2020 Goals: Learn to Draw

To the best of my knowledge and this blog’s search function, I only briefly talked about my attempts in 2016-2017 to learn to draw from from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and its later revised edition, both of which I have. The left photo is the set of “pre-instruction” drawings the lessons have one do as a baseline of ability–I’m not terrible, I’ve taken some art classes and have some basic skill at proportion and perspective, but I’m not great–and the right, one of the last exercises I did from The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, which, amazingly, I found used in my local library book sale room only a few months after starting the original edition.

I jumped tracks partway through and started using the revised edition, only to discover I didn’t like it as much. The viewfinder it had me build was awkward to use without a third hand, and I abandoned my “lessons” not long after doing that second drawing.

I was clearly making progress, but wasn’t enjoying myself as much. I still wish I had finished, though, so I’m going to try again in 2020.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Worth through all of the original Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, doing lessons as consistently as possible, and drawing on a daily basis even if I don’t finish a full lesson.
  2. Whenever I finish that (and I have no clear idea how long it will take) I will choose a second medium to “learn” to get color on the page. I’m leaning toward colored pencils, which I already love and seem a natural first step beyond pencil drawings, or watercolor, which I don’t know as much about but have always been curious to learn. Online tutorials abound for both, so I will not lack for instruction.
  3. Journal extensively about the process on Tumblr, where my side blog @elenajournals was sadly neglected through basically all of 2019; update monthly here with my progress like I used to in my “From My Art Journal” series.
  4. If I’m happy enough in my progress later in the year with color medium #1, try a second one as well, but that’s up in the air for now.

Meanwhile, on the research side of things:

  • Gather examples of book covers I like, both stylistically and for “art” reasons–most book cover art is digital these days, but I’ve seen some pretty gorgeous examples that aren’t.
  • Brainstorm ideas for covers for whatever unpublished projects I’ve got in the pile.
  • Eventually do the art for my own covers!

Because that’s where I want to do with this. I love the company I worked with to create the covers for the What We Need trilogy; they did great work and were pleasant and easy to work with through the entire process. But commissioning design work is expensive, and every time I think about putting out a smaller, non-novel project, especially if it’s something I want to offer for free, I simply can’t justify doing it when I would/should drop several hundred dollars to get a cover made.

If I can do my own, though? The self-publishing world becomes my oyster.

That goal is likely a decent way off (like, maybe not even in 2020?) if I want my art to be “good enough,” but I think having a concrete (and business-related) goal in mind for this second-attempt drawing journey will help keep me on track when I’m fully aware I often abandon projects like this halfway through. Like I did in 2017.

Honestly, I’m so excited about it I want to start now, but I’ve got a novel to finish and Christmas cookies to bake and Christmas presents to wrap and a holiday vacation to take. Actually, I did already “start”–I did a second set of pre-instruction drawings last week and all of them look about the same, except for the hand study, because boy have I done a lot of those over the years, even before picking up DotRSotB. But the real work begins next year.

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