Practicing one thing at a time

Today I felt like drawing.

It’s January 15 and I’m already overwhelmed. There is not much to be done about that. Except to recognize when things are not flowing, take a little break and do something else.

Since I started drawing and painting, I’ve practiced each thing separately. I learned how to draw faces, then I tried to draw full figures, gesture drawing, watercolor, florals and botanicals, abstracts. Each little thing by  itself.

There are a couple of disadvantages with this approach:

  1. When you want to bring all the elements together it becomes a little chaotic. There are important “nuts and bolts” that are missing such as design principles, story telling , layout and such. These things are not taught anywhere outside University. To your enquiry “learning to draw”, Google will send you down a rabbit hole of online classes. All of them quite valuable on their own but once you need to create a final piece of work, you need those nuts and bolts or it will fall flat.
  2. Drawing is different from illustrating  You can make stick figures or seriously “ugly drawings” and communicate more than the most accomplished artist. Where is the secret? When you learn to do lettering plus drawing one is still missing a very important piece: a message. Again, this piece, I believe, is obtained in that (lately) despised institution that is College or University.

Right now, I’m satisfied with my watercolor as artistic expression, I’m also satisfied with my technique although there is much room for improvement. I’m just happy that my colors are vibrant and you can tell what I’m painting. But I still want to be able to communicate something and I’m missing the nuts and bolts.

Where are they? How do you connect the different acquired skills and put them together into something that makes a person stop their feed and be unexplainably moved.

I don’t know.

I’m at an impasse, do I continue with watercolor or do I work on finding the nuts and bolts? I could improve my drawing skills, keep creating variations of what I’ve already done to arrive to that elusive “personal style”.

I know it’s there. I just need some more hours in a day.