Drawing On the Art Community for Encouragement

One way to keep positive is to get involved on some level with other visual artists. ~ Alfred Muma

When I ran across this quote recently, I first thought about all the mixed-media and collage artists I know who are constantly sharing their work, their tips, and their enthusiasm with other artists via social media, blogs, and workshops. We are legion!

Nick's life drawing.

I think one of the reasons why our community is so social and helpful to each other is becauseat least from the Cloth Paper Scissors vantage pointwe're primarily made up of females. Guys, in my experience, just aren't as likely to share the same way.

Take my husband, for example. Nick creates his drawings in his basement studio, alone. He likes it that way, but he doesn't get much in the way of feedback. Of course I love his work, but if he needed advice on shading or pencil choice, I wouldn't really have a clue.

So we were both excited last fall when two of his pieces were selected for a group show. The even gave him some opportunities to mingle with other artists, ask questions, and just talk art.

Through this event he learned of a drop-in life drawing class at the local museum. Although Nick has had no instruction and very little experience with life-drawing, he wanted to learn and eagerly set off for his first session with a live model.

He returned home two hours later excited but also frustrated. Nick is used to meticulously drawing inanimate objects that stay put. But in these drop-in sessions, the model changed position every 20 minutes or so. Nick was just warming up when the model was done.

He loved the class, but if he was going to create more complete drawings he was going to have to learn some figure-drawing shortcuts fast. I suggested he ask his classmates or the leader (this was a workshop without an instructor) for help. But no. His shynessand guy-nessprevented him from doing that.

So I did the next best thing. I brought home some back issues of Drawing magazine that focused on basic figure drawing skills. This did the trick. For Nick, Drawing not only gave him the basic information he was lacking, but reading the viewpoints of different artists gave him that sense of community and encouragement he needed.

I signed him up for a subscription to Drawing, and now he devours each issue, learning about his craft and the community of artists he belongs to.

P.S. What does your art community do for you? Encourage? Educate? Tell us about it!

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