Drawing breaks down into only three fundamental strategies.
- Drawing what you see
- Drawing what you see in your mind
- Automatic drawing
1) Drawing from life
Drawing from life, or drawing what you’re looking at, can have smaller strategies contained within that strategy.
Drawing from life is about training your eye to see relationships. The relationships of the shapes, the relationships of the lights and darks and middle-tones, and color. While life drawing is a difficult skill for many to master, and I still have a long way to go, it is certainly a very learnable skill.
As a mentor once told me: “the more you learn, the more you realize how much more there is to learn.”
2) Drawing from your mind’s eye
Drawing from your mind could be into drawing from memory, or drawing from your imagination, or both. Training your visual memory is the quickest and easiest way to develop your ability to draw better what you see in your imagination, and to make that more vivid, and containing more details.
3) Automatic drawing
Automatic drawing is when you look at the pencil on the paper and just watch what comes out without thinking about it or thinking about it less and less, or not looking at the paper at all.
A note on flexibility and the integration of these techniques
Seasoned artist’s will probably end up using all these techniques together in various ways within the same image. The flexibility an artist can develop to call on any of these skills in any sequence and whenever the image requires it is key.
Credit to Richard Bandler for pointing out these three distinctions in strategies of drawing.