Reddit Reddit reviews The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study

We found 30 Reddit comments about The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study
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30 Reddit comments about The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study:

u/ranma · 42 pointsr/anime

(30+ years experience as a commercial artist, animator, broadcast designer and special effects designer speaking here. Plus I got into digital graphics back in the late '70s before anyone even knew what it was.)

The best place to start is to learn to draw. Anything else is a distraction and an attractive nuisance. Software is the least of your worries for quite some time. And even then, a cheap scanner or digital camera and some simple software are all you need to do a whole lot of learning.

And by drawing, I mean drawing from life. Find a life drawing class in your community if at all possible. I can not stress this enough. This may or may not be what your daughter has in mind, but it is like learning your scales to a musician. It's certainly possible to become a cartoonist without this type of training, but if you succeed you succeed in spite of the lack not because of it. I would say it is not possible to succeed as an animator without formal training. To become good enough to do this for a living, or even for fun, is a lot of work. But very satisfying.

Some books I recommend are:

  • _Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain_ by Betty Edwards

  • _The Natural Way To Draw_ by Nicolaides

  • _Figure Drawing For All It's Worth_ by Andrew Loomis (and back in print after 30 years for a very reasonable price! $25 at Amazon!)

  • Animation by Preston Blair. This is a Walter Foster How-To-Draw book and it is the best introduction to cartooning for animation. It is a very fun book, and very worth while, but don't neglect the other areas of study.

    When she gets a little farther along, get a copy of _The Animator's Survival Kit_ by Richard Williams.

    Edit: Your biggest expense isn't going to be software or computers, but time and paper and pencils. I recommend cheap printer paper, 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17. Regular pencils work just fine. Get them at the office supply store. Better art supplies can make a difference when you are much farther along, but the main thing when starting out is to do lots of drawings, and make lots of mistakes. Ward Kimball, one of Disney's master animators used to joke that, "the first hundred thousand drawings are the hardest." And it's not really a joke.
u/capnrob · 12 pointsr/AskReddit

Dude, as an art professor: First off, it's a matter of practice. As other people have said, if you have three years to kill, Nikolaides ( and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain will get you there.

For another thing, remarkably few people draw the final version right off the bat. If you want to draw a tree, get a blue pencil. Draw a cylinder about where you want the trunk. Draw another one where you want a branch. Once you have the tree blocked out, you can put shadows in. Once you've got that, you can start using the cylinders and shading you've generated to draw the Tree Itself.

A knowledge of perspective can also help; I usually recommend David Chelsea's Perspective! For Comic Book Artists here - but, again, the idea boils down to: You draw a framework FIRST, and then put the fine details in.

Gestural drawing and contour drawings are very useful tools to loosen up - particularly blind contour drawing - and they'll help you train your muscles to do what your brain wants. If you want to do loose, sketchy drawings, what you can do is get a thin, hard pencil, and just start scribbling. If you like where the scribble winds up, you do more there. If you don't like it, don't reinforce it. Once you have some practice with gestural and blind contour drawing - that is, once you can trust your muscles to do what you want once your eyes aren't on them - this is an effective way to get reasonable results early on.

I've been told that, if you really work on it, say, eight hours a day, you can get to be reasonably good at drawing in about three weeks. When I've taught this kind of stuff, we go over a semester, but I think it's about the same time investment.

u/patronoftheinhuman · 6 pointsr/tattoo

That's pretty solid, man. I'm no expert at tattooing though I feel like you might be able to see a portion of the inside of the skull through that gap between the teeth and jaw, and his brow is a little big. I want to recommend you this book that my professor gave me a long time ago back in college. I was already able to draw pretty well but this solidified my skills as an illustrator. Keep it up and big ups to your friend for taking you in and teaching you seriously. There are no bad students, only bad teachers. What most people wanting to do anything with art need is to be given a chance and taught with some patience.

u/kevodoom · 5 pointsr/drawing

I would absolutely recommend beginning by reading Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and doing the exercises. I'd follow it up with The Natural Way to Draw, again, doing the exercises.

1836to1846 has the right idea about focusing on shapes, not ideas, and drawing upside-down while you're first training your verbal mind to get out of the way and let you draw what you see, rather than the symbols you think you see. Drawing on the Right Side is exactly about that - teaching you that you can draw, and teaching you how to get out of your own way. After that, Nicolaides' book will teach you how to practice effectively.

Practice is absolutely the key, but getting some grounding in what to practice and how to practice effectively will allow you to get more out of it faster.

u/tilkau · 5 pointsr/ArtFundamentals

Uncomfortable is, in my experience, quite able to explain why exercises are well founded, and generally responds constructively to criticism.
But as he points out here, careless giving of non-essential details can really bog down the learner.

Nicolaides in "Natural Way to Draw" strongly puts across this same viewpoint; he carefully explains everything, but so so gradually. It's IMO correct to assess it as cultish, but it also works very well to get the learner to stop fucking thinking and pay attention to the process. (A review quote on the front says "not only the best how-to book on drawing, but the best how-to book we know on any subject". From my experience doing the course, I fully agree.)

As someone who wants to teach art, this is something I've had to come to grips with : I want to explain everything, but that is flatly bad and confusing. The teacher has to have the restraint to keep things minimal, digestible and structured; the student has to have some acceptance that effective instruction is not at all like reading a tutorial, doing lots of work per information unit is needed to avoid getting bogged down in analysis.

u/42147 · 3 pointsr/Sleepycabin

This book is the quintessential drawing book full of exercises to do. Highly recommend looking into it.

u/kaldrazidrim · 3 pointsr/pics

Keep it up! I want to recommend two books to you. The first was used as the curriculum in my Figure Drawing class: The Natural Way to Draw - Nicolaides

The other is called Constructive Anatomy and takes the mystery out of those trouble spots like hands and faces.

u/just_broke_up · 3 pointsr/LifeProTips

You might wanna check out this. I don't have high aspirations of becoming a visual artist, but I find that his technique helps me concentrate on one thing and one thing alone. Very good if your depression takes the form of a million judgmental thoughts in your head.

u/Tricky_e · 3 pointsr/animation

Luckily,you live now! Lots and lots of information for free on this here internetz.

John K has an online curriculum for drawing cartoons. If you go through all the links in order on that page, your skills will almost certainly improve a little!

But to be honest, it will only get you so far. If you really want to learn how to draw, I would recommend The Natural Way To Draw.

It's a book that contains about a years worth of a drawing course. It's more suited to life drawing, but the skills learned here will transfer into your imaginative work (hopefully!).

Much of the drawing techniques I learned at uni come straight from that book.

One important thing you need to get your head around now though; don't worry aboutmaking nice pictures. That isnt your aim now. Your aim now is just to learn how to train your hand to spit out exactly what is in your head. This takes time. Years, even.

So if you dont produce beautiful art straight away, don't worry. They say you got 10,000 shitty drawings to get through before you get to the good stuff, so just start working through those and have fun learning.

I would recommend thinking of your drawings as completely disposable right now. Its about learning the skill, not making beautiful art. I'd recommend the cheapest, nastiest paper (utterly disposable) and lots of it!

If you ever want critiques or some help, hit me up :D

Oh yeah, and if you really want to level up, be prepared to have your work seriously critiqued, you have to put your ego aside :)

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/FurryArtSchool

There's no substitute for practice, but there is one book that was highly recommended to me. It's called The Natural Way To Draw, and its focus is on gesture drawing. I'm sure you've done gesture drawing in the past, but perhaps this book can provide some new insight into the process?

My second recommendation is to keep track of cartoonists online. There's a whole community out there of blogs and tumblrs that circulate tutorials, student films, book recommendations, and other things that catch their eye. Some of my favorites include Izzy's Scribbles, The Living Lines Library, and The Pencil Test Depot.

There's so much more out there, covering not only animation, but character design, storyboarding, layout, etc., but part of the fun is tracking down these resources, so I'll leave you to find the rest. You should always be on the lookout for more reference both online and offline, and make sure your intake is balanced. Going outside of your comfort zone may provide that one insight or edge you need to land that job!

Happy drawing!

u/Buck_Thorn · 2 pointsr/mildlyinteresting

EVERYBODY sucks at drawing until they practice. The technical part can be learned. The art part comes more in knowing what to draw.

Get yourself a copy of this book, and work the exercises. You will draw.

u/honma-ni · 2 pointsr/ArtistLounge

The colors are really nice, but, going forward, it may be worth doing some anatomical sketches on the side. Any art instructor worth their salt will point out that photos often lie when it comes to lighting, form, color, etc. (Think about the last time you tried to snap a pic of an awesome sunset!) That's why, if you do work from photos, it is so helpful to work from life as often as possible.

Not sure if this will help, but I'm finally getting around to reading an old copy of The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study. Kimon Nicolaides has broken down drawing into a self-directed study course that will allow you to strengthen your drawing skills on your own schedule!

u/TRK27 · 2 pointsr/IWantToLearn

There are two main approaches to learning to draw, and the introductory drawing courses I remember taking in art school typically combined both of them.

The first deals with formal elements and constructing images out of them - lines, boxes, 3d shapes, linear perspective, etc. This is the sort of stuff you'll get from /r/ArtFundamentals and similar online guides.

The second is more concerned with experience and observation. This is more about learning to look than it is learning to draw. Gesture drawings, blind contour drawings, form-mass drawings, and similar exercises. This approach was first and best laid out by Kimon Nicolaïdes in his 1941 The Natural Way to Draw and has been very influential in art teaching. It's also the approach you'll see in the very popular Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, although that book is basically Nicolaïdes warmed over with some questionable science overlaid on it.

Both are important - they're both approaches to the same thing, but one more or less bottom-up and the other one top-down. But most importantly, learning to draw - like any skill - is about iteration. Don't be too concerned about results at first, just keep doing it and get the habit down.

u/attackedbyrats · 2 pointsr/Art

The Natural Way to Draw has excellent exercises and is designed to mirror a rigorous drawing course. You can go your own speed and IMO it's really the best DIY for improving skills.

u/jtmengel · 2 pointsr/Overwatch

That's solid for 12 man, congratulate him. And if you are thinking about encouraging this but don't know how, maybe consider getting him some books to study if he wants to be harcore.

...Now, you draw one so we can power rank your skills.

u/LanguageDelights · 2 pointsr/doodles

The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study

Cheap but difficult. And rewarding. Worth looking up threads of people following it

u/konstatierung · 2 pointsr/Metal

This book was assigned for drawing classes when I was in college. Lots of the exercises sound kind of batty, and they often demand long drawing sessions. But I think it's supposed to get you to understand the spatial aspects of figures super well.

u/el_callado · 1 pointr/Art

The natural way to draw, Kimon Nicolaides

Has schedules and everything, your very own art course in a book!

u/ninjaskeet · 1 pointr/learnart

Don't be sorry - it was very interesting for me. :)

I'm considering looking in to this book instead, as there is a lot I'm unimpressed with in the current book.

I think I'm going to spend another week or so practicing from this book and maybe continuing a little bit on the previous book and if I continue to see almost no progress, I'll message you with what I have. It's sometimes very discouraging because I'm basically the furthest-removed one can be from an artistic background and it means a lot to get off the ground with this. Again - I want to thank you for the in-depth advice. :D

u/GetsEclectic · 1 pointr/learnart

Check out The Natural Way to Draw, the early exercises are very similar to The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, minus the left brain/right brain mumbo jumbo, and it has enough further exercises to keep you busy for your entire artistic career. I think Nicolaides does a better job of explaining the right way to approach the exercises as well.

He mentions in the introduction that if you practice three hours a day, five days a week, you should get through the book in about a year. I don't know many people that are willing to devote that much time to drawing, but it gives you an idea of how much material there is, and how important it is to just do it over and over, without spending a lot of time worrying if the results look 'good' or not.

'Lose your first 100 games of Go as fast as you can', is a proverb that comes to mind. Your first 100+ drawings will not be good, no one's are.

u/nazgool · 1 pointr/animationcareer

Other than that, just draw anywhere, everywhere, anything, and everything. Try to fill up a sketchbook a week. Work on gestures, form, etc.
I'd even suggest trying to do gestures and quick sketches with your other hand. Some of my best sketches came out of my opposite hand.

Look into workshops in your area. Depending on where you are, often the Community Colleges or local art schools will offer weekend workshops.

u/MyaloMark · 1 pointr/pics

Very nice! BTW, the process is actually called, "gesture drawing" and was developed by a guy called Nicoliades who wrote the definitive book, "The Natural Way to Draw". It's the drawing method taught at the Rhode Island School of Design. (0r was when I attended way back in the seventies.)

u/seanmillsartist · 1 pointr/ArtistLounge

I haven't used it myself, but this sub might be useful:

If you are used to University level critiques, I think they are hard to find outside of the actual University classes.

But, if you need deadlines and structure, THE NATURAL WAY TO DRAW is a great resource. I feel like it changed my life.

u/good_ole_uniboob · 1 pointr/pics

I'd like to add this thread on conceptart for inspiration. Watch someone go from this to this.

Also, The Natural Way to Draw goes hand in hand with Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, really. Anyone who seriously wants to learn how to draw should get this, because it's basically a coursebook and it will put you through the ringer. It sets you up to draw for hours a day and you don't get your eraser back until later lessons.

u/patwaldron · 1 pointr/self


My favorite book is The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides. Extremely intelligent book on drawing. Great for an intellectual introvert.

If you like forums, take your choice, actually there are many forums at wetcanvas... it looks like there are two here, open critique or structured...

u/whats_going · 1 pointr/self


Most artists rehash their work again and again. It's the baby steps approach. Draw the same thing everyday, it'll get better.

I have posted only finished art, I'll PM you the link.

Once I post more of the evolution of this project, I can share the link here.

Here's a rule to follow from Kimon Nicolaides author of the Natural Way To Draw. Draw half a page everyday.

He give more directions but that will do it. You'll see incredible progress quickly. My contribution to the daily drawing is draw the same things differently everyday.

u/mt0711 · 1 pointr/learnart

A person (including you) shouldn't judge your initial efforts and exercises in art any more than they would judge the worth of a mathematician on the practice problems in his old algebra textbook.

That being said, don't let your perceived lack of ability keep you from tackling projects you're interested in because you feel you need more practice first. Keep practicing but don't be afraid to say what you want for fear of technical ability.

Some books:

The Natural Way to Draw

The Art Spirit

Art and Fear

u/bearwithchainsaw · 1 pointr/Art

I would like to suggest a book for her. It explains the concept of using the physical act of drawing to see. Its an excellent book, and the book my college professor teaches directly from. It will literally teach her how to draw like the Greats, and teach her a college level course ;D