I used to go to town playing with “construction toys”. I loved ’em all: Legos, MEGA blocks, K’Nex, Foam Puzzle Mats, Tetris—heck, even Betty Spaghetti! I had fun putting things together, and like my dad, I used spacial thinking. All that practice didn’t go to engineering, math degrees or architecture, however. I drew pictures instead!
I used to draw freehand. In other words, I used no reference. If I wasn’t drawing my favorite video game characters (hail Tomb Raider!), I used no photo reference and no mannequins. I often got compliments on my drawings about how proportionately I sketched them. I was too much a perfectionist, though. I drew human proportions so well that my characters looked stiff. They were near perfect, but they weren’t relatable. Even toons can be realistic—just watch old Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny!
I needed shapes. I was impatient and just wanted to draw the character I imagined without realizing I could’ve saved myself some time. I kinda blame it on my art classes. They were either craft projects that required glue and scissors or bored me to tears with complicated perspective lessons. In both situations I worked with shapes, but not in the way I needed or one that fit me. I had to learn a way to treat my drawings like building blocks. Maybe this way can help you too?
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