Think for a moment about the timeline of nature. Imagine any natural process – seed growth, blooming flowers, decomposition. Do they happen quickly?
Imagine a colorful autumn leaf floating down from its branch and settling in with its siblings on the ground. I like to imagine that this leaf is not in any sort of rush to decompose; it enjoys its time together with family, patiently waiting for the insects to help them move gracefully into their next phase of life. The leaf knows it will fall apart eventually and be able to nourish new forms of life. It does not feel like a “failure” for taking its time.
Imagine a flower, opening in the morning, not worried or stressed about whether a pollinator will come; it patiently, beautifully, waits. It cannot hurry up, cannot rush the process. If a pollinator doesn’t come, the flower doesn’t get upset with itself for not being “attractive” or “inviting” enough; it “sleeps” through the night and tries again in the morning.
Apply nature’s slow pace to your work.
As we draw, we too can patiently wait for the layers of color and tone to start to reflect the form.
The “secret” to creating a 3D object on a 2D surface is slowing yourself down and building layers of tone from dark to light. All values 1-9 need to be present for an object to jump off the page. Surrender to the process of building layer after layer.
There is always an ugly stage. KEEP GOING!
Sometimes we can get frustrated after only a couple of layers because our work isn’t yet reflecting nature’s beauty. If we practice patience, we can persevere through the “awkward” stage into full, saturated color and realistic form. A tree creates itself one branch, one root, one leaf at a time.
Not finished? Still worth starting!
Have patience with yourself. If you don’t finish your drawing, it’s still worth doing! You can always come back later and reference a photograph, or even finish it next time your specimen’s season arrives! If you are unhappy with your first drawing, have patience with the learning process and trust that practice will help you improve. If you develop a practice of drawing every day, you’ll be able to clearly see improvement not only in your art, but also in your attitude.
The good news is… you can only get BETTER!
We have never taught anyone who has gotten worse with patience and practice.
Try creative ways to keep yourself from rushing in with pencil before your paper is completely dry! We like to work on other parts of our drawings, take a break to stretch, and practice fundamental skills from Botanical Basics.