Yes! You Can Draw! Reconnect With Your Creative Self | Amandine Thomas | Skillshare

Yes! You Can Draw! Reconnect With Your Creative Self

Amandine Thomas, Award-winning illustrator

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8 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:20
    • 2. Class Project

      1:59
    • 3. Let's Break Bad Habits

      4:22
    • 4. Let's Tame Our Lines

      4:42
    • 5. Let's Trust Our Hand

      4:15
    • 6. Let's Train Our Memory

      4:19
    • 7. Let's Find Our Own Style

      3:23
    • 8. Where To From Here?

      1:46
193 students are watching this class

About This Class

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Reconnect with your creative potential and boost your self-confidence, with a series of fun drawing exercises taught by award-winning illustrator Amandine Thomas!

So, you loved to draw as a kid, but have since become self-conscious? Follow Amandine as she takes you through four easy drawing exercises, designed to help you reconnect with your creative, imaginative, fearless younger self!

In this class, you’ll not only loosen-up and have fun (just like when you were a kid), but you will also learn how to:

  • Go back to basics, with helpful tips you can apply to your own drawing practice
  • Stop feeling self-conscious, by redefining what makes a “good drawing”
  • Identify your strengths and use them to develop your own personal style

Throughout the class, you will be following Amandine’s guidelines to create a series of expressive self-portraits, using the technique of your choice.

So, whether you are a complete beginner looking to unlock your artistic potential, or an experienced illustrator keen to keep that creative spark alive, grab your favourite drawing tools and dive in!

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi everyone. I'm Amandine Thomas. When I was four years old, I announced to my entire family that I was going to become a children's book Illustrator. I grew up writing all these little stories that I illustrated and then compiled into these really crooked little booklets. The truth is, if we fast forward to present day, not much has actually changed. I'm now a professional illustrator and my children's book have won multiple awards. My work has also appeared on branding, in magazines, on packaging. But for all this, I never really lost touch with my four-year-old self. That's why I decided to start teaching drawing workshops to help people reconnect with their own imaginative, creative, fearless younger self. The one that used to draw princesses or firetrucks all the time. Because somewhere between then and now, many people become self-conscious about drawing. They convince themselves that they lack the skill, the imagination, the creativity to keep drawing. So if that sounds like you, then you're in the right place. For the project, I'll take you through a series of really fun, really easy drawing exercises designed to help you go back to basics. That hopefully will be the starting point of a more regular during practice for you. In class, we're going to let go of what we think makes a good drawing. We won't worry about daunting concepts like proportion or perspective and instead we'll singly focus on expressing yourself. Well, of course picking up a few helpful tips along the way. For example, I'll teach you how to break out of bad habits or how to improve your spatial awareness, and of course how to be more positive about your own work. Because the class really is for everyone. You don't need any prior skills to enjoy it. Whether you're a complete beginner and you're looking for an artistic outlet or your professional Illustrator wanting to keep that creative spark alive. The class will help you develop or refine your own personal style by giving you clear insights into what makes your drawings unique. So by the end of the class, you will not only feel more confident about your creative potential, but you'll also be able to identify what your own individual style could be. Then apply these findings into your own work. So let's get started. 2. Class Project: Hi, again. Are you ready to hear about the class project? Here is what we'll be doing. In the following lessons, I will be taking you for a series of drawing exercises, each with a twist. Based on these, you will create four expressive self portraits. Your first self portrait will be drawn with the hand you are not usually comfortable using. Your second one will be drawn without lifting your hand from the page. Your third one will be drawn without looking down at the page. The last one will be drawn with your eyes closed. Now, that might seem crazy but these constraints are actually extremely useful. First of all, they'll help you loosen up a little bit, which is key when drawing and they'll also highlight some very important drawing principles. Of course, they will definitely challenge your conception of what makes a good drawing on account of just how ridiculous some of your portraits will look. But remember that's the point. We're here to overcome these feelings of embarrassment. How are we going to achieve all that? In each lesson, I'll explain the exercise in detail and why it's useful. I'll give you the guidelines for each self portrait. I'll demonstrate each exercise and I'll share some tips to help you make the most of it. To complete your project, you will need anything that allows you to see your face like a mirror, a selfie camera or alternatively, a few different pictures of your face. Whatever drawing tools feel most comfortable to you. For example, I will be using a role of butcher paper, black and colored markers, and felt pens but no eraser. Once you have completed your project and have all four self-portraits, go ahead and upload them to the your project section. I also encourage you to comment on your fellow students artwork because you might be able to see qualities in their portraits that they might have overlooked and vice versa. See you in your first lesson. 3. Let's Break Bad Habits: Welcome to the first lesson. We're going to learn how to get rid of bad habits and how to be more spontaneous when drawing. Here are the guidelines for the first exercise. You're going to draw a self portrait with the hand you're not usually comfortable using. You can repeat the exercise as many times as you want, and then we're going to take a good look at your drawing, and think about the qualities it holds. What makes this drawing a good drawing? Now, you might be wondering, "Why are we doing this?" Basically this exercise is going to help you get rid of any creative clutches you might have picked up along the way. By creative clutches I mean in conscious little habits. For example, you might use a series of small strokes instead of one uninterrupted line. Or you rely on shading to hide little flows. Or maybe you over embellish, you add too many details often to divert attention from a mistake, which is my very own worst clutch. The problem with these habits, is that they keep us from addressing the underlying issues we're trying to hide. The little flows, a little mistakes in securities which are sweep them all under the rug and we lose the opportunity to overcome them. The other thing is that some of these clutches stifle our movements, and they keep us from being truly spontaneous when drawing. But when we use our non-dominant hand, we lose the control or the precision that's needed to use this little tricks. We just have to go for it normal clutches. For this exercise, I'll be using simple butcher paper and a black fine liner. But really, the tools don't matter that much. You will improve no matter what you use. Feel free to use your own favorite tools except if it's an eraser. Remember, we want something raw instantaneous here. Plus often knowing that you can use an eraser is a clutch in itself, so buy your eraser. Let's get started. Feel free to draw at the same time as me or watch the video first, then complete the exercise. Once you're ready, start by taking a good long look at your face, noticing any details you want to include in your portraits. Try not to limit or restraining movements, even if this feels unfamiliar. Keep your hand flowing from one stroke to another. Really enjoy that freedom, that energy, that spontaneity. This is what drawing as a kid felt like. Who cares if the result looks ridiculous. Now as you slowly become more comfortable with the constraint, you might start to revert to your previous habits, but try to stay aware of what your hand is doing. If you feel yourself going right back to your old clutches, consciously challenge yourself to stop, even if it feels uncomfortable. You can repeat this exercise as many times as you want, really trying each time to add more details to be more precise. One of my friends actually found these techniques so liberating, that she started to draw with her left hand. The clumsiness that came with it became part of her own style. Once you've completed the exercise, take some time to reflect what makes this drawing a good drawing. Of course it will have plenty of flaws, but tried to ignore them as they come to your mind. Focus instead on the positives. For example, pay attention to your strokes. How would you describe them? What positive emotion do they remind you of? What qualities as this portrait hold that your usual drawings don't? Once you finished your portrait and you've identified a few qualities, remember to upload it to the project section of the class. I'd love to take a look myself and maybe give you some feedback. Remember to look at other people's work too. What makes their drawing, a good drawing? Share an insight with each other. You might be surprised by what other people see in your work. Before we move on to the next lesson, let's recap what we learned. You spotted some of your creative clutches. You injected most spontaneity for an energy in your drawings. You identified good qualities in each of your drawing and you learned how to describe them. I will see you in the next lesson where we will learn how to tame our lines with a new sketching exercise. See you there. 4. Let's Tame Our Lines: Hi, again. This is the second lesson and we will look at timing our lines. This will be helpful not only because it will improve your spatial awareness, but also because it will make your drawings much more lifelike and expressive. Plus remember as kids, we all started with drawing lines and shapes. Everything else came much later. For the second exercise, you will draw a portrait without lifting your hand from the page. The drawing must be done in one single line. You can repeat as many times as you want, and then we'll take a good look at your drawing and think about the qualities it holds. What makes it good? Now, why do we need to time our lines? How will this exercise help? First of all, line drawing is really great technique. Imagine that your eye is tracing the outline of your subject, and your hand is simply recording it. It's a great way to capture really expressive, really quick snapshot of your subject. Plus, as your eye is tracing these lines, you become more aware of the way your hand is moving across the page, especially if you have to draw in one single stroke. It forces you to ask yourself, where you start your portrait? With the hair? The outline of the face? If you can't lift your hand from the paper, how will your stroke actually travel from one eye to the other? Or from one ear to the nose? How will you make sure that you don't forget or neglect any details along the way. Paying attention to these micro-decisions which are usually made unconsciously, is not only great to make you more confident with line-drawing, but it will also really help with the overall composition of your image. For example, one of my classic mistakes when I sketch, is to start in the center of the page, and then progress outward, only to realize that my subject won't fit. Taking time to ask myself, where do I start? How much space do I need? What am I actually going to draw? Is really helpful to avoid these issues. Are you ready to give it a go? Remember, you can use any tools you want, except for an eraser. We want the drawings to be done in one uninterrupted line, and of course, if you stop to pick up your eraser, you'll have to lift your hand. Also, if you raise any part of your drawing, it won't be an uninterrupted line anymore. Now, you've got rid of the eraser, let's get started. Once again you can draw at the same time as me, or watch the video first. Before you start drawing, take another good look at your face. You probably already know that observation is absolutely key while sketching, and it will really help improve spatial awareness. Then, once you start, try to pace yourself, as it can be quite tempting to rush through this exercise. If you accidentally lift your pen, which can be quite an automatic gesture, don't worry about it and just start again, always taking your time, enjoying the flow of your line. Talking about flow, the previous exercise will actually help here, as the drawing must pretty much be done in one huge fluid stroke. Remember that free spontaneous feeling, and just like last time, you can draw as many portraits as you want, really trying with each iteration to challenge yourself a little bit further. For example, I know I tend to rush for this exercise. Because the fact that it needs to be drawn in one single stroke, gives me the illusion that I don't need to add as many details. My challenge, is to take my time and pay attention to details. Once you've completed the exercise, it's time to reflect. Remember to keep these negative thoughts at bay, we're not even going to entertain them. We're here to focus on the positive. What makes this drawing good. When you think about qualities to describe your portraits, try to focus on the overall expressivity rather than techniques. How would you describe the overall feel of your drawing? Does it give you a sense of strength or vulnerability, maybe brightness? After you've identified a few qualities in your drawing, remember to upload it to the project section and leave comments to your fellow students too. Don't be embarrassed, we're all in this together. It will be great insight. Let's recap what we've learned before moving on. You reconnected with line-drawing. You gained awareness of the way your hand moves across the paper, and you took a more thoughtful approach to drawing by asking yourself the right questions before you start. When you're ready, see you in the next lesson, where we will learn about trusting our hand with another drawing exercise. See you there. 5. Let's Trust Our Hand: Welcome to your third lesson. We will be looking at trusting our hand and this will not only improve your hand-eye coordination, but it will also make you way more confident. So, for the third exercise, you will draw a portrait without looking down at the page, repeat as many times as you want and then of course, take a look at your drawing and think about what makes it good. You might once again be wondering, why are we doing this? Well, remember in the previous exercise where I talked about how your hand is tracing where your eye is seeing, basically this exercise will strengthen that relationship further. The more you can trust your hand to do its thing while you're looking at your subject, the better. If you trust your hand, you will be better able to keep track of where it is on the paper, without having to look at it and as a result, you'll also be able to keep your eyes on your subject more and that is a very important skill. For example, when I'm sketching, I try to look up at my subjects the majority of the time and the reason is, if I don't do that, I tend to start drawing from memory. I think I know what a face looks like, so I forget to pay attention to what this face looks like and you'll hear me say it a thousand times, but observation is key. That means you need to be looking up at your subject, not down checking what your hand is doing. Okay, time to draw. I'll be using the same tools for this exercise, but you are free as always, to use whatever you want. Apart, of course, from an eraser. Remember you don't need that clutch anymore. As you start to draw, you will see that the skills we developed in the previous exercise will be really useful here. Instinctively knowing how much space you have on the page, understanding where your hand is traveling on the paper and working out the relationship between the different elements of your portrait, like the eyes, the nose, the mouth. All that becomes extremely useful once you can't look down at your drawing anymore. Once again, I encourage you to pace yourself while drawing, because this is a somewhat uncomfortable experience, we tend to want to be done with it and we rush through it. Of course, the main issue is that, if we pose too long without pen up, we might forget where our hand sits on the page. We think we know where we drew the eyes, but it turns out we are way off and we end up drawing the eyebrows on our chin. So I encourage you to use this single stroke technique we learned in Lesson 2. That way, if you don't lift your pen, you will always know roughly where your hand is in relation to everything else on the page. If you decide to do the exercise several times, which I recommend, try to challenge yourself to be more and more precise with each iteration. For example, my portraits are often missing small details, so I'll work on that. Now the truth is, your drawings are probably going to look ridiculous, but embrace that silliness. Have fun with it, laugh at yourself. Remember, kid that used to just draw for fun not to produce something good, and that's why when it's time to reflect on your drawing, I encourage you to focus on what draws your attention first, not what makes it good or bad. For example, ask yourself, is it a particular feature that draw your eye in? Or is it a strong emotion or a feeling? Or is it a mood or a character? Once you've written a few IDs down, don't forget to upload your work to the project section and comment on your fellow students portraits too. Once again, I promise it really helps your work in a different light, when a complete stranger compliments it, even if your eyebrows on your chin. Okay, before moving on to the fourth lesson, here is what we learned here. You trust your hand, do its thing, you understand the relationship between your subject, your hand and the page better, and you learn to pay more attention to what you see. Now when you're ready, let's move onto the fourth lesson, where we'll learn to train our memory. See you there. 6. Let's Train Our Memory: Welcome to your fourth lesson. This time we'll be looking at training our memory using our observation skills. Because yes, observing is the first step to remembering. In the fourth exercise, you will draw a portrait with your eyes closed, repeat as many times as you want, then of course, take a good look at your drawing and think about the qualities it holds. How is this going to help? You already know that observation is really important to develop a whole lot of useful skills like your hand-eye coordination or your spatial awareness. We really need to train ourselves to become more observant. Because as I mentioned in the previous lesson, we do have the tendency to draw what we think things look like rather than what they actually look like. That's why we need to train our memory to retain what we have observed. There are many situations in which this is really useful. For example, I sketch a lot while on holidays. I might be at the thoracic cafes, sketching someone, and then boom, they get up and they leave. Now, if I haven't spent time first observing them and then committing these observations to my memory, then am stuck. This exercise is great to force you to spend time observing your subject first and then to commit these details to your memory. You know by now which tools I will be using. But please once again use whatever you'd like for this exercise. Now, obviously, if you ignored me the previous free times, now is the time to listen. Do take at least 30 seconds to observe your own face. Try and identify the details that make you unique. Is it that small crease between your eyes? Or maybe your dimples? What is the actual shape of your glasses? Or do the corners of your lips tend to go up or down. Now, this exercise is the perfect one to apply all the tricks we've learned before. Start by asking yourself where you will start your drawing, what details you will focus on and where on the page you will situate your portrait. Then lay your movement flow. Enjoy that freedom, that unrestricted movement. The fun of simply drawing. Just like when you were a kid. If you are worried that you might get lost in the page with your eyes closed, use one big stroke and don't lift your pen if you can avoid it. Finally, trust your hand to translate on paper what your eyes have noticed. Don't rush, and take the time to draw all the small details you have observed. Once again, you can repeat the exercise as many times as you'd like. Focusing each time on adding more elements. You missed that dimple or your eyelashes, try to remember adding them next time. Now, you know the drill. It's time to reflect on your drawings. Try to focus on your best qualities based on what you've identified so far. For example, ask yourself, are my drawings good? Because my strokes are often bold, delicate, clean? Are my drawings good because they convey a sense of strength, or vulnerability, or liveliness? Are my drawings good because I know how to emphasize feature and emotion or mood? Remember to upload your portraits in the project section. So the rest of us can also comment on what we like about it. Once again, it will give you great insight into your own style, even if you don't think you have one yet. For example, when I was a student, my teachers used to often comment on the liveliness to movement, the energy in my drawings. So I learned to emphasize that. I identified what made my drawings unique and I ran with it. Before we move on to the last part of this class, here is what we learned in this lesson. You learned to spend time observing your subject and committing details to your memory. You use techniques from previous lessons to complete your portrait. You started to identify your own strength by figuring out what is good about your drawings. Once you're ready, let's move on to the last part of this class, where we will recap everything we've seen in the previous lessons, and then will see how you can develop your own personal style. See you then. 7. Let's Find Our Own Style: Hi again. Good news. Normal crazy exercises. You can go back to drawing however you like. That being said, I do encourage you to take everything you've learned for these past lessons and apply it to your regular drawing practice. For example, don't forget that four-year-old kid inside of you, the one that used to draw just for fun. Don't put so much pressure on producing good work and instead focus on enjoying yourself. You will progress much faster that way, I promise. You don't trust yourself to draw a straight line to save your life. Be bold and push yourself to overcome that challenge. Your drawings will be a lot more expressive and life-like once you allow yourself to make mistakes. You feel like you can't ever accurately draw what you want. Use simple strokes to effectively train your hand in tracing what your eyes see, and remember, a little bit of planning goes a long way. You spend most of your time with your nose almost touching your page. Remember to look up, trust your hand to do its thing and focus on what you see. Remember to dedicate time for observation and to consciously commit details to your memory. You will be able to draw anywhere from a bustling street in Bangkok to a busy cafe in Paris. Finally, look back all the comments you've got about your work. Your own comments, mine, others, and ask yourself, what is the most common way you have described your own work? If you got feedback from other students, was it consistent? If you haven't got any feedback yet, remember to come back and check in a little while. Based on this, what qualities should you develop in your own practice? Once you have identified what it is that makes your drawings unique, it will be much easier to develop your own personal style, and trust me, I'm talking from experience here. My own personal styles truly emerged from a super regulars sketching practice. The more I did it, the more I was able to identify my strength, the more I was able to amplify what I was naturally good at. For example, I noticed that my sketches tended to be more accurate when I drew small. So I started to buy smaller sketchbooks and more precise tools like fine liners or calligraphic nibs. I also realized that I was better at line-drawing than anything else. I didn't do too well adding textures or shading, so I ran with that and perfected it in my sketches. Another big strength was the fact that I was able to draw really fast, so my sketches became these quick, lively, dynamic snapshots of what I saw, and you will find every single one of these elements in my illustration work, small details, busy images with a strong emphasis on clean and dynamic lines. I really hope that this class will be the starting point of your own journey towards finding your individual style. First by reconnecting with that childlike joy of drawing, then by letting go off your embarrassment, and finally by focusing on what makes you great. All right, I'll see you in the last video where I'll share my key takeaways for these class with free tips on how to improve your regular drawing practice. 8. Where To From Here?: Congrats, you've made it through the class. I've kept you from using your dominant hand. I forced you to draw in one single line, I've asked you to draw without looking down or with your eyes closed. I even forced you to get rid of your eraser and yet here you are. Well done you. How do we make sure that you keep up with the good work? How do you keep on using what you've learned in the lesson in your own drawing practice? Well, here are my top three tips for anyone who wants to stick with a fun, positive drawing practice and wants to keep touch with that childlike creativity. Number 1, buy drawing book and draw everything, everywhere. Your coffee cup, your houseplant, your cat. The more you do it, the better you'll get. Number 2, forget about the rules. Every drawing is good if you enjoyed doing it, identify your strength and focus on developing them rather than feeling defeated by your flaws. Number 3, never ever rip out a page of throw a drawing out, come back to it in a few hours, and it might actually hold qualities that you overlooked before. Congratulations again and thank you so much for taking this class with me, and embarking on that somewhat crazy journey. I hope that you never ever feel embarrassed by one of your drawings again. Please remember to upload your work to the project section. I can't wait to see what you came up with. If you want to see more from me, please feel free to check out my Instagram or my website. See you soon and happy drawing.