Somehow I made it to adulthood only knowing how to draw people as stick figures. If you are one of those people, just know that the ability is within you.
On a whim, I decided to take a drawing course. My children were very young, and besides needing to have adult company, I also had an idea that I might someday write and illustrate my own children’s book. At the first class, I eyed my classmates – mostly older, mostly women, and mostly able to draw something other than stick figures. Nevertheless I timidly told my instructor that I was talent-less but could she please help me illustrate a children’s book.
Our assignment for the second class was to bring in a picture of something that we wanted to draw. I fumbled around children’s books, looking for the perfect picture to emulate, but couldn’t really find anything. Right before the class, I saw a photograph of my son and for some reason, threw it in my sketchbook.
The instructor was a little surprised given that portraits were a bit different than children’s book illustration, but I mumbled an excuse and began to study the photograph. The instructor told us to think of pencil drawing as just “filling in” the dark spots. Unlike elementary art, you don’t necessarily just outline your subject. Drawing has much to do with segmenting something into dark and light. Amazing.
Making that portrait of my son became an all-consuming task, and after a few false starts, the drawing started to take on just the hint of the photograph. I couldn’t have been more pleased, my son even recognized the likeness, and I was on my way to a lifelong love of drawing.
Several years have passed and I haven’t returned to portrait drawing, but I know one day I will. The pure delight of pencil on paper hasn’t left… It’s waiting for a willing pencil, the right subject, and a few hours of free time.
About the Author:
Liz Suto is a real estate agent, author and educator, as well as Condo Mania team leader for:
Helping you find the perfect home at the right price.