We will explore some of the reasons why you think you suck at hand drawing and how to change that. Landscape architecture requires a broad set of skills to understand a site and to propose a design. Among the most important of these skills is hand drawing. Being able to sketch an idea or a landscape gives you the ability to understand it at a deeper level in a relatively quick time. It is also one of the best ways to have a conversation with a client. Learning how to draw isn’t as hard as it seems, and now is the best time to learn. We all want to be good at hand drawing, but what are the things that block us from doing so?
10. You Don’t Think You Can
More than often, our minds are our biggest roadblock and we don’t even realize it. Drawing is all about attitude and confidence. If you think you can draw, you will be able to. If you don’t think you can draw, you won’t even give yourself the chance to try. So, even if you think you might be bad, believe you can do it … because you can!
9. You Care What Other People Think
When we see somebody else’s drawings, we sometimes wish we had their talent or ability to draw. Too many people say that they suck at drawing, and hearing it so often tricks our own mind into believing we suck, as well. However, it doesn’t matter who is better than you. We all have a different style, and you just need to find what works for you. So, stop caring what people say about your ability or talent and just draw.
8. You Are Not Seeing The Subject
To be good at drawing, you have to look at the world with a new perspective. Don’t label objects in your mind and just draw the shapes you see. This is the true essence of drawing: You don’t need to label the subject with words, just look at it with fresh eyes and draw what you think, not what you think you see.
WATCH: Linescapes: Drawing Landscape Architecture – Introduction video
7. You Don’t Do It Enough
Nobody is good at drawing out of the gate. You have to practice every day. Carry a sketchbook around wherever you go so you’re ready whenever inspiration strikes. Actively seek out inspiration and draw it. Draw your ideas and use your sketchbook to refine them into something better. Take the time to sketch, and you will improve. It doesn’t matter if you are just scribbling or drawing details; just get out there and draw real things. Become an addictive sketcher and fill up your sketchbook.
WATCH: Adebanji Alade’s Sketch Inspiration Hot Shot 6
6. You Won’t Try Different Techniques
It is easy to get stuck in a mood where you think that anything you draw is bad. However, you have to have an open mind and try new things. There are so many different ways you can draw — with pencils, pens, charcoal, etc. Alternate between drawing mediums when you are stuck. Doing this will help you experience the landscape in a different way. Be bold with charcoal and play with positive/negative aspects of light and spatial patterns, or be delicate with a pencil. Draw with a pen or markers for a totally different outcome.
WATCH: Vic Bearcroft Charcoal Landscape
WATCH: Linescapes: Drawing cliffs, pen and watercolors
5. You Are Tackling Too Much
Don’t try to create a massive drawing at first. Begin with a small sketchbook and work your way up. This will help with your composition and make it easier to move on from a bad drawing. It makes it easier to try different scenes and techniques if you are drawing on a smaller sketchbook. If you fill up a small sketchbook, you will feel accomplished and get the feeling that you can do it! Make a goal to finish a sketchbook by a certain date to force yourself to sketch. Then tell somebody else about it so you actually do it!
4. You Use an Eraser Too Much
When sketching with a pencil, it is easy to get dragged down by erasing one line over and over. There is no point in laboring over every detail; it just wastes time that could be spent drawing more. If you draw with confidence, your lines will be smoother and it will look better in the end. Be bold and draw the essence of your subject or idea. That is what drawing is all about anyway. The best way to force yourself to be confident is to use a pen or ditch the eraser. If you can’t erase, you will have more confident lines and be less afraid of making a mistake. If you don’t have to draw to scale, let go of the urge to be perfect and just go for it.
3. You Think Too Much
Drawing requires your full concentration. You have to get in the right mindset and clear your space of any distractions. When you are in the zone, you lose sense of time and don’t think of language. If you have never experienced this feeling, you have never truly drawn anything. You have to be in the moment completely and devote your concentration to the task at hand. Language often gets in the way, and our thoughts cloud our minds with mundane chatter that distracts us from drawing. Draw mindfully and don’t let your brain wander to other subjects.
2. You’re Not Using The Right Side of Your Brain
When you are in the middle of drawing and in the zone, you are using the right side of your brain. This is the creative side of your brain, unlike the left side, which is all about logic. Drawing is the perfect opportunity to facilitate the shift from left to right brain function. This is when you lose sense of time and language to become fully immersed in the process of seeing and drawing. If you want to learn more about the right and left brain, pick up a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. This upside-down drawing of a sketch by Picasso tricks your brain into using the right side because you just look at the lines, not at what you think a person looks like.
WATCH: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: my upside down Picasso sketch of Stravinsky
1. You’re Not Having Fun!
Probably the most important thing to remember is that drawing is fun! You should do it because you love it. The feeling of satisfaction after you draw something well is unlike anything else, so practice until you reach that point! It will get easier with time; just be patient with yourself and don’t fret over the little stuff. Draw landscapes to understand them, bring that knowledge back to the office, then draw your design ideas. – Drawing is not a natural talent that you either have or you don’t. With enough practice and dedication, you too can become good at drawing. It will help you better communicate with clients, and you will see the world in a different way. Once you understand the basics of hand drawing, the same practices can transition into your digital work, which will be better as a result. Now go pick up your sketchbook and draw something! What is the roadblock that is making you think you suck at drawing? Recommended Reading:
- Drawing and Designing with Confidence: A Step-by-Step Guide by Mike W. Lin
- Landscape Perspective Drawing by Nicholas T. Dines