How to Stop Dreaming and Start Drawing – 5 Golden Tips!

Some of us would like to draw…others draw.

What is the difference?

I think the main difference lies in our attitude towards drawing. Those who would like to draw can easily swim to the other side and become someone who draws, and trust me, it isn’t all the difficult. Yet there are many who look at the drawings done by others only to sigh wistfully with longing. Who would like to draw, but who think that drawing is some sort of rocket-science (forgive the cliché, but it fits… and to use another cliché, I am not going to reinvent the wheel if I have ready access to a wheel that fits the chariot of my thoughts.) Actually, in the beginning – drawing is quite like driving or cycling…you practice it to perfect it. Once you’ve perfected those lines, then it becomes a vehicle of your innovative ideas; then your work transforms into art.

The first thing to do, as you can see, is to perfect the skill.

Here’s a short To-do list for everyone who wants to acquire the skill of drawing 🙂

1. Always be Prepared to Draw!

What this means is that there should be no place or time when you shouldn’t have the basic drawing material with you. An artist is always ready to draw. While most people prefer to fill their leisure hours with activities such as watching television, chatting up with friends, reading a novel, and so on and so forth; and artist prefers to draw, and to draw he or she must have the drawing material ready.

Here are the possible places where you can put your rough-sketchbook/notebook and a pencil/pen.

1. In the kitchen
2. In your car
3. In your living room (preferably next to the television)
4. In your office-cabinet
5. In your back-pack/brief-case/carry-all women’s handbag
6. Near your bed
7. Perhaps even in your bathroom if you spend a lot of time on that seat (Before you ask, I don’t have one on the magazine rack in my bathroom, but I have a strong intuition that many artists do.)

So, make sure that you are always prepared to draw. No matter where you are.

2. When you draw, just draw, don’t analyze!

You must draw. In the beginning, the lines will form tediously – they’ll squiggle, wriggle, dance, and jump. Don’t worry. It happens to everyone and with practice everyone grows out of it. If we’d still walk the way we did when we were just learning to lift our butts off the floor, we’d move like drunken zombies – but we don’t. Because we learned. And we learned through practice. So, just draw. Let that pencil become your friend.

What if a snooping friend of yours checks out your precious treasure of funny looking drawings?

Challenge them to draw better than you do. If someone is criticizing you for something, he or she should either be better than you are (and then you must take the criticism as directional feedback,) or shut up.

So draw.

Combine 1 and 2 to get, draw anytime, anywhere.

3. Don’t let curious onlookers stop you from drawing.

People are funny. They think that only witches, wizards, and other sorts of magical beings can draw, and so when they see you drawing in a restaurant, or in a train, or in a park, they stop to look. Perhaps they don’t have anything better to do, unlike you who has something…so feel sorry for them, recite a short prayer for the poor misguided, bored-with-their-lives souls,  “they stand here and watch because they can’t draw… Dear God, give them this day, something more useful to do,”) and  continue. In a few months from now, you’ll be accomplished at drawing stuff – and now when they stop to watch you, they’ll gasp at your work and tell you that you are really talented.

4. Remember that Drawing has nothing to do with Art-Supplies!

Don’t worry about the types of pens, pencils, brushes, colors, paints that you should use to draw. Also don’t worry about the types of paper, canvas, other surfaces that must be used to get that oh-so-nice effect. Effects are effects, drawing talent is drawing talent. Once you’ve practiced enough, you’ll be able to work with any material with ease. So, use what’s easiest for you to lay your hands upon.

Some of my best drawings are done on Xerox paper with an HB clutch-pencil, and most of my doodle-cartoons are done using whichever pen I was holding at the time when inspiration struck. Art-supplies and art-material would bother you only when you begin to draw professionally. For about six-months to a year, draw with anything on anything.

5. Tell yourself – Practice Leads to Perfection

You can walk, run, even run up a staircase, with a perfect-10 perfection – and you can do it because you’ve practiced it long enough and consistently enough.Drawing is no different. Practice is your best bet. Don’t begin, then stop, then start again only to stop… Draw everyday…and then one day, you’ll wake up and an inner voice will confirm that you indeed can draw 🙂 When that day arrives, you’ll stop waiting for approval from others – you would have got the most important approval – from the most important source – your inner voice.

So if you are interested, pick up a pencil stub, find a scrap of paper  and start drawing 🙂

Guest Post by Barbara G. Tarn – The Writer-Artist shares her experiences on Creating and Publishing Comics.

My blog is honored to present this guest-post by Barbara G. Tarn. Barb is a fantasy writer and artist who loves to create new fantastical worlds. While there are writers in this world who dabble in art, and artists who dabble in writing,  she’s good at both. Every once in a while she brings her two skills together to write graphic novels and comics. In this post, she discusses her evolution as an artist and an author. This post is a glimpse into a self-taught and self-motivated person, who often inspires me to stay true to my course. I’ve always admired people who have the courage to charter new paths and discover new destinations, despite knowing that the beaten path offers comfort, ease, and security. Barb’s courage is all the more exemplary, because she walks her chosen path with a smile on her face and because she can laugh at stuff that could leave a lesser person, bitter and disappointed.

My Dear Readers,

I welcome Barb on my blog. I recommend that you visit her blog at CreativeBarbwire.WordPress.com and follow it. She blogs quite regularly. If you are writer or an artist, or just someone looking for a spark of inspiration, you’ll love her posts.

The Self-taught Creative

by Barb

I’m self-taught and proud of it. Yes, I went to school (up to the Italian equivalent of high school), I attended an illustration course (and failed the second year when we started using brushes), but then I started working in the most un-creative environment possible, and most would have forgotten their dreams and dropped the pen and the pencil.

I didn’t. I know I’m not a talented artist – if I were, I’d be an illustrator or a comic book creator by now. I didn’t go to art school, so my hand can never do what I see in my head, sigh. I love realistic styles, but I can’t draw them, so I had to find my own way.

I kept drawing because I enjoyed it. It’s the passion that kept me going, both for writing and drawing. I did illustrations for most of my stories, started many comics – improvised, so I kept going until I got bored – and especially when I was in my teens, I mixed prose and art: if I couldn’t draw the scene, I’d just write it down.

I slowly specialized in fantasy settings. I love the Middle Ages, so I have plenty of pictures of castles and books on clothes to get some inspiration. I still can’t draw animals, so my characters tend to travel on foot or through magic spells. And I keep experimenting.

I’ve become proficient at tracing from pictures (so I do portraits of celebrities to decompress from writing and drawing and life), but regarding comics and graphic novels… well, I went through many changes. I also learned to do a sort of script to make sure the story unfolds in a correct number of page, that fits print publication (my first complete comic had 21 pages… what was I thinking I’d put on page 22? An illustration? An author’s note? What?) – although this is less important now with webcomics and ebooks.

A little history: I grew up in France with their varied world of “bandes dessinnées” for all ages and tastes. But I also read Donald Duck stories (always hated Mickey Mouse, LOL) and the Peanuts and Marvel comics – and in the 1990s we had the manga invasion. So my style started “realistic” (like comics), went through a manga-like stage, then settled into something a little more personal – between The Peanuts and a comic book (if you can find one without overmuscled superheroes, that is!).

This was best expressed in Fleur de Lys, which I hope to scan and upload soon. On that one I even did my first attempts at coloring with Photoshop (although I will probably publish it in B&W, as some e-readers are still B&W only, like my Kindle).

The whole evolution can be seen on Mercenaries?! – when I finished it in 2002 (started in 1997), I started redrawing and coloring it because I couldn’t let those characters go. Mercenaries?! is 500 pages and if I republish it (it was a photocopied fanzine that sold 10 copies at Italian comicons in the late 1990s), I’ll have to figure out if I should use the new beginning – having a drop in quality after about 20 pages – or do it in chronological order with the new color beginning at the end or in a separate booklet.

Noticing how inking sometimes “ruined” the pencil, I did one comic in pencil, then with Photoshop made it look like ink by toying with the levels and then colored it (Lady Ice on Smashwords free B&W downloadable version and on Facebook online color version).

My current graphic novel, S.K.Y.B.A.N.D, is the next step – it’s all in color from the beginning (check the WIP post on my blog)! It has pages in prose with an illustration next to it (for those long conversations when not much happens) and, like Lady Ice, it has a more realistic style, as the Fleur de Lys style is more for humorous comics and this is a serious (and adult-oriented) story.

Skyband-by-Barb-G-Tarn

 

I reduced the frames number to an ideal 9 (maximum, can be less for opening scenes). I use a European sheet format (A4), which means it would look weird on an American comic book. And I’ve gone back to inking on paper and then coloring on Photoshop. But it’s taking me a long time to finish (three more chapters to go) because it comes after the prose writing and I’m not sure I’ll do another afterward. Well, maybe another funny one like Mercenaries?! and my personalized style, who knows.

Like everything else in life, it takes passion, practice and patience. If you don’t think you can write the story, partner with someone who can. If you can’t draw, find someone who can – I’d love to do some sci-fi or contemporary comics, but I can’t draw technology or even a car, so if anyone would like to try working with me, let me know. I had some good and some bad experiences working with artists, and enough time has passed since the last very bad experience, so I’m willing to take another chance.

Schools might be good, but if you don’t have the passion to keep going, you’ll never make it. You need to dream big, but keep realistic expectations. If you’re naturally talented (not like me), you might find a job at a publishing house (Marvel, Disney or their equivalents in your home country). Or you can do a web comic, or publish an e-book.

Just don’t give up. And keep learning and experimenting and mostly having fun. If it becomes a chore, it’s time to quit. Happy creations, and thank you Shafali for having me again!

_____

Barb on this blog

Barb on DeviantART

Barb on Facebook

Barb‘s blog

News! First Neanderthal baby cloned from the toe-bone of a Neanderthal! They will walk the Earth once again!

Governments and Research Establishments have been known to keep their discoveries under wraps.

  • They’ve got aliens in glass-jars, God knows where, but they do.
  • They’ve also got tiny dinosaurs skipping away merrily in some obscure national park, nobody knows which park, but they do.
  • Now they’ve got cute little baby neanderthals in their labs, crawling on their cute rotund little tummies; nobody known where those labs are, but they do.

When I learned about this, I was shocked. Our dear planet earth is already groaning under the ever-growing population of humans. Do we really need the crop of para-humans on this earth? They weren’t smart enough, so we survived and they didn’t. But then smartness isn’t a measure of the resources one consumes. We may be able to keep them under control for a few centuries, but then they’ll start demanding equal rights. And then, we’ll have to look at their viewpoint too. Think about it. It’s time for the homo-sapiens to protest against the cloning of Neanderthals.

Let us protest.

Let us put up a Facebook page “Stop Cloning Neanderthals” and get a twitter handle “@keepthejobswithhomosapiens“!

Read the full story at the Washington Post site.

A caricature or cartoon about Perceptions - Neanderthals vs. Homo Sapiens

PS: Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not being rude to the Neanderthals.If they came as aliens from another planet, I’d welcome them with open arms. I’d even become their spokesperson and business liaison to help them engage in trade with Earthlings.

PS2: Remind me to take this post off my blog in another 15 years. By that time, the cute little Neanderthal babies would’ve grown up and they’ll consider this post “speciest” (biased against another species.)

Source of Inspiration:

“Scientists in Germany say that they have completed the genome sequence of a Neanderthal, and are making the entire sequence available to the scientific community for research.” Source: http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/20578

Caricature/Cartoon – John F. Kerry – The US Secretary of State shares a Happy Moment with Democrats and Republicans!

John F. Kerry recently became the 68th US Secretary of State.

Here’s my rendition of the event.

Caricature, Cartoon of John Kerry being carried on a shield by the democrats and the republicans - with anne rice waving goodbye - A pen and ink drawing with color.

Nano-biography of John Kerry

The highlights of Kerry’s early life include the awards he earned during his short-service commission with the Navy, after which he joined Vietnam Veterans Against War and campaigned against the Vietnam War. Later he worked as an Assistant District Attorney too. His political journey began when he was sworn in as a US Senator in 1984.

More recently, Kerry became the US Secretary of State when Susan Rice had to face flak for her comments on the Benghazi incident. She was “forced” to withdraw from the race (now, she’s likely to become President Barack Obama‘s National Security Advisor.)

Some Interesting Facts about John Kerry

(Other than the fact that he was born in 1943, which makes him 70 now,)

  • In the 2004 US Presidential Elections he was the Democratic Presidential nominee.
  • Kerry’s father’s parents were jewish but then some time around 1900 they changed their surname to Kerry. Kerry’s great-uncle and -aunt died in the Nazi Concentration Camps.
  • Kerry is tall (and slim – what must be his bending moment?) He’s a fan of the Beatles (I did sketch John Lennon once, you can see his caricature here,) and The Rolling Stones (Keith Richards here) He loves to cycle.
  • He is married to Teresa Heinz (if you are reminded of ketchup, your gray cells are working fine,) who has a net worth of USD 750 Million. (In my next life, I’ll not let myself be flung on earth unless God promises me to make a wealthy heiress – however, so that you aren’t mistaken, Teresa Heinz “married” into the Heinz family – she wasn’t born with Heinz surname!)
  • John Kerry is the Richie-Rich of US Politics.

I guess that’s all for now. I must return to drawing caricatures 🙂

Caricature/Cartoon of Pope Francis I – Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina becomes the first Jesuit Pope.

Presenting the Caricature of Pope Francis I.

Caricature, cartoon, pen and ink color drawing of Pope Francis I - the first Non-European to become Pope.

 

Here are the details of the face and the dimensions of the image.

The caricature/Cartoon of Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) - pen and ink drawing with color.

Remember?

  • After Pope Benedict XVI resigned, they said – They aren’t going to elect a man in his late seventies…again.
  • They also said – It would be very difficult for them to change course and elect a non-European as a pope.
  • And then they said – Pope must be someone who has a non-controversial record.

Pope Francis’ election has proved them wrong on all the three counts.

He is 76, an Argentine (thus, a Non-European) and has been embroiled in his share of controversies. He is also a traditionalist who is against gay-marriages and considers them the work of the Devil.

Pope Francis I – A Brief Biography

Jorge (Mario) Bergoglio is an Argentine who was born to Italian parents (on December 17, 1936.) His father worked in the railways and his mother was a housewife. He studied Chemistry and worked as a Chemistry technician before he decided to become a priest at the age of 22, and entered the Society of Jesus. It was another 9 years before he actually became a priest.

He is known for his humility and austerity. He could’ve become Pope in 2005 but he appealed to his fellow Cardinals that they shouldn’t vote for him and vote for Ratzinger (his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.)

More about Jorge Bergoglio

In his protest against the bill that would legalize Gay Marriages in Argentina, he wrote,
“Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

(Read this article here.)

There is also a lot of talk in Argentina about his being associated with the disappearance of two Jesuit Priests.

But beyond this,
the new Pope is known to be a simple man. He is considered to be someone who understand power-play, and who is perceived to have to capability to steer the Vatican ship through today’s troubled waters.

A few other things…

  • He had to get one of his lungs removed due to an infection, when he was quite young.
  • In the last 1000 years, he is the first Pope (after Pope John Paul I) who has chosen a new name for himself.
  • He is the first Jesuit to have become the Pope.
  • He is also the first non-European to become Pope in the last 1200 years. (He still is a person of Italian (European?) origin.)
  • He is opposed to same-sex marriages, abortions, and artificial insemination.

Pope Francis’s unrequited Love

I can’t stop myself from editing this post to include this wonderful news. Finally, an info-byte that makes me feel connected with the Pope.

Amalia Damonte who still lives in the same house where she grew up (at 555 Membranilla Street in the Flores district of Buenos Aires (the capital of Argentina,)) was proposed to by a young boy called Jorge Bergoglio. He was 12 and she was 13…and she is the reason why Jorge Bergoglio is Pope Francis now. Had she not turned down his proposal, he wouldn’t have embraced priesthood – for his letter told her in no uncertain terms – that if she didn’t agree to become his wife, he’d become a priest. He was quite serious about the matter as she’s got it in black and white…or whatever was the color of the ink that Jorge favored when he was young.

So…you see now. There’s a woman behind every successful man…even the Pope 🙂

Now, he is the leader of 1.2 Billion Catholics world-wide.

(Interestingly, India’s population is 1.2 Billion too.)

Read the text of his first Speech from the Pope’s Balcony  overlooking St. Peter’s Square here.

Color Caricature/Cartoon – Sammy Hagar: The Red Rocker Rocking away.

Sammy Hagar‘s Caricature was the last. He was the last because I had to show him drunk. An artist often begins to feel what he or she portrays in her drawings, and I couldn’t have drawn the other two if I ended up feeling as drunk as I’d paint him to be. (Keep drawing 3 sad faces a day, and I assure you that in a couple of years the corners of your own lips would begin to droop, and you’ll acquire that forever sad kind of look. If you don’t believe me, you are welcome to give it a shot.)

The concept for this caricature was simple. Sammy’s autobiography didn’t sell too well so he could be shown sprawled (inebriated…of course,) near the cartons of his unsold autobiographies. I took the liberty of planking (or to be technically accurate, reverse-planking) him over the cartons…and added that stuff in the foreground. (My love for non-sensical details always manages to kick-in…sometimes just a minute before I am about to send the final image to the client.)

Here’s Mr. Sammy Hagar sprawled upon the cartons (I know that you can see his naval, but it’s “cute” and not “obscene” – so please don’t start.)
Caricature Cartoon of Sammy Hagar - the Red Rocker for American Spectator

About Sammy Hagar:

Hagar also known as the Red Rocker was with Van Halen for a long time. He wrote his biography, ” Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock“, and unsuspectingly became the subject of this caricature for the American Spectator Magazine’s March 2013 Issue feature “Rock and Roll is (Mostly) Noise Pollution.” 

What I loved Painting?

The smile, the bottle, and the stomach. I must confess that I had forgotten to paint that cute little belly button and I added it just before I sent the image over.

The Colors?
As I said in the Keith Richards post, rock-stars come with an in-built supply of color-ideas. The Red Rocker wears red (well, mostly) and so all I had to do was off-set the red. I could do it with green or with blue. I didn’t want to use green because I had used it on Criss’s caricature, and as all the caricatures were going to accompany the same article, I wanted some variation. So I used blue 🙂 Quite simple, really.

That’s all, friends. I’ll return with a John Kerry caricature (colored one…I hope) soon 🙂

Color Caricature/Cartoon – Keith Richards: Charged-up and Ready to Go!

Mr. Keith Richards (the guitar-strumming, auto-biography writing rock-star, who has inspired many caricaturists to push their wrinkle-painting abilities beyond safe-limits,) hypnotized this caricaturist and ensured that his was the first caricature I made. I just fell for his deep and mysterious wrinkles, his beautiful red bandana, his long silky tresses, his skull-ring, and… that cigarette swinging from his lips.I couldn’t have painted anyone else until I had painted him. His awesomeness consumed me…totally and completely.

(Statutory Warning: Cigarette-smoking is injurious to health. Viewing images of people smoking cigarettes could result in tertiary-smoking.  It’s recommended that you visualize a daisy hanging from Mr. Richards’ lips while viewing the following caricature.)

OK. So, here’s his caricature. This will tell you why I flipped.

Cartoon Caricature of Keith Richards - Guitarist of the Rolling Stones rock band - done for the American Spectator Magazine

About Keith Richards:

He’s considered to be one of the best (4th to be precise, according to this Wikipedia page on him,) guitarists of the world.  He is one of the founding members of the rock band The Rolling Stones (same band to which Mick Jagger belongs. Their lines look similar, don’t they?) Richards found his way into this article “Rock and Roll is (Mostly) Noise Pollution”  because he too wrote his Autobiography “Life“. (If you are wondering…the title of the article spoofs “Rock and Roll ain’t Noise Pollution” by AC/DC.)

What I loved Drawing?

Actually…everything! More specifically, his hair, his bandana, his face, his guitar, his cigarette…and my little mouse-friend. Did you notice him?

About the Colors?
When you paint rock-stars, you don’t have to worry a lot about colors 🙂 They supply the colors themselves.

Color Caricature/Cartoon – Peter Criss: The American Spectator Inspires the Caricaturist to Paint.

If you’ve known this caricaturist for a while, you know that when left to her own devices, she picks up a pencil and draws black-and-white caricatures. She then expects people to swoon over her black and white drawings, conveniently forgetting that the world loves colors. (She obviously won’t let go of this opportunity to compare herself with the Great Mr. Henry Ford who was happy making black cars, telling people that they could have any color as long as it was black.)

So when on February 5th, she opened her mailbox to find an email from the American Spectator, asking her to paint the color-caricatures of  three famous rock stars of the twentieth century, she looked at the deadline and moaned. Three color caricatures in five-and-a-half days…and of rock-stars (I am tone-deaf, remember?)

The good news is – I did it 🙂 The short and succinct “looks great!” from the other side of the world, kept me fueled up.

Here’s Mr. Peter Criss a.k.a. the Catman. He was the drummer of the Rock band KISS. The caricature accompanies an article “Rock and Roll is (Mostly) Noise Pollution.

Caricature/Cartoon of Peter Criss Painted for the American Spectator Magazine.

The concept asked for Peter Criss (in his Catman costume) checking out the thesaurus, as the article is an interesting review of the mad-rush of rock-star autobiographies.

The text “Makeup? or… Breakup?” twists the title of his autobiography “Makeup to Breakup,” to build a connection with his checking out the thesaurus. I left the sticks on the ground – unattended…for now, because the autobiography takes up his attention.

What I loved painting the most?

That white face and those gloved hands…getting those highlights right was fun…and of course, it was a novel experience. You don’t paint a Catman every day.

The Color-scheme

You could look at it from a distance of 10 feet and figure out that the caricature plays out a complementary color-theme. I didn’t think about it then, but as you’ll see in the other caricatures too – they all turned out to follow the complementary color-theme. I guess it was an intuitive need to balance the colors.

Guess that’s all for now 🙂

(Note: I know that many of my visitors arrive here to read my verbal-caricatures. If I’ve disappointed you, I am sorry – but I’d recommend that you pick up a copy of The American Spectator and read “Rock and Roll is (Mostly) Noise Pollution.” I don’t have the nerve to write anything after reading that :))