I recently got an assignment to illustrate a small educational reader. One of the illustrations contained all of the following objects: a bicycle, a house, a car, and a horse.
I’m sure I let out an audible groan.
The thing is, I hate drawing every single one of those objects. Do I have something against them? No…but the thought of drawing them multiple times in various perspectives gives me a headache (and if you’re not a fan of perspective, a bicycle can be your worst nightmare, believe me!). I enjoy drawing little cuddly animals and cute kids. Most everything else, I can do without.
Every artist will come across this problem, and probably quite frequently. If you are a working illustrator, you can’t just push it aside.
Because of my illustration style, I make up a lot of what I draw, and I rely a lot on what comes out of my head. If I hate to draw something, I can almost guarantee it is because of one of these reasons:
- I am unfamiliar with the subject. I love drawing kids playing baseball, but I hate drawing kids playing football. Why? I don’t know football nearly as well as I know baseball. And if I got an assignment with one of these two sports, I would have to be familiar with the field, the equipment, and the rules of play before I even picked up a pencil.
- I don’t have the drawing skill. Enough said, I think.
When I come across something that I don’t know very well and am not able to draw, I know the drawing is going to come out bad. That does not make me very happy. Also, I know if I want to create a good drawing, it’s going to require a lot of work. That also doesn’t make me very happy.
- DON’T give into your laziness, and
- DON’T avoid the subject altogether (you can’t anyway, if it’s a job).
This is how I got through my assignment — I scoured the internet, books, and art for images. Then I drew pages and pages of sketches. I drew until I was comfortable drawing these objects over and over again from my head. That’s really all it takes, but it is a lot of work. And you know what? I was beginning to enjoy myself after awhile.
The beauty of all this research is that the next time I get an assignment with similar subject matter, I won’t have to do nearly as much research, because I’ll have that new knowledge to draw from. I might even smile instead of cringe when I get the assignment.
So, what do you hate to draw? Is your sketchbook filled with cute little head portraits, but lacks full body poses? Do you avoid drawing hands by always posing your character with his hands behind his back? Do you like to draw cats, but not dogs? If you are uncomfortable with something, it indicates a lack of confidence. Don’t avoid it. Take the opportunity to learn something new and turn your uncertainty into a skill.