20 Steps to Artistic Immortality

As part of my 2007 goals, I signed up for a beginner’s art class at a local art academy.  I don’t see myself especially gifted as an artist, so I figured this would be a great way to find out how right I am.

Guess what?  There is a process to drawing!  It isn’t just trance-like inspiration.  The master artists, Cezanne, Picasso, Calder; they all started with drawing.  It is the beginning, the genesis of all great paintings and sculpture.  I learned more in that two hours than in the past two decades about lines, angles, apathy (danger!), and perfection.

1.  Relax

2.  Concentrate

3.  Draw lightly

4.  Big shapes first

5.  Compare back & forth

6.  Turn it upside down

7.  Find mistakes

8.  Put arrows down (next to mistakes)

9.  Turn it right side up

10. Correct mistakes

11. Erase arrows

12. Check positive & negative shapes

13.  Correct mistakes

14. Stop & rest

15. Check it again

16. Correct mistakes

17. Raise your hand & ask for help

18. Ghost your line

19.  Add details

20.  Ask for help one last time

Perfection, as defined in art, is ‘done right’.  Perfection in business tends to go down the road of ‘analysis paralysis’ or delays to a product launch while everyone worries about getting everything “perfect”.  This isn’t what we’re focused on.

As our instructor mentioned, “Everything you draw or paint, it should be able to be displayed.  Work on it until you’ve perfected it.  Apathy is your enemy.  There are a lot of crummy painters out there.  You don’t have to be one of them.”

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