Question regarding the 50/50 rule

10:26 AM, Monday May 16th 2022

Hi All,

I'm currently working through Drawabox and am 1/3 of the way through the 250 box challenge. My question is regarding the other half of the time I spend drawing.

The literature says we should aim not to use references when drawing for fun and to aim from imagination. I spend most of my off time drawing buildings and architecture around my town, so drawing them from observation rather than imagination. Is that acceptable within drawabox or should I be branching out and trying to draw a more diverse range of stuff and from imagination rather than observation?

I'm sitting in front of these things drawing them, I'm not drawing from pictures I've taken.


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11:08 PM, Monday May 16th 2022

That's not strictly accurate. It's not that you shouldn't use references - the 50% rule video even explains in detail how to actually use references when still drawing from your imagination. But, it does say that you should not do strict, direct photo studies.

There's a lot of grey area when it comes to the 50% rule, and unfortunately there are not clear cut answers for every possible circumstance. In such situations, we have to come back to a couple of core questions:

  • When doing the given drawing, am I concerned with the end result, or getting something out of it (a pretty picture to show off, or improvement in my skill) or am I just drawing and exploring and playing, and this happens to be the way I'm doing it today?

  • Am I choosing to do this instead of something else? If so, what reason do I have not to do that other thing?

Ultimately only you understand your motivations, but I can say this - avoid getting stuck doing one type of thing for your 50% rule time. Push your boundaries and explore all kinds of things. If it means walking outside and drawing the things you see some of the time, then cool - but don't pigeonhole yourself into a single activity for the entirety of your "play" time.

3:02 PM, Wednesday May 18th 2022

Thankyou for your response, that makes it nice and clear for me. Time to start branching out and not just drawing cube shaped things!

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