When you learn to see like an artist it's like you've developed a super power.
While you'll never be able to "leap tall buildings in a single bound", you do acquire another of Superman's super powers.
You develop X-ray vision.
I'll show you the value of this skill in just a minute.
But first, let me tell you why you should want this artist's version of a super power.
Because when you learn to see like an artist, you are able to see beneath the surface of everything you draw or paint.
And that means you've learned to make art much more simply.
You've learned to begin every drawing or painting with a few simple shapes first.
And you already know the simple shapes I'm talking about.
Ellipses, circles, rectangles, triangles. Cylinders, spheres, box shapes, cones.
These are the basic building blocks of almost every subject you'll draw or paint. And you want the skill to see them, because…
Too often your mind makes art harder than it needs to be.
Your mind wants you to focus on all the tiny details in your subject.
That's crazy, because this is before it let's you establish your subject's correct shape and proportions.
Then you get part way through your drawing or painting and wonder why it doesn't look quite right.
It's up to you to train yourself to see like an artist.
No matter what your subject is.
If you were going to draw or paint your spouse's portrait, you would
start the head as a simple egg shape sitting on a cylinder (her neck).
If you were painting your pet bear, you might start with a circle for its head and a box shape for its muzzle.
This is what I call seeing like an artist, and it helps you in a number of ways.
Suppose you wanted to draw or paint this nuthatch.
Like everything you do you would look for the simple shapes in its body.
Doing this has other benefits beyond getting everything the right size and in the right place.
Try to understand how light and shadow appear on these simple shapes.
In this case the nuthatch's body is kind of an egg shape, and its head is like half a sphere stuck to it.
Learning how light and shadow appear on an egg shape and a sphere allows you to change light and shadow at will.
Doing that not only builds your drawing skills.
It builds your confidence and gives you more freedom to use your imagination and creativity.
So when you have a photograph that doesn't show your nuthatch the way you'd like, you can confidently change it.
You can add light or shadow to areas where there isn't enough. Whether you are drawing or painting.
This is one of those tiny steps that will teach you to see like an artist. So you can begin to release more of your creativity.
And gain the confidence to find your own voice in your art.
Founder of BeginningArtist.com
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernard Shaw)
P.S. Start simply, see shapes like an artist. Then get those shapes the right size and in the right place.
If you do that, you are already fifty percent of the way to successful art.
This may all seem very simple, but it is one the most crucial basic lessons for beginning artists.
It's much like learning to swim. It determines whether you remain in the kiddy pool or can go in the pool with the grownups.
That's why I emphasize these crucial lessons in my Mastering Proportion and Learning to Draw course.
I want you to be able to swim with the adults.
If that is your goal also, you can learn more about these lessons by clicking here.