View Full Version : Fun With a Pencil -- Am I practicing it right?

12 December 2011, 10:00 AM
Hi, I'm a beginner (stick-figure level) who has done a few attempts in the past to get into drawing, only to steam out on each one. The most recent of these was on this very book. Partway through however, I realized that I was being very sloppy, so I decided to go back and practice more thoroughly.

Current attempt (

This time, I started off by getting the Blook Ball down. Then, I transitioned to copying the examples (making sure to go through each construction step) as best as possible. I decided not to do any original drawings because the ones I did in my last attempt were so sloppy, that I felt I wasn't gaining anything from doing them.

A few of these attempts took me about an hour, as it was challenging to get the lines right. I also had difficulty with a couple of the faces, and had to redo them before I was satisfied.

For now, I have a few questions related to how I'm practicing.

At what pace should I be going through the book as a beginner? Should I be focusing on each page as hard as possible, or should I go a little quicker and just grasp the general concepts? And what do I do about the denser pages (for example, the ones jam-packed with facial emotions [pages 25-27])?

Should I set aside separate exercises to practice my technical skill?? I read through the sticky topics in this forum, and I remember reading that the ability to copy is a fundamental skill. As it stands, my technical skill is sub-par.

How much should I be learning from each individual drawing?
So far, I've learned what the book has taught about using the Blook ball to align the face. I've also made a few personal observations about how the nose and the chin are lined up, how small wrinkles/hair can be placed perpendicularly along construction lines, and how Loomis uses line weight to delineate features (mouth, nose holes, wrinkles, etc.). Are these observations enough?

12 December 2011, 05:30 AM
General technical accuracy in copying what you see is a separate matter from learning about structure such as anatomy/figure.

You can practice your eye-to-hand coordination and technical accuracy in many other ways--copying various drawings, paintings, photos, still life...etc. It doesn't necessarily have to be from examples in instructional books.

Instructional books are all about teaching you structure and theory, so you can certainly read on through these types of books without having to faithfully copy every example shown--that would be overdoing it and missing the point of the lessons. Read the text and look at the images and UNDERSTAND what is being taught--that's more important than slavishly copying the examples but never really understanding WHAT is actually being taught.

But when it comes to really basic books such as Fun With A Pencil, where the lessons clearly show steps of a drawing, and then ask you to attempt them yourself--that's when you should follow the lessons and actually do as you're told by the lesson.

12 December 2011, 06:33 AM
Ah, I really did miss the point. Thank you very much!

12 December 2011, 01:52 AM
Sorry If its a bit late AsianBorat but I have just finnished that first bit just before in Fun with the Pencil and thought it might be useful to show you how I at least tried to approach the exercise in terms of application. Was really a lot of fun!

Hope its helpful!

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12 December 2011, 01:52 AM
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