Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Adventures of Old Sketchbooks (Or: Practice Makes Perfect)

Today, I am here to inform you that it gets better!

As artists, we all tend to hear the same thing. "Just practice! You'll get better."

Vaguely inspirational people like to remind you over and over that practice makes perfect. I think there is something in our brains that starts to cause us to grow immune to that advice. And after a while we stop hearing it at all. It goes right over our heads.

Well, today I decided it'd be a good idea to go through my stack of old sketchbooks. I've been drawing my whole life, but the biggest problem I had in art was faces. I could not, for the life of me, draw faces of any kind.

Which meant that instead I drew the back of peoples heads.

Well. Sometimes in 2012, I determined that I was going to learn to draw faces and I was going to succeed.

For days, weeks, months, and then years, I filled page after page of my sketchbooks with faces. And today, I looked at them all, and came to the conclusion that those vaguely inspirational people were right!

I'm far from a perfect artist. But I really do think that practice is what got me where I am. Not lessons or extreme talent. Practice.

So today, we're going to look at the growth of my Face Drawing Skills, while I write snarky comments towards my past self.

Once upon a time, there was a young hopeful artist with a stack of sketchbooks.

I really did try. Poor Princess Ruby. Most of my childhood was spent avoiding drawing people. Like. I would draw anything BUT people.

Sometimes in 2012, I determined I would attempt it.

I think what really happened, was that I had no idea the concept of body. What is this. What is happening. See, the only reason this is causing me to shudder is I remember when I drew this. And when I drew it, I was smug in thinking I was the Most Talented Person ever. I had yet to accept that I had room to improve.

I don't know. This person looks confused by their own existence.

See! This really isn't that bad, for being 13!? This is the area of my art career where I was so done with hands that i just refused to draw them. This most common pose you'd see me draw in, is that pose with the girl's hands behind her back. Just so I could avoid drawing them.

Aw look, she's even got braids. Strategically, she looks down so I could avoid drawing eyes.

[insert a few drawings too horrifying to post]

It got pretty bad.

I gave up for a while and drew donkeys

And I mean, this isn't THAT bad. I wasn't terrible. 

You'll notice that none of my people had open mouths. Open mouths are impossible to draw.

But it wasn't that bad!

Most of the times.

 I tried. I really did. I'd spend forever on each drawing. My drawn eyes went from tiny to HUGE in an instant.

Shame, Mariesa. Shame. A wine glass? What sort of person are you?

I went back to drawing the back of peoples heads. But you would be surprised at how good at hair you can get doing this!

Here, is me giving up on any sort of realism and choosing stylism, which is the style that would stick with me until the present. 

I don't think I knew how to mouth, Sorry, pizza lady.

Or nose.

Please stop, past Mariesa. That is not how faces work.

And in a sudden turn of events, I started to seriously narrow down my style sometime in 2014. 

And, it did get a little better. I embraced overly large eyes.

And pretty much all I did was draw book characters.

Except for the occasional Case of the Extra Big Left Eye

Moving on to present, I started to get a hang of the style I wanted. Some sort of borderline-cartoon stylized look.

And what a shocker, I even got brave enough to attempt drawing guys!

And here we have a drawing I did last week, and one I did this morning. 

In the end, I still am far from perfect. There's plenty for me to work on. But this post is still proof that I didn't get good overnight. It took me years to develop my style. It took a lot of discouragement and frustration.

So next time that Vaguely Inspiration Person says practice makes perfect, listen to them.


  1. Oh, I love seeing things like this. It's so cool to see improvement over time! And, I must say, you have become much better. :D

  2. Ahh this is soo cool! I jut might have to do something like this for my blog, we both know my art has experienced quite the evolution;)

  3. Awww your drawings are so cute <3 I can't draw but this is definitely true with writing, too...*sigh*

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  5. Better than any of my pictures. I'm only good at copying pictures from books (not tracing). I tried drawing a person, and decided to turn it into a bunny-man called Jack the Waiter.