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Learning to Draw by Candlelight | by Stuck in Customs
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Learning to Draw by Candlelight

I'm writing an article for Smashing Magazine entitled "10 Principles of Beautiful Photography", and, in so doing, I am making one of the notions therein that it helps if you can learn to draw. Now, last year, I could barely draw a bath and my portraits looked worse than my 7-year-old's!


But get this... I have a very good friend at work named Gustaf with whom I made a bet. Now, the guy is brilliant and a great designer, but he is absolutely terrible at Photoshop. I thought that was unacceptable, and I also thought my complete lack of drawing skills was unacceptable. Since I am mega-competitive, I made a bet with him that I could teach myself to be passable at drawing before he could teach himself to be passable at photoshop. I won the competition, as it should be, but he still has time to learn (he got a girlfriend and it kind of threw a wrench into the whole competition).


I’ve always admired people that can draw. “Man, I always wanted to do that!” I thought, remorsefully.


But after practicing in secret for many months, I feel like I am a little bit better. I’m not great, by any means. Before getting into it, I knew there were natural savants out there that can naturally draw from birth. I knew I could not ever get to that level, but I wanted to get to a point where I felt better about my ability to capture a scene or feeling with just charcoal and paper.


Anyway, here are some of my favorite drawings over the past 6 months or so. They are in chronological order with the most recent ones on top. You'll probably need to visit my blog here to see everything in a decent size.


And I'll post the article as soon as it comes out over at

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Taken on November 25, 2008