Blog: Say Something!

There is a drawing by a child in chapter five of the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. In it, his parents were standing in the center. He stood on one side of them, and on the other side stood his bigger sister. From his sister emanated a huge claw-like hand on a monstrously long and big arm that bent around the back of the parents and towards him while she also shows her sharp teeth.

That drawing said something about his relationship with his sister as he perceived it when he was making the drawing.

When we are teenagers, we become interested in drawing “realistically.” A drawing is “good” if it looks realistic. But when you copy something perfectly, that limits what you can say about it. You can say, “look how beautiful this is,” and it can convey your mood, your being happy with life. Or if it is a grim landscape, just before the storm, that mood can say something about your mood too.

You have artistic license to change things, to invent or remove things. We already have cameras, after all. What’s more interesting is what you have to say about life.

Say something, give your opinion about life. Simplify, idealize, deform, change, add, invent, remove. Make the image your own!

Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.“

Be like a child again when you creat art!


Hi Friend,
I spent this week trying a different daily drawing routine. I choose a holiday photo I like, and then I try drawing it from memory.

You can read more about how to do drawing from memory exercises here.

I try to find out which aspects need to be accurate and which I can draw loosely. Eyes and corners of mouths need to be placed really accurately, but when drawing fur or garments, loose lines can help render them in a more pleasing way. You can suggest material, texture, movement.

A drawing can look nice when precise lines are combined with loose lines. Yin and yang.

I saw this Instagram Reel by Kim Jung Gi , which had one of the highest view counts on his feed. I decided to pick it apart to see why.

The things I noticed are:

  1. The video consists of eight drawings.

    Our short-term memory can contain seven things, so what might be happening is people watch this video repeatedly because they initially don’t realize they had already watched this section.

    This might be why the algorithm thought it was good and showed it to more people.

    It doesn’t hurt that the drawings look similar.

  2. The drawings are short: five to ten seconds. As he builds up the drawing area by area—as opposed to drawing a full outline or underdrawing first—we’re left wondering what the end result will look like.

    We can hold our curiosity for these few seconds to then get the reward: a beautiful drawing. And then the next one follows!

    “What is that drawing going to be? Ah, beautiful! Oh! The next drawing!”

I decided to have fun with that and draw the things I had just practiced through drawing from memory directly with dip pen and ink and film myself doing so. I did look at the reference while drawing.

I initially didn’t realize that Kim Jung Gi builds up drawings from area to area, keeping the whole design in his head as he does so.

The first few videos I still drew the outline of the whole thing before filling it in with hatching. The last one I tried to do the way Kim Jung Gi does it, building up the drawing area by area.

The initial plan was to make a short video with at least seven drawings, but I decided to test it out as single six to eight second videos first, to test the waters.

This is the most recent one and I think it came out best, but YouTube hasn’t thrown it onto the Shorts Feed yet. As of this writing, Saturday morning, only two people have accidentally stumbled on it.

It’s a drawing of a gargoyle. It’s the first prompt for an upcoming month-long challenge—you know which one.

As I write elsewhere, I think it is a bad idea to do challenges where you commit do creating an ambitious amount of work. You end up exhausted and not feeling like drawing anymore. It’s much better to develop healthy, fun, sustainable habits.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do a few of these prompts, just for fun! So I may be doing a few of these prompts in the coming period. Just not all.

This one has gotten almost ten thousand views. Youtube clearly wanted to test it out and it threw the video onto the Shorts feed.

The Shorts feed is the only place they get views, really.

The jury is still out on whether this is a good approach. Watch times for these short videos are around one hundred and fifty percent. Almost everyone watches through them entirely, and a few watch them several times.

Making them gives me a clearly-defined daily drawing habit. I can study one photo reference and draw it several times from memory, then film myself drawing it directly in pen and ink.

I am in the process of simplifying my daily creative process, reducing activities that take me away from drawing. That’s why the short videos: they don’t take much time to make. Also that’s why no audio for the videos. Making audio takes me away from drawing. The newsletters will be a bit shorter in the future for that reason also.

Also because I don’t want to distract you from drawing!

Anyway, at the end I edit the video. The goal is to show the entire drawing process in five to ten seconds, and I ended up having to speed up the fifteen-minute videos about a hundred and fifty times for that!

I don’t know if it will work, but it is a fun experiment and I am enjoying the process.

You know, playing again with this new toy, short videos. Figuring out what you can do with it. Like a child.

Circling back to the topic of this article: what do my short videos say? That you should draw too! It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be fun. The ‘good’ will come also. But only if you are having fun. That is what I think the short videos I made this week say.

My Favorite Drawing Exercises

If you feel like drawing, then check out my favorite drawing exercises!

Do these exercises

form studies to warm up, slow down, get into the right meditative state, and improve your draftsmanship skills.

Do these form studies

form studies to help you improve creating underdrawings, place things in space, practice doing perspective by sight.

Practice drawing from memory to fill your visual bank, ability to memorize, ability to visualize, ability to draw what you see in your imagination and your ability to see what is wrong with your drawings.

If you find it hard to create or maintain a creative habit, you can find some habit-related tips here. Lastly, also make sure you have fun in your sketchbook after the hard practice!

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