You can draw | How to get over your drawing challenges | Welcome to the new medium

Drawing challenges

There have been many subjects on the practical methods of drawing and how to get over the drawing phobia. One of the most famous author Betty Edwards wrote a best selling book on this subject ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ (1979). This has been the standard text for many teachers of art throughout many countries in the world and has been translated to many languages. The premise of the book attempts to train your brain to think about drawing such as edges and lines, negative space, relationships, light and shadows which are fundamental to drawing. Through proper training anyone can draw by applying some of the exercises in the book.

Since this book was published, we have come a long way in drawing and we have a new medium that allows us to practice drawing at such speeds and an ability to learn more rapidly and easily. This is entirely due to the ubiquitous nature of phones and tablets which most people have now access to. No longer is drawing confined to a select few, this much loved hobby is now available for anyone to try.


Your inner thoughts and challenges

This post will look into the ins and outs of drawing with this digital medium and will break away some of the myths regarding this new medium. Many people understandably have an aversion about drawing in any mediums and not just the digital medium. For example moving from pencil and paper to charcoal or color pastels or even moving from watercolors to oils. This is all natural and something I too have undergone in my journey of drawing and painting. Even artists you consider to be gifted can have a ‘phobia’ to step out of their comfort zones and try out new mediums.

When I started about eight years ago, I jumped into acrylic painting and kept my painting to this medium only and also with only small canvases about the size of A5. It was convenient for me to churn out one painting after another with relative ease as I was experimenting and tapping into my creativity. I also liked the fact that I could wash acrylics off easily unlike the mess of oil paintings. As you can guess, one can go on doing painting in this approach but deep inside, you know that you will eventually have to break into other mediums. This is of course, if you really wanted to expand your creative skills and take your learning process further.

When I first started painting with acrylics I was already comfortable with drawing with pencil and paper but did not get into the thick of things until I stumbled upon this medium. Perhaps it was because I understood how easily you can manipulate the medium and control the flow and strokes to create striking works of art. Many of these artworks that I did were from the imagination.

Waterfalls of Babylon


Like many hobbies, painting eventually took a backseat to other responsibilities in life and it was not until four years later that I took to drawing and painting again. This time, I dabbled in oil pastels and other colored pencils that I had purchased from the Michale’s craft shop but had been sitting on my shelf for a long time. That is the first step toward taking up drawing, which is to pick up something and just start doing. There is a famous saying by the great Chinese philosopher Confucius (550 BC)  ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with the (first) single step’. Many of us will have it in our minds that we will engage in an activity and although we dwell on this idea for a long time, some will never take the first step. I wanted to add that once I took the first step towards drawing with the pastel colors, I started doing more and more and gradually got better and better. I cannot tell you what this journey will look like for you, but it will surely be a path not trodden and a reward and satisfaction that is personal to each one of us.


Overcoming drawing pitfalls

My second tip to you, is that if you ever wanted to do something but could never get around to it, don’t hesitate or linger too much because you may have some regrets later on in life. Sometimes it’s our deep inner drive that makes us who we really are, you can be true to it or keep it repressed for many reasons.

Of course, one can go on picking up one activity after another just like a curious little child learning the world around them. If you find yourself doing this and dropping every activity, it is likely that you don’t give yourself a chance to improve and see the fruits of your labor. If you remember the Confucious saying earlier, you will see the sentence contains a ‘thousand miles’ which is apt to any undertaking in life, for example, caring for someone, fulfilling your dreams, helping others etc. The journey to self-improvement or learning new skills is limitless and that anyone who is passionate enough can take their new found skills to great heights if they so desire.

Understandably, it is not always easy to continue the path of perfecting your craft day in and day out. Frustration can creep in because you have not seen the fruits of your labor despite your tremendous and unrelenting efforts. Perhaps it is time to make a change and think outside the box. Remember that the journey towards success can come from having a mindset that is not growing, not tapping into other resources or perhaps doing it for the wrong reasons. 

Hopefully the above introduction to our psychological make up can help us to propel us in the right direction, where I elaborate on the new and effective methods to help you start drawing rapidly and with ease.

What is a medium?

If you always wanted to draw, you need not stick to pencil on paper, you have the phone or tablet right at your fingertips. All you need is a good app with helpful tutorials to get you going in this path.

I need the best tools!

This is a wrong misconception to think that you need the best tools to be a good artist. To be a genuinely good artist, you need to develop mastery of drawing techniques and tools. For example, give the same pencil and paper to a skilled artist and then to a beginner and ask them to make a drawing and you will get my point. This same methodology applies to drawing in the digital medium. You don’t judge an app by the amount of brushes and digital effects, you judge the app by it’s capability in producing the end result which are the drawings. You know the famous saying, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but you will be surprised that many people make premature decisions based on what they see without having fully tried it.

Your primary goal is to improve your drawing techniques

When it comes to drawing digitally, you should be least concerned about the tools that are available to you and focus on your ability in expanding your drawing skills and techniques in that medium. Don’t feel that you need to listen to other’s raving on about an application having all the tools, remember their goals will be different to yours. Judge only by the results of having used the app. For some who have tried different apps, you should not judge an app by it’s support for tools that you are familiar with. You should only judge by trying out the app and only through the artwork that you have created. In the same analogy, just because oils do not do the same thing as watercolor, you are not going to diss that medium. The digital medium is more powerful than anyone has ever contemplated and I talk about this in the next point.

Going beyond the digital medium

I cannot explain to you how we are living in an unprecedented time where we have a medium (digital) that will have many of the past great grand masters turning over in their graves. This is because the digital medium is seeing a rapid growth in tapping into the artistic talent of many folks around the world. However, it has not pulled the regular ‘traditional artists’ into this medium like the other mediums, ie. oils, watercolors, acrylics, charcoal, pastels etc. Majority of the talent pool are coming from people who are dabbling in software and drawing applications as opposed to people who are serious about creating art. This has enabled these crops of people to become more familiar with tools rather than expressing the true form of art and they will always advocate tools over creativity. However, many true artists will see through all of this.

Paintology has been designed to make anyone a great artist by focusing on improving on their drawing skills and techniques.

Stay on the path

If you are a beginner artist, don’t feel that the hundreds of brushes on an app is going to make you a better artist. You should slowly start learning to use the tools to push your techniques to become better in your drawing. This is why it is important that you have ample time to learn and practice so you become good at improving your techniques. As such, Paintology has over 100 free video tutorials to help you in this important quest.

Once past the first hurdle

You will know when you have passed the first hurdle of drawing when you are beginning to really enjoy yourself doing drawing. The rest of this journey is entirely up to you and how far you want to go!


Drawing made fun and easy


Drawing is now more ubiquitous than ever before due to the widespread availability of phones and tablets. Now anyone has the ability to draw whenever they want and however they want, there is no need to keep materials by your side.

Download the free Paintology app from the Google play store.

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