In a video I watched about drawing tips, the one thing I took away from it the most was to draw with the pen or pencil coming towards me and not going away from me. Yes, the video was focused on cartoons, but some tips can cross over styles.
I find when I draw towards myself, I have much more control over my lines and I get much better results. It also feels more comfortable.
To illustrate my point, I'm including two drawings of a hand. The first on was drawn with the pencil going towards me and the second one was drawn with the pencil going away from me.
'See the difference?
Under normal circumstances, my pencil lines are not going to be this dark, and if you're using a light pencil, as you should for realistic work, your outline will be practically invisible when you get your shading in. But just because your outline may not be visible, doesn't mean it's not important. On the contrary, your entire drawing will look wrong if your outline is. Drawing towards yourself is the easiest step to insure that your outline is the best it can be, even if that means stopping midline and going back to your starting point when drawing a feature.
So how do you "draw towards yourself"? Simple. If you're drawing vertically, draw downwards, never up, since your body is going to be positioned in front of your paper. If you're drawing horizontally, you draw in the direction going toward your dominant hand.
I hope this is helpful. I talk to you again next week.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife