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Top Tips To Draw What You See And Not What You Know!

Copyright 2006 Todd Harris

We often draw people wrong! What? Yes, it?s true. Many artists are what I like to call iconic artists. They draw an eyeball like the shape of an almond or football because that?s what they were taught. This is wrong! As artists mature and gain experience they begin to learn how to draw what they see and not what they know.

As artists, we often draw in symbols. We think we know what an eye or mouth or even a nose looks like. I bet, however, that the person you are trying to draw probably doesn?t have an eye that looks like a football. Sometimes it?s because we are often worried about getting something wrong that we don?t draw what we see. This is a scary road to walk down. I am going to go through some tips that will help enable the artist in you to draw what you see and master figure drawing.

One quick tip to drawing what you see and not what you know is to use the thumb and pencil method of measuring. This helps immensely when trying to draw people and learning how to draw faces. It helps you to make many small comparisons and help you develop some drawing grids to help you place features of the person you are drawing. It also helps with your angles.

Next, draw the negative spaces. Look at the empty shapes next to the shape you are drawing. Do some exercises to help you learn this skill because at first it can be difficult.

The next tip may seem a little odd if you are a beginning artist or it will seem very second nature if you are more experienced. Flip your drawing upside down. You need to do this occasionally as you work to get a new perspective and to check your values. This is a great tip for all drawings, not just drawing people and faces. This tip forces you to look at your drawing in a different way because it becomes very unfamiliar.

Drawing with a grid can help too if you are just starting out. Sometimes I like to do a practice with copying a master?s work using a grid. It will help guide you along with reference points.

These tips are all things that you can do to help you in your quest to learn to draw people. If you have always wanted to learn to draw, you are not alone. There is something about being able to pick up a pencil and sketch a person. Unfortunately, drawing people takes a lot of practice to learn to draw people and faces the right way. These tips will help you to avoid the common mistakes that some artists make and get you started in the right direction.