Archive for the ‘lesson’ Category

“You’re frustrated because you keep waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds.”

― Steve Maraboli


“You learn something valuable from all of the significant events and people, but you never touch your true potential until you challenge yourself to go beyond imposed limitations.”

― Roy T. Bennett

“A lot of the conflict you have in your life exists simply because you’re not living in alignment; you’re not be being true to yourself.”

― Steve Maraboli

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

– Paulo Coelho


Here’s a great quote about the three P’s of success: patience, persistence and perspiration, by the legendary self-help author Napoleon Hill. It’s a fantastic quote that I try to live by.

I’d like to add that in following this philosophy, to never forget the ‘perspiration’ part. This is the part that can sometimes be forgotten. Yes, you’ll have to work for what you want, whatever that may be.

“There is no elevator to success, you’ll have to take the stairs.”



Here’s a list I found that pretty much sums it up. I would also add to the list: ‘The inability to adapt’ as another one. In my opinion, an artist has to be able to adapt and go with the flow because trends and things change all the time.  For example, if all you do is abstract art, what are you going to do if people stop buying that style? You’ll be a starving artist for sure.

This is why I hold Pablo Picasso to such a high regard. He explored and could do just about any style. He could go from wild abstract to realism at a drop of a hat. He was a master adaptor.

If you’re an artist, I think this list will help you in making better decisions for your career. I know I have to work on number 10 on this list, I need to learn that I can’t do everything and to take things day by day and a step at a time.

Anyway, paint on.

No, this isn’t the title of the latest horror movie coming from Netflix. This is a lesson or exercise to get your brain trained to instinctively know where shadows fall when you’re drawing people or things from memory and you have no model for reference to look at.  As simple as it may seem, knowing where a shadow should be in your painting or drawing can sometimes be a difficult thing if you’re aiming for realism.

This exercise was taught to me by an older and wiser artist I once knew and it has been very valuable in my progression as an artist.

The first thing you do is you get a newspaper, it can be any old newspaper you have lying around, and look for a good picture of a person with shadows falling on the face or body.  Example 1 is a good picture of a man’s face with a shadow. See example 1 below:

Example 1


In this example, you can see that the shadow falls on the right side of his face, or facing him and looking at him, it would be our left hand side.

Next, you take a pencil and just shade in over exactly where ever you see a shadow on his face.  It doesn’t have to be perfect but make sure to get the mental image of where the shadow falls.  You can even shade in the shadow that falls on his shirt. See example 2 below:

Example 2:

face 2

Once you are finished with this picture, you can look through the rest of the newspaper and find other faces and bodies or even objects to shade in over the shadows with your pencil.  You can repeat this exercise as many times as you like. Always take mental note of the shapes and where the shadows fall. The more you do it the better you will become in placing shadows in your drawings and paintings.

I know this may seem boring to an artist. “What’s the point?” you may ask. Well, what happens over time from doing this exercise is that you will instantly know, for example, when drawing a face out of memory, where the shadows would be without having to look at pictures to help you.

If you’ve ever played a sport or trained in martial arts, they would call this instinct  “muscle memory.”  For example, if you’re trained in boxing, when someone throws a right hand punch at you, you instinctively know how to step out of the way of the punch and counter with a punch of your own. But when you’re first learning how to box, you would break down the steps: “Okay when he punches, I move this way”….etc, etc. You’ll start slow and make many mistakes in the process. But from practicing the steps over and over again over time,  you get to the point where when someone throws a punch. BOOM. You react and counter without even thinking. In a split second you know what to do and your body already acted. This is muscle memory.

The same thing happens over time with drawing. After, breaking down the steps of where shadows fall on faces and objects, and practicing this over and over again, it can also become muscle memory and your brain and hands know exactly where to place your shadows in your drawings. So when you see or draw a face, your brain knows and shades in where the shadow would be without even thinking. Your hand just reacts in seconds.

Right now, I’m illustrating a graphic novel and most of the drawings are coming straight from my head without looking at any references for help. So this has helped me immensely in knowing where the shadows would be when I draw people.  Try this exercise and you will see your own skills improve.