Studying anatomy is good for learning the bones and muscles and knowing why us humans look the way we do, but as an artist who uses actual people to look at and draw from, what’s the point? For me it has been to assist in the challenge of drawing without any reference at all. I already feel confident enough in my skills that I can draw anything if I can see it. As I create work for an eventual art showing I will undoubtedly use reference material and live models so that I can create the best pieces that I can. But I also want to feel strong as an artist knowing that I can create good art from my head as well. This week in my free time I have been practicing drawing portraits with no reference, and I can say without a doubt that they have turned out absolutely terrible. It has been a humbling experience. Spending three hours on a piece and then throwing it away in disgust is not my norm. But this is the only way I know how to improve and get stronger at drawing.

This morning I had to take my son to the dentist, and while I was waiting I started drawing a new portrait on the iPad. I thought it started out good, but the more I worked on it, the more I could see I was having troubles in many areas. I was diligent and eventually concluded it, but I don’t think it turned out very good at all. But I do think it is a good starting point for me to look back at in a couple weeks and hopefully see that my drawings have improved over this one.

The iPad drawing app has a nifty video time-lapse feature that records as you draw. Check out my process if you’re interested:

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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