A few tips for the portrait drawing newbie. How to draw—book recommendations, advice, lessons.
Goof Off
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Even though most of this site is full of structure and rules, it is important to cut loose sometimes, and just goof off. Sometimes, just doodling with color and lines will allow you to have a major breakthrough. You relax, and things start to flow. Most artists I know do some goof-off art at least occasionally. It helps us loosen up, and that is also an important component to being a good artist!

This artwork is fun and "silly" (but not "silly" in a bad way!). I was trying out some software programs (Corel Painter and the now defunct Macromedia Freehand—this page was written a while ago!) and didn't feel like creating anything "serious." That's what art should be sometimes - not anything "serious." Allow yourself to goof around, with colors, textures and shapes, like you see in these silly pictures. Or, make "abstracted" landscapes or scenes. Don't worry if it looks goofy. It doesn't matter. YOU are creating something to please YOU, no one else. There is no "wrong" way to do such drawings.

Even though these examples were created digitally, your "goofy" artwork can be created with pencil, watercolor, or pastel, or any other media you choose.

Now that's ART!!! More real ART!!!

Major WeirdnessPoppies

These two bottom images are semi-representational. The one on the right is "inspired" by the California poppies in Gorman, California. But, as you can see, it's far from being terribly detailed or realistic. But there's nothing wrong with that, is there?

Some of my friends are not huge fans of this type of artwork. But do I let that worry me? No! I had fun doing them, and they pleased ME. I daresay some other people would like it too. Remember this when you do your "goof off" artwork. You may end up creating some real gems. Open your mind, and your heart, and draw whatever comes out of you!

Not only are these "goof off" type of artworks fun, they are also helping you build vital artistic skills. They will help you learn how to deal with color, drawing expressive lines, rendering techniques, and so forth. Don't think that because I call these "goof off" pieces that they are throwaway or useless exercises. They can be vital to your artistic development.

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