up your media. Try and become fluent in more than one visual
language. That’s what I would recommend. What drawing exercise do you feel like is
really important? Yeah. Definitely, I love doing life drawings like
people on the street, like, cool outfits, cool clothes, seeing how clothes fit on the
body or flow on the body. And just different expressions to is important,
like, what does an angry face look like, a happy face, laughing. All stuff like that is really important and
I like to do… practice a lot of those. Do you do mostly quicker life drawings like
quick sketch or longer? Yeah, I like to do quick. And then, if it’s something I just really
like, like a really cool-looking outfit or something, I’ll spend more time on it but
really quick gesture drawings I think help a lot. Yeah. Best drawing exercise, just filling up that
sketchbook, just observe, just, again, that observation and just drawing loosely and just
quickly. I do a thing where it’s, like I call it blind
feeling sketching, where I’m just…I’m not even looking at my paper when I’m drawing. I’m just drawing looking at the person and
drawing from feeling and seeing what result that I get from that, and that’s a really
helpful exercise. How long do each one of those run? So, each one of those, you got to almost,
like, capture them within about…less than about 10 seconds. You got about 10 seconds not picking up your
pencil from your paper and just move around, and then you can look and see what sort of
happy mistakes you’ve made. Do you then continue the drawing…? Then you continue. Then you start looking at the artwork. Nice. Okay, cool. What’s the best drawing exercise that you
make your students do? Gesture drawing. Yeah, it’s draw from, you know, draw whatever,
draw a head. Draw this cup. Gesture of a cup? Yes, it’s not necessarily gesture as in the
act, you know, of someone doing a gesture, but just in how you illustrate. Loose, free, without a whole lot of thought. You’re saying like capture the idea. Like, when you say gesture, you mean capture
the idea of the thing your drawing? Yes. Absolutely, yeah. The cup might not have, like flow. Yeah, it doesn’t have any movement. But the idea… You can take an inanimate object and make
it animated based on your line. That’s kind of what I’m trying to show them
to get them…because the more that you learn that, then they’ll be able to pick up most
things, even if it’s not “perfect” or the lines aren’t, you know, in a precise kind
of way in terms of, like, anatomy and form and what have you. Your gesture kind of helps to cloak it to
some degree. As you learn that stuff, then you get better. Because I have a student right now that, he
kind of naturally does the gesture thing. He doesn’t draw correctly yet but his gesture
just makes it easier for him to get there. If that makes sense. It unifies the whole thing. It unifies it. It unifies some kind of design right? Right. cool. Best drawing exercise is drawn from life. If you see a tree out there…I know, right? Of course. If you see a tree, try to replicate that tree
on how it looks in space because it is in space, and we’re trying to capture a three-dimensional
kind of thing with a 2D skill. Best drawing exercises to improve the skills,
has to be drawing from life and then drawing from an artist that has the same interpretation
of whatever subject you’re studying. And then after that, you practice your own,
you know. So, it’s kind of like going to the source, going
to an interpretation, and then you making your own interpretation. What’s the best drawing exercise? Best drawing exercise. Well, for draftsmanship it’s just drawing
straight lines and just so you can do that. But then, my favorite one is one from the
Taiwanese artist, Krenz Cushart, where you take just a cube and then you rotate it around
freehand, no rulers or guidelines or anything. You rotate it around in 360 degrees. And then, you can do the same thing by just
lifting up the camera and angling it down, and then bringing the camera below and tilting
it up. And then, the next thing is just take that
same exercise but now, draw stuff over it. So, you could just use a box but then, just
draw a car over that box. Just keep rotating it and practicing it in
all different angles. Nice. Best drawing exercises that, you know, to
help students improve their drawing skills. All right. So, this might not be the answer you’re looking
for here, but the best drawing exercises for you are those repeated exercises where on
your pad you do circles all day. You do straight lines and you try to draw
right back over the straight line. You make the line go from thin to thick. You go from S-curves to C-curves and you go
from thin to thick on those, light to dark on those because that’s our dexterity. If you think about, like, a musician. Really good quality musicians can play an
instrument, make it sound like anything. Your pencil is like that same instrument,
and if you can make that pencil look like anything, you have that same professionalism
that those musicians have in your wrist now. And that’s actually more important than knowing
how to draw the arm or the leg perfectly. It’s getting those lines in there because,
at the end of the day, the anatomy doesn’t matter. It’s your personality that shows through and
how you speak through your art is you. And that language comes through in your tools. That’s sort of your dialect as an artist. Learn that stuff and it’ll get you a lot further
with the other things because that dexterity is also how you make the circles better, the straight
lines better, measure better, and everything else. So, what would you say to the people that
say that, like, sloppiness is part of their style and it’s them? I’d say that they’re naive, right now, and
that they need to learn a little bit more before they actually answer that question
that way. Because once they understand what they’re
doing, it’s not called sloppy anymore. It’s called control. What exercises do you think are the best in
developing your skill? I think one of the best ones that I got was
life drawings. So, when you’re doing life drawings, like,
is there anything specific that you feel like people should practice while they’re drawing
from life? Structure, like, how to build a figure, to
make the figure look like two-dimensional. Sometimes, people don’t know that they can
use solids to create…to build a figure. Like drawing Transformers for me is, like,
natural because I use a lot cubes, a lot of… Yeah, it is blocks. A lot blocks, so, it’s really helpful. So, it’s really like to transition from Transformers
to a human figure. Best drawing exercise to improve your drawing
skills. Gesture drawing! Gesture drawing. Gesture drawing, yes. It’s, like, the best thing ever. I’m always, like, sweating when I do gesture, just
there’s like 30-seconds, I hate ’em because you can’t really get a good drawing unless
you’re absolutely brilliant at it. But it’s such a good workout for the brain,
like, the muscle of art. So, you do mostly 30-second ones or do you
do…? No, no. It starts with 30 [second], 1 [minute], 3, 5, 15. Do you use any specific materials for your
gesture drawings or whatever…? Whatever is available. I try to switch ’em up sometimes if I’m too…like,
if I’m too used to let’s say, pencil, I’ll just grab my watercolors. I’ll be like, “Okay, what do I now? Like, how I make it happen?” So, it’s very quick to, like, not overthink
because you don’t have time. It’s super, super helpful to free your mind. Best drawing exercise or exercises to improve
your drawing skills. I mean, perspective is something that people
should hit constantly. Just drawing boxes, right? Can you just draw boxes in space well? You know, obviously, understanding the rules
of perspective: one-point, two-point, three-points, the cone of vision, all that stuff should
be there. But being able to also move freely with it
through quick, you know, free-hand drawing without having any construction but just turning
the box in space, really quite important. Anything that we draw has planal forms, front
planes, top planes, side planes. And the box is that structure that you need
to be able to then apply that to any sort of observation drawing or design work that you
want, want to go for. That’s amazing how many instructors say that
as the… The box. It truly is the most important thing. Yeah. What are some good exercises that, you know,
to improve your drawing skill? You know, drawing from life is obviously a
big one that you’re gonna hear everywhere. To me, I think it’s lots about the exercise. You know, if you’re getting good information
and doing good exercises, that helps but I think being aware of what you’re doing and
why is a big one. I think a lot of people, they have a sketchbook
and they do life drawing classes. You really gotta be thinking about what you’re
doing and why you’re doing it, and are you improving at it. You know, if you’re training to be a runner,
you gotta, you know, you gotta be a specific runner, You can’t just jog. If you wanna do a marathon, there’s types
of training to do marathons. There’s types of training to do sprints and,
you know, your sprint times or whatever should be getting better. If you’re finding yourself spinning your tires,
I think you just need to step back, and what is it you’re actually trying to learn? What skillset are you actually trying to work
on instead of just drawing? Does that make sense? Yeah. So, I guess it depends on what you’re trying
to do. Well, have a specific goal and every couple
of months evaluate that goal. You know, are you getting better at structure? Are you getting better at proportion? Are you getting better at lost edges? Whatever it is you’re working on, are you
actually getting better at it and focus on a few things at a time, and let that guide
your drawing practice instead of just the overall practice of drawing. I do gesture drawing every day. You do it from life or…? I do it from photos. Well, I mean, yeah, every day. Right. You can’t hire a model every day. Exactly, but what I can, I mean, the good
thing about living in LA is they have, like, tons of life drawing events in Los Angeles
and I’m assuming in the other big cities as well. There’s definitely at least one thing going
on every week in LA where you can do life drawing. I think that one of the best drawing exercises
is drawing cubes and boxes out of your imagination in space without perspective lines, because
it forces you to correct them and it forces you to kind of fix right away, “Okay, that’s
a little bit off. Let me fix that angle there, let me fix that
angle there.” I think once you’re able to see a box in space
correctly without having to rely on guides and vanishing points, it just opens up your
world to whatever it is you wanna draw. That’s funny. I’m doing a basic course and I have intuitive
perspective lesson, and I was thinking about your sketches Say it again. All right. Hello! What do you think are the best drawing exercises? Thumbnails. Like, sketching everyday man. Like… Like quick sketches. Quick ones. Yeah, the quick ones. Because sometimes you get more life into it,
like the small ones. And then you just go scan it and blow it up. Did you do mostly from reference or did you
do a lot of imagination? A lot of my imagination. Comics is fantasy. It’s not real life. So, you can come up with stuff that is not
real but still look cool. Yeah. Yeah, I wanna use the ink on Spawn, was all this.
All me. Oh, man. That’s cool. Wait, this in an original, right? It is. Yeah. Best drawing exercise for improving your skill. Especially now, this day and age, I think
kids need to be able to draw pencil to paper first and foremost. And I know a lot of kids, they learn digital
first. There’s something lively and more natural
about drawing with your hands. It’s always important to learn how to draw
properly pencil and paper before you can apply all those digital tricks to it afterwards. It’s like you can’t undo a piece of paper. Yeah. Going a step further, actually. I was just talking up here to Peter Han, and
he was talking about forcing his students to always be drawing with pen so they can’t even
undo… Yeah, and that’s smart. Use a ballpoint rolling pen like a Bic. It has a pressure sensitivity. Yeah, there’s tons of…there’s really great
artists digitally like when you look at them online. And as you go through their stuff, they’re
all, “This stuff is amazing.” And then, you realize they don’t have one
drawing on pencil to paper. So, you go like, it’s either they’re scared
or they’re scared of that permanent situation. Digital is safe because you can always go
back and correct something… So, even if somebody wants to be a digital
artist, you recommend they do traditional because it’ll help them in improve faster. It’ll help them improve faster and also give
them a natural curve and natural flow to actually drawing with your hand because your arms,
like, flow and stuff. The gestures are even more fluid and stuff,
you know kind of thing versus digital where you’re just like… So, I definitely recommend it and I think
it’ll work good. I have my daughter do it. She draws traditional and then she’ll do stuff
digitally too afterwards but I make sure she draws traditionally. She knows how to draw traditionally first
and foremost. Hey, guys. In the comments, let me know which of these
exercises you’re gonna try out or do you have suggestions for other good exercises? Leave a comment. Help each other out. And remember, this is video three out of four. I’ve got one more asking pros video coming
soon.

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