The Most Important Step to Painting is Drawing

To be a good figure painter you should know how to draw.  My teacher Sergei Bongart would tell students to go home if they couldn’t draw and to not come back until they could.  After they learned to draw they were allowed to paint.

I would like to present three possible ideas to help you learn to draw figures.

1.) Take a class
Drawing courses can be found in most communities and schools. Start at a level that helps you the most. Basics or an advanced class that studies anatomy. Figure drawing books are wonderful. Some of my favorites are by John H. Vanderpoel, George B Bridgman, Andrew Loomis and “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way” by Stan Lee and John Buscema.

2.) Go to figure drawing sessions that offer short to long timed poses.
Two, five, ten, and 20 minute poses are very good for learning different parts of drawing. It took me a long time to fall in love with 2 minute gesture poses and I didn’t understand their value. By learning the value  of quick gestures you can watch people in motion and capture their extreme poses.  A long pose can help you develop your own style of drawing and give you time to study the figure.  Use different kinds of paper and try charcoal, conte, pencil and pens.  See what thrills you and helps you grow.

3.) Carry a Sketchbook
Beginning your sketchbook you should use a pencil.  This will let you erase and fix your drawing so your talent and style can grow.  Draw figures holding still. Airports, restaurants buses or anywhere figures are not really moving. Try to never let people know you are sketching them and develop tricky ways to observe. After you feel comfortable with the pencil try pens.  A fun way is to use insoluble pens for the first part of your drawing and then add soluble color pens and a water brush pen to add interest. The most fun challenge for me is drawing people in motion like cooks at a restaurant, people waiting for the bus, or workers outside using their muscles with unusual poses.

Good luck and have fun.  If your painting has a bad drawing it is doomed from the start so learn to draw.

Upcoming OPA Events

OPA 2019 Western Regional Exhibition 29th Annual National Juried Exhibition
The Twenty-Ninth National Exhibition and Convention will be hosted by RS Hanna Gallery, located in Fredericksburg, Texas, from October 16 - November 28, 2020. Learn More!
OPA Summer 2020 Online Showcase OPA Summer 2020 Online Showcase
The Summer 2020 Online Showcase is from June 5 - August 15, 2020 and will be open to Associate members only. Learn More!
Salon Show 2020 Salon Show
The Salon Show will be held August 13 - October 3, 2020 at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville, GA. Canvas Size: not to exceed 864 square inches. More details to be announced as they become available.
Western Regional Exhibition 2020 Western Regional Exhibition
The Western Regional Exhibition will be held September 4 – October 2, 2020 at the Montgomery Lee Fine Art in Park City, UT. More details to be announced as they become available.
Eastern Regional Exhibition 2020 Eastern Regional Exhibition
The Eastern Regional Exhibition will be November 20 - December 19, 2020 at the Reinert Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, SC. Canvas Size: not to exceed 1,200 square inches. More details to be announced as they become available.