Artist's Back to Basics

Getting into the Zone

“The greatest mistake most people make that genuinely want to draw (or paint) is to dive in without adequate (or any in the majority of cases) mental and/or practical preparation.”

So far we have explored being able to confidently sketch and draw lines, circles, and curves, the basics of hatching and crosshatching, the rudiments of creating good compositions of your own and delved into the specifics of the tools and equipment required for freehand drawing and setting up your own working studio space. Now it’s time to set off on your own original, freehand journey in your own space and time, so this article will concentrate on the place you have to find in your own mind and how to connect it to reality in an effective way in order to make the most ofof the “real world” snapping you out of the hard-won zone with a similar sensation of a large rubber mallet up alongside your ear (usually some exquisitely beautiful reason like having to tell some wonderful person on the telephone that you don’t need or want the product or service they don’t seem to think you can possibly do without). Sometimes it takes an hour or more (or half the day) to just get into the right “zone” in your mind to draw complicated subjects or face up to and solve a particular problem area (which every subject and composition will present you with). It only takes a few unwanted interruptions or distractions in a row snapping you out of it back to the single plane and a natural mental self-defence seems to click in which won’t let you even try again that day to seriously re-engage with the problem solving skills, fine proportional judgements and deftness of touch required to do the hardest and most important parts of a drawing.

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