Start Your Art Journey Today
February 25, 2016 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Irshad Karim, creator of /r/ArtFundamentals on Reddit, has compiled a series of drawing lessons for free for all beginners and anyone looking to refresh their artistic skills.

After studying at Concept Art Design for six months Karim was interested in sharing his newfound knowledge and belief that drawing is a skill not an innate talent. His lessons start with a summary of the topic, breakdown of goals, and finally homework where he used to give personal feedback to posters. Currently Drawabox has a total of fifteen lessons but he strives to add more content as time goes on.
posted by chrono_rabbit (13 comments total) 200 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for this and for introducing /r/ArtFundamentals to me. I've always wished I could draw better, this looks like it will really help.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:48 PM on February 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

As someone who could never draw, it was a real revelation to me that learning how to see was just as important as skill with a pencil. I highly recommend Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:15 PM on February 25, 2016 [5 favorites]

Aw, this is great! Thanks for posting it!

I've never been able to draw (with the exception of the one time in high school math class that I drew a perfect picture of my left hand - otherwise it's just torture). I might actually do some of these!
posted by teponaztli at 8:43 PM on February 25, 2016

Thanks, odd bit of synchronicity as I was just putting 'Drawing on the Right side of the Brain' in my hold queue at the library. Perfect timing!
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:47 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Awesome! I really like the approach these lessons take. I'm not a fan of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" for various reasons. DrawABox looks more like my kind of art lessons.
posted by mmoncur at 12:07 AM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's super great of this guy to put up his lessons for free and to give people feedback!

That said, I looked at his portfolio, and you might want to take some of what he says with a grain of salt. His colors are great, but his rendering and anatomy skills could use some work.

For a similar education, I'd recommend checking out these two books: Loomis's Figure Drawing for What It's Worth (public domain PDF online; auto-downloads at link) and Scott Robertson's book on drawing objects and environments.
posted by glass origami robot at 12:38 AM on February 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

That said, I looked at his portfolio, and you might want to take some of what he says with a grain of salt. His colors are great, but his rendering and anatomy skills could use some work.

I dunno. He seems sufficiently advanced to me.
posted by jwhite1979 at 3:52 AM on February 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

One of my friends started doing this last week. I am happy to see that he is taking up a creative endeavour and gifted him a pile of pens.

I went to art college, so I am trying not to be judgy because I don't want to squash anyone's enthusiasm for learning. Drawing on the Right Side of Brain when taught as a class is amazingly effective. The class I took years ago before art college had everyone go from creaky contours to full value portraits in six weeks. So far it just seems my friend is filling up pages of "controlled lines" which makes me wonder, but the journey is always different :)
posted by Calzephyr at 5:49 AM on February 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Learning to draw skillfully encompasses a few concepts and the basics are all pretty easy to learn with sufficient motivation, practice and repetition; as follows:

1) fine motor skills, which any decent "drawing 101" class can teach to anyone with sufficient hand-eye coordination.

2) composition, which at its most fundamental is basic geometry, which can also be taught to anyone with a decent intuitive grasp of math (they often don't need the nitty gritty details or logic, just a basis in proportion and ratios and such).

3) color sense which is quite a bit more advanced and can be tricky if you don't see color well, or at all, but B&W graphical illustration and art is also a rich and nuanced genre for a reason.

Once you've got that down, then you get into all of the trickier fundamentals of perspective and balance and rhythm and leading lines and the whole Fibonacci Spiral / Golden Ratio / Grand Masters art history intellectual rabbithole and at that point some people can make the transition from being a fine and functional, albeit somewhat flat and/or mechanical illustrator to becoming a true artist who can evoke connection to the canvas/medium.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching the fundamentals, mechanics, and mathematics of skilled illustration and drawing, and seeing what comes next. I am reminded of the recent re-blossoming of Bloom County on Berke Breathed's Facebook page, and honestly flipping through his works and seeing at first hand the journey he's walked from passable comic illustrator to incredible artist in the 30 years he's been doing his strips is, frankly, informative.

At any rate, some of the discussion here kind of reminds me of that whole recent giant music thread where everyone rushed to opine about how wrong and bad the OP was, because reasons.

Also being judgmental about what is and isn't art can be a minefield. My fine arts degree mom told me long ago that my attempts at "art" as a teenager were "flat, boring and overly illustrative" which are all likely to be true, and furthermore that "you'll never make a living as an artist", which was probably also the case but you never know. It may also have simply been that I was going through a phase because I was at the time very inspired by the Art Nouveau period. Regardless I never once let her see my stuff after that and quit drawing altogether soon afterwards, despite doing quite well in art class.

I have, however, heavily leaned on the skills I learned in drawing, composition, color theory and design, many times throughout my career as an adult, so there's that.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:34 PM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

My first (and only) instruction in drawing was when Learn to Draw With Jon Gnagy was on TV... and that is how OLD I am. When I first saw Bob Ross, my first impression was "Jon Gnagy Wannabee".
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:06 PM on February 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I started going through these lessons last year. After never being able to draw anything, I'm impressed with how much incredible progress I've made! The secret is practice
posted by rebent at 8:39 PM on March 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

mmoncur or others, could you explain a little about the differences in approaches between "Right side" and drawabox, and why I might choose one or the other?

(as a beginning adult, or as a recommendation to my advanced but self-taught 11-year-old)
posted by spbmp at 7:41 PM on March 20, 2016

I haven't looked at "Right Side" in years, but here's a summary of why it didn't work for me:

1. It has lots of touchy-feely "get in touch with your creative side" language that didn't appeal to me. I want a technical process for drawing, not a pep talk.

2. The whole "Right Brain / Left Brain" thing has been thoroughly debunked but the book presents it as science fact.

3. There are constant references to using your "Mind's eye". I don't have one of those.

4. There's a big focus on portraits. I don't like to draw people, I prefer objects and animals. That's purely a personal preference.

Everyone else's mileage may vary.
posted by mmoncur at 9:57 PM on March 20, 2016

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