Learning to draw in 30 days - a challenge

Posted on March 15, 2013 by Adam Fletcher

I do 30 day challenges. Or at least, I start 30 day challenges. Sometimes, rarely, I even finish them! But not often, because I'm lazy and forgetful. This month I decided I'd like to learn how to draw, because I remember how great it felt once I started writing for fun, back in 2008, and for the first time had a creative outlet. Not in a really profound artistic, oh look at me and all the abundant genius that pours out of my creative outlet sort of way, but just in a this idea is in my head and now I can get it out sort of way. I'm kind of hoping drawing might be another one of those. 

There is a slight hurdle to this plan and that is that I'm absolutely awful at it. In fairness, I've not really tried to draw more than stickmen since I was about 14. For a good reason. When I pick up a pencil it says "put me down" and I laugh and say shut up pencil and it says "no really, you suck" and then it's no longer funny, because the pencil is right. I suck at drawing. My stickmen are more stick, than men, and sometimes you can't even really tell that it's supposed to be a stick. That maybe some graphite just sort of bled out angrily on a page.  

I actually have very fond memories of drawing, back when I was a kid. Then I got to high school and there was this subject called Art and these qualification called GCSEs and then suddenly the two met. It all got very serious and the fun little sketches I did of Sonic the Hedgehog just didn't cut anymore, apparently. My classmates mocked my art. The teacher mocked it as well. I remember her saying "that's nice, what is it?" to one sketch and this became a bit of a class catchphrase for my creations. Another time she said a piece was "very interesting" which didn't mean it was very interesting, this was England, it meant very bad but in a way that respects the effort you've made

So, two weeks ago, and about 15 years since "that's nice, what is it?" I brought a book called "You can draw in 30 days". Which is a very bold claim. I assumed there would be a money back guarantee on such a claim and I'd email the author one of my Sonic sketches and he'd be forced to return all my money and rename his book "You can draw better than before, in 30 days." or "Everyone except Adam can draw in 30 days". 

I'm two weeks in, let's look at my progress... 


So we'd have a comparison, at the very beginning of the book we were told to draw a house, bagel and a plane. It is uncertain from viewing mine if I understand the basic principals of engineering or baking. Although it is clear that even if I do, I'm unable to articulate them using only a pencil.

Lessons 1 & 2

Were all about balls. I'm to going to make a joke about that because it's beneath me. By the end of lesson two we were also experimenting with foreshortening, shading, placement and some other of the 9 rules of drawing which I've forgotten but the book keeps banging on about.

Lesson 3 

3d balls and movement. See my little man being fired from the hole, right up at the top there? Yeah you do. He loves it. This is one of my favourite drawings, mostly because it's awesome and also because I drew it. 

Lesson 4

Balls got old. So we rolled out on out and starting drawing cubes. It's hip to be square and so on and other such dumb square jokes. Cubes are fun, mostly because they're not balls. 

Lesson 5

Boxes. Here we were bringing in some more advanced 3d techniques that suggest depth. Anyone whose seen the movies of Rob Schneider will know just how flat things can get when they have absolutely no depth. 

Lessons 6 & 7

Here things got a little structural. You'll see that I've become a GOD OF 3D by now. It looks like you're right in there with them, doesn't it? Like they're not drawn on boring, flat, white paper but chiseled directly into your mind! With, erm, chisels and stuff. Hold your applause folks, we're just getting started here. Actually on second thoughts, a little applause is fine. Spoil me. Oh, I see now I forgot to rub out the line behind the slides. Damn. Oh well. Can't win 'em all. 

Lesson 8

Texture and Koalas. This lesson had everything, assuming that everything is comprised of three textured balls and one rather sour looking koala. The Koala is my favourite of all my drawings, because he's not a ball, cube, building or other boring object. He's a super cute, cuddly, pissed off little Koala. 

Lesson 9

What you got for me now then, random author of how to draw book I found on Amazon? You ain't got nothing to test my mad stenciling. A rose? Really? That's it? Too easy.  It was at this point that I began contacting galleries to see who wanted to put on my first exhibition entitled - balls, cubes and sad koala. Date tbc. 

Lesson 10 

Bowls and stuff. Enough said. Boring.

Lesson 11

Tubes. I say tubes, but really the point of this was to teach us about layering. Anyone whose experienced a Berlin winter will already be pretty familiar with the concept of layering.  

Lessons 12 & 13

We mostly drew houses. From these two lessons I learnt there is more chance of me getting shingles than being able to draw them. If you scroll all the way back up, go on, lazy, get back up there, you can compare my house attempt from before I started to this knockout abode from the end of lesson 13. What do you mean I could have just included the before image again here? Yeah, well, everyone's a critic, aren't they. Only not of this house, of course, because it's clearly perfect and of high structural integrity. 

More masterpieces from the hand of me will appear here later in the month.


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