I thought my art skills were good enough. My drawings were well received by others. Why mess with a good thing?

Well I wanted to be better. No, I wanted to be one of the best. I wanted to be up in the ranks with my idols of art. I’m not getting any younger. So I started drawing every day. My goal was to find areas where I could improve.

The drawings were looking good, but was I really getting the features in the right spots? I began taking photos of my sketches with a 50mm lens and then putting the sketch over my photo reference to see how close they were. I was surprised to see how off I was. Eyes were too big. Noses too low. Mouths too narrow. All sorts of problems became apparent.

So I kept drawing. I spent more time eyeballing my subject matter and looking for feature relationships. I studied my atelier books by Juliette Aristides and my drawing books by Andrew Loomis. I watched my videos of Cesar Santos drawing and painting his wife’s portrait.

One night I finished drawing my sketch guides of a little girl and snapped a quick picture. I pulled it into Photoshop, dropped the opacity a bit, and scaled it down until it was the same size as my actual photo. I was quite amazed at how my sketch looked almost like a tracing of the photo. All the features were in the right spots and were the right size.

My drawing skills had improved immensely over the past month.

By Cody Deegan

Cody Deegan is a life-long artist versed in drawing, painting, sculpting, and design. He studied filmmaking and character animation at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles as well as figurative oil painting at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle.

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