A lot of people treat the ability to draw like it's some mysterious, esoteric gift that only a select few possess. I've seen art schools and classes that do little more than encourage their students to draw more, as though one day something will just click.
Ultimately, what I like to call the fine art approach never worked for me. Having been trained as a programmer, I need to be able to break things down into simple problems that can be solved, and feeling things out never really appealed to me.
Fortunately, I found a different approach.
When studying at Concept Design Academy in Pasadena, California, I took a technical drawing course where I was taught exercises and approaches to drawing that simply made sense. Everything was logical and clear, and each step served a purpose.
Now, I'd like to share what I learned with you. I will not guarantee a first class education - my lessons are based on my interpretations of things I learned from my instructors (Peter Han, Kevin Chen, James Paick and John Park) and include my own insights as well as my own misinterpretations. I emphasize concepts that I find valuable, and skip over parts that I find distracting.
Drawabox is lauded by many as the best free drawing course online today. There are definitely better ones out there if you're willing to pay for a professional instructor, but Drawabox gives you the opportunity to get your feet wet before investing your money. I also offer homework critiques through /r/ArtFundamentals on Reddit - one thing to keep in mind however is that many of my lessons (especially 1-7) have restrictions on the tools you may use if you intend to submit them for critique. You can see a more in-depth explanation as to why on my article on why I encourage the use of ink. That said, these lessons are also a great way to get used to tablet pc drawing, or drawing with other similar tools (like the new Apple iPad pro and apple pencil). I still insist that the best approach is to work in ink first, then transfer what you learn to digital media, but that is ultimately up to you.
A lot of people who come here are interested in drawing digital art, and get the immediate impression that Drawabox is not for them. The opposite is true - I myself am a digital illustrator, and aside from practicing the exercises I teach here, I don't do much with traditional media. We're not focusing on teaching you how to use any given tool, but rather are using specific tools to teach the concepts as effectively as possible. Even if you're interested in working digitally, doing these exercises in ink is a great way to build up the skills you'll need.
Not everyone can afford to pay for art classes - because of this, Drawabox is supported through a Patreon campaign, where those who do have a few dollars to spare pledge a donation each month, and all may benefit from an expanding curriculum.
If you'd like to look at proper drawing schools online or in person, I'd recommend checking out artschooldb.com. It's got a very comprehensive list of art schools of all sorts.
If you are interested in learning how to draw, you can start by clicking Learn. But be ready - you're going to be drawing a hell of a lot of boxes.
While I have a massive library of non-instructional art books I've collected over the years, there's only a handful that are actually important to me. This is one of them - so much so that I jammed my copy into my overstuffed backpack when flying back from my parents' house just so I could have it at my apartment. My back's been sore for a week.
The reason I hold this book in such high esteem is because of how it puts the relatively new field of game art into perspective, showing how concept art really just started off as crude sketches intended to communicate ideas to storytellers, designers and 3D modelers. How all of this focus on beautiful illustrations is really secondary to the core of a concept artist's job. A real eye-opener.
This is an advertisement. The links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program, which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation from me. View more recommendations...