About a year ago I stumbled onto an article about the Charles Bargue Drawing Course, a kind of do-it-yourself "Atelier" course. Since my ultimate goal is to be the best artist I can be, and since I am not going to France to join a real atelier any time soon, I immediately shelled out $95.00 for the book. Considering the tuition at a real atelier school, this seemed to me a bargain. The book arrived, and of course I was delighted. Beautiful drawings, wonderful paintings - and the fear that I could never draw that well.
The upside: no model fees, no time limits, no annoying classmates. The downside: no critiques, no interactive advice. And perhaps the biggest downside of all, no one to push me to get it done. It has proven all to easy to plop down on the couch instead and watch an all day marathon of "Miami Ink." I also tend to agonize over my drawings. It has to be perfect. It has to match the example exactly. Well, who cares? That is the point of practice, isn't it? To work to be better each time, to put in the work and hopefully get some results.
My martial arts instructor tells us quite often that the secret to attaining a black belt is one thing: sweat. There are no mystical techniques or shadowy secrets. I think the same thing is true of drawing. Sure, there are people who are naturally talented, but for most of us it is one thing: sweat. My fear of not being able to draw well is the same fear I face in martial arts. Spinning sole kick? No! I can't! But you keep working, and working, and one day - seemingly out of nowhere - you can. Keep working, keep sweating, keep believing. And never forget the reason you are doing it, for the love of the game.