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How to improve observation skill to draw better for artists

How to improve observation skill to draw better for artists.
Observation is a very powerful skill and tool that can help you elevate your art to the next level.
When you start notice surrounding, objects, people, etc. with artist's observational eyes you will suddenly start seeing things differently. The world become a lot more interesting to look at and you will want to go out and explore more.

"What am I paying attention to? attention is focused on the space between what I see, and what the paint is doing on the end of my brush." (Eleanor Blair)

Better observation takes two things, the effort to observe what you want to know. The second is to have more knowlege about what you are observing.

The first part takes patience and practice. The human mind is a reprogrammable computing device. Your mind forms new neural pathways and optimizes existing pathways with practice and repetition. Any task can be subject to this effect from driving to playing sports. Consider the example of learning a card game. I find that with a few weeks of playing I get far better and faster at a game. My mind has formed some neural connections that allow me to process the needed problem solving skills more quickly. these connections are improved and optimized through repetion and practice. If you make a point to get out and regularly practice the skill you desire it will get easier.

The knowledge part is important as the better you know about what it is you are observing the more you will know what to look for and when to look for it. Understanding the what and the why is critical here, even if you do not know what they are to start with. If there is nothing you can read about your subject, no source of ready knowlege you are forced to create it yourself. Keep some notes! This will allow you to go back and check, our human brain can be very bad at remembering critical details correctly, (ask any police detective that interviews witnesses) we color all we see and how we remember it with a very subjective point of view. Keeping notes is a great tool to help you remove the observer bias that will creep in.

In reality, most people draw each and every day.

The function of drawing is to make marks onto paper or another surface. These marks will show ideas and information. Communication with these marks is usually done with writing or pictures.

"You can draw if you can write"
Drawing pictures uses the same skills as writing a message.
You don't think about what you are doing when you write...

* You are forming lines

* You are drawing circles

* You are creating curves

It is easy for you to write. Writing comes naturally to you. You were taught to write from an early age. The skills come easily to you.
When you are drawing you use the same skills as when you are writing...

* You can use a series of lines to draw a house

* You use a combination of curves to draw a face

If you take time and are willing to put in the effort, you can learn to draw... there is nothing to stop you improving your drawing skills.
Take a challenge... Pick up a pen or pencil and draw a cat or a dog. Don't worry if the result is disappointing. The resulting drawing could look like quite different from a cat or dog.
Because you already think that you can't draw there is no surprise.
However, it could surprise you to learn that many artists would struggle to get an exact likeness.
The biggest challenge when you learn to draw is to sharpen your powers of observation.
As you look more closely at the cat and dog you will see more. Take a close look at the head...

* See the shape of the head

* See how the ears are placed on top

* See the eyes

* Look at the nose

Related posted:
-How to improve visual memory for artists
-Painting Checklist for artists

New tutorials:
-Draw Female spy comics style
-How to draw witch hunter
-How to draw a woman
-How to draw Manga female character
-Draw Metal Gear girl assassin.
-Drawing Manga woman face, hair, and torso
-Painting portrait front view
-Painting portrait profile or side view
-Painting portrait 3/4 view

Environmental Concept Sketch Tutorial
Face Constructed: How to draw faces
Face Constructed: How to paint portraits
-Draw and Paint Women Body Tutorial I: Female Manga Fusion I
-Draw and Paint Women Body Tutorial II: Female Manga Fusion II
-Character Design Tutorial: Dark Valkyrie

** If you have any basic questions or specific please looked up Q/A section. Most of the time your questions has already been answered in Q/A.

If you need any help or support you can
-post questions or comment on the post (seems to be the fastest way to get response)


Luca said…
this series of information is really useful... I have read these days that even comic book artists struggle to get a single comic book panel... one famous Marvel comic book artist said: "You should see how my desk bin is full of paper!"
Now you can imagine how my desk bin is! :D

snow said…
thank you xia, these guides are incredibly helpful and inspirational. i'm compiling all of these tips and tricks into an organised document to refer too (which i can upload if anyone wants!).

thanks a lot!
XIA said…
Luca> Yeah, I agree. It's kinda like this...sometimes you have so many ideas and sometimes you don't even have any idea at all. Happen to me all the time. You just have to get inspired constantly to be able to produce great stuff, just like a car need gas and maintainance.

snow> Thanks Bro, Good for you!!! Now that will be useful for you now and later on, hard core man! Cheers!