With Skill Comes Style

9 Oct 2012

I feel like every time I pick up a pencil to attempt portrait drawing, I am back in elementary school learning the basics of how to draw a face all over again. You know that art argument about whether you need natural talent to learn how to draw? Well, I'm here to tell you it isn't true because I've got zero natural ability, and yet I know that my skills have improved tremendously over the years.

Self-Portrait by Kathe Kollwitz, woodcut, 1923. Kollwitz was always so brave with her line, unhesitating and bold. I quite admire that!
Self-Portrait by Kathe Kollwitz, woodcut, 1923. Kollwitz was always so brave
with her line, unhesitating and bold. I quite admire that!

But what I want and struggle with the most is figuring out my style of drawing. I want my works to have a look that unites them, and that is uniquely 'me.' Something that distinguishes them in a viewer's eye, but also connects them to the work of the artists and draftsmen that I admire.

It's a tall order, and what I've come to realize is that with skill comes style. Every step I get closer to figuring out how to draw faces with technical accuracy is a step closer to drawing 'my' way. So if you are like me, give yourself a break! Focus on learning the skills of drawing portraits—how to draw a nose and how to draw lips—and trust that your style is in you, and that the way you draw is your style!

The Lovers by Rockwell Kent, wood engraving, 1928. Kent was masterful in his use of black and white and the way he could turn line upon line into just about anything.
The Lovers by Rockwell Kent, wood engraving, 1928. Kent was masterful in his use of black
and white and the way he could turn line upon line into just about anything.

There's no need to struggle with how you draw. If you are drawing, your skill and your style are growing together. Look at your work with new eyes knowing that every drawing technique you master like drawing hair realistically is putting you on the path to a distinctive style with each mark you make.

I've also found that I make the greatest strides with my drawings when I'm in a class working in tandem with my instructor and the environment is one where I'm not intimidated and can really focus. That sweet spot was hard to find until ArtistNetwork.tv teamed up with Artist Daily! It is an online resource that allows us to take art workshops right in our own homes through streaming videos that you can view 24/7 on your computer or phone. And the artists who teach the workshops are some of the best out there—Sterling Edwards, Chris Saper, Nancy Reyner, Richard McKinley, Terry Harrison, and more. Right now, you can all explore ArtistNetwork.tv for free for four days. Just use the coupon code ATV4FREE and enjoy!

 


Related Posts
+ Add a comment

Comments

Blackbird_61 wrote
on 10 Oct 2012 5:48 PM

Yea know it's funny you mention this - I've never much worried about my 'Style' per se, but I think I have a good feel for what it is and isn't; Most Readers of the Forum will be familiar with  Lee Hammond's books on Drawing Technique; which would very often show a Drawing in four stages, from outine, to Line, to Line with tones, to a full tonal drawing.

What I always found was I very much liked the 3rd Study best; the linear elements made the drawing look like a drawing; and not to dis such an accomplished Artist and Teacher; but the full tonal drawing always looked flat and waxy to me; and where never nearly my own cup of tea, even if they were more technically demanding work; because I love drawing for it's own sake as an art and not just a means of doing studies for painting or sculpture; I do prefer a drawing that never forgets it is a drawing. BB.