Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Drawing with Professor YouTube

I don't know why this came as such a surprise to me, but I was amazed to discover, in the course of a research project for my drawing class, that there exists a large cottage industry of making YouTube videos on how to draw things.  I have never been an aficionada of YouTube, partly because I don't usually plug in the speakers on my computer (hate it when you get beeps and dings and plupfs for random keyboard activities).  But when we were assigned to find and look at several videos on drawing the same thing, then report back on the best one, I dutifully went on an exploration.

I thought I'd try to find "how to draw a sphere" because that seemed so pure -- so untainted by the hand of the artist, so uncompromising as to what is the right way and what is the wrong way.  And besides, I had just been struggling with shading round objects.  I was surprised to find that a few of the half-dozen videos I watched did not do a very good job, but I found one that was OK and did a couple of daily drawings from it.

Everybody in the class had to report back on the videos they had found, and I watched them all.  As a result, I learned to draw an eye and a face.

Later I followed along to draw a cat, a box, a fist, a nose and a dog.

Some of the videos I have watched have been pretty good; others have been pretty bad.  Remember, there are no editors to keep junk from being posted on the internet; caveat artifex.  But even the bad videos are often fun to watch, thanks to the speeded-up sections where the pencil zips around the drawing, laying down lines and shading faster than you can imagine.

Some of you readers have left comments indicating that you might be tempted to try a bit of drawing too, and if you are, you might check out some videos and see if that's an approach that you enjoy.  If you find an artist you like, who's a good teacher and has a good presentation style, make a point of watching some others by the same person; usually a good teacher will have posted many different lessons.  I like to check the length of a video before I commit to drawing along; it's going to take a bit longer than the duration of the clip.  So if you want to spend only 15 minutes on your drawing, don't choose a 26-minute video!  But there are plenty of 5-minute videos out there that you can watch for an easy way to dip your toe into the frightening waters of drawing.


  1. You a doing a fabulous job in your daily drawing, studying and learning. Sooner or later it will inspire me to do better myself.

  2. Have a look at these videos -

    Not a how-to, but speeded up portraits, a project done a few years ago for Art on the Underground. You get the conversation between artist and sitter as the drawing takes shape. Fascinating.

    And oh my, he is enviably skilful!

  3. My husband likes to use YouTube videos to learn songs on his guitar. And yeah, there's a lot of dreck on there, but once you find a good person, they do tend to be prolific. I've watched videos for sewing, knitting, micromacrame, etc. Anything you could want to know for knitting, it's amazing what's out there. Of course, the flip side is that if I can watch Ms X showing me how to do Skill A on YouTube for free, then I'm probably not going to pay $85 plus gas to take a class from her. But then I guess, I was happy I saved $85+, and her class still filled, so all was well. I have found it to be a really good resource, even if there is a lot of dreck-sorting.