Practice Patience

Breathe. Think for a moment about the timeline of nature. Imagine a natural process: seed growth, blooming flowers, decomposition. Does it happen quickly? 

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. 

Attempt to apply that slow pace of nature 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. 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. 

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! (Have drawings that you’re not sure how to finish? Get the recording from our Finishing Techniques Zoom Workshop!) 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 that you can only get better! Wendy has never taught a student who has gotten worse with patience and practice. 

Stone Ridge Tomato from Hudson Valley Seed Company. Artist: Wendy Hollender


If patience were an art supply in our kit, we think it would be watercolor. 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.

Want more motivational tips? Get our newsletter delivered to your inbox, and check out more of Wendy’s Wisdom!

Suggested Products