Someone asked me if I have any tips on writing. The brief answer is yes.
But you know me by now, I can rarely be brief.
As I thought about it over the past few days (it’s more efficient to think than to act sometimes–perhaps all the time), I realized that my writing tips were very similar to my drawing tips.
Since I’ve already written them– I made a list of drawing tips for the boys when I was teaching in the prison–I will be an efficient act-er and not reinvent the wheel.
Here are my drawing tips and you can adapt them to the art of writing:
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR DRAWING SKILLS
31 August 2011
1) PRACTICE! Draw daily if possible.
2) Keep it simple. Eliminate unnecessary details.
3) Plan ahead. Map out the subject – make sure the drawing will fit on the page.
4) Don’t focus on details first. Work on different areas of the drawing to make sure you have angles, sizes, and spaces correctly placed before going on to details.
5) Pay attention to directions, sizes, angles, negative spaces around the subject.
6) Pay close attention to direction changes – like fur, hair, and feathers.
7) Draw what you love and draw it often. If you like birds, draw them all the time.
8) Warm up before beginning “important” work. Your first drawings of the day may not be your best work. You don’t have to love every one of your drawings.
9) Get to know your reference material. In a way, you should build a relationship with the subject. Learn to observe accurately, i.e. where light, shadows, and reflections are. Learn how things grow, like hair and tree branches.
10) Remember that you are the artist. Often you will want to stick close to your reference material, but your drawing should be your own expression. It doesn’t have to be a reproduction of a photo. Make the drawing look good on its own, independent of the photo.
11) Learn from other artists’ work. Be inspired by new and old masters. By imitating others’ work and techniques (and with practice) your own style will emerge.
12) Your response to your world is a personal thing. If others like your art – great! Be careful with whom you share your art. Learn to love your own marks.