Day 1: Activating the artistic mind

One of the problems with drawing, for many people, is that they let their abstract mind get in the way. So rather than putting down the image that they're seeing what they do instead is draw what they thing they are seeing. So they end up drawing their generic idea of a cat rather than noticing the shape of an actual cat's ears and the way in which its tail curls over its rear paws.

To break beginners out of this frustrating mind-state many guides start by asking students to copy, as slowly and accurately as possible, an upside-down image. The trick with this is that our right-brain doesn't try to name the object because it's not obviously a thing and so our left-brain is free to actually observe the lines in the picture and try to reproduce them.

So for my first picture I've methodically copied an upside-down picture of an owl with this (the right way up) being the result:

Owl drawing 1

Given that this is the original in the book I think that my likeness is pretty reasonable:

Owl picture 1

The most obvious difference is that my owl is a touch more squat than the original and I've got the eyes a little more skewiff than I'd like. Otherwise I'm happy enough with my copying skills here.

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