I was probably around 12 years old. One weekend while in K-Mart with my father we passed by the craft supplies. I was checking out a set of paints I really liked. I begged my father to buy them for me. My father said “If you want to paint well, first you have to learn to draw well” I was young and at the time thought of drawing as much less fun
I probably had such fun memories of art classes in school where we would have the paints all out in those little plastic dishes. Such beautiful bright colors all at your disposal. We would have so much fun just recklessly applying them to large sheets of paper, getting paint all over the smocks we were forced to wear, the tables, and on our hands. Few school activities were more fun for me.
My father didn’t buy me the paint set I wanted that day. Instead he bought me a pencil set. A very nice one as I remember. Graphite pencils, colored pencils, pencils of different softness’s, big pencils, small pencils, sharpeners, erasers. A real deluxe set. I can say, I wasn’t very happy about not getting the paints but the pencil set was so nice I got over it pretty quickly and became very fond of those pencils.
My father, a talented artist who set aside his pursuit of arts for the honorable task of raising 3 children, knew more than a few things about art at that time. He told me that painting was just drawing with color and different materials. He told me that I should first learn the basics of drawing. He gave me simple drawing exercises. Shade a cube, shade it from different angles, shade cones, spheres, try blending, cross-hatching, 2 & 3 point perspective etc. At the time I didn’t see the value of these but I valued my fathers opinion and his art that I saw around the house, so I listened to him and did the exercises over and over.
As I grew older I heard phrases like “Drawing is the foundation for all art” As I explored other area’s of art I began to see the value of drawing and the principles which it taught me. I found Composition and lighting were essential tools in my exploration of photography, shape and mass were necessary concepts when I tried sculpting. I saw perspective in architecture, light color and composition in cinematography. I began to see the principles I learned in drawing everywhere.
Today I am very much in love with drawing. It is the starting point and foundation for all of my work. I realize I still have much to learn from it and many area’s in which I can improve my drawing and I work at it constantly. I can now see though, improvements in my ability to draw produce direct results in my ability to paint and I firmly believe “If you want to paint well, first you have to learn to draw well” I have my father to thank for this.