This is better than just struggling on. ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ This newsletter is about drawing. It goes out every Friday. Want to draw? Then check out my free workbook!

#20 - To Try New Things, Artists Should Create Experiment Campaigns With A Clear Begin, And End Evaluation

This is better than just struggling on.

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In this video, I am using a free online tool that I created. It allows you to select a photo reference to practice drawing from, which is, of course, nothing new.

What is new is that you can see your drawing through the camera on your mobile with the reference image transparently overlaid over your drawing.

This camera view allows you to see where you deviated from the reference. You can freeze the image, save it, and then use it to “fix” your drawing.

You can try it out for yourself here:

Augmented Reality For Artists!


One of the main things that are so cool about campaigns is that they are limited in time. A “campaign” is something with a goal, a proposed approach to reach that goal, a start, a middle, and end, and a moment to evaluate the results.

The duration can be flexible. You can try something for an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year. I tend to do a campaign until I get what I want from it, which usually means I learned something that to me suggests the next campaign, the next thing to try.

You can use this structure for anything you are trying. The “hundred days doing X” challenges or the “Draw one hundred X” challenges are that.You don’t have to keep on going for years and years if something isn’t working. Instead, you can decide on a criterium to end the project.

And then you evaluate!

Evaluating afterward is the most critical part. You set a goal, decide to try an approach, and coldly shut it down and assess the results. And you decide on your next campaign.

The video at the top is an example of two campaigns I am doing. The image you see is a new approach I am trying to YouTube thumbnails. I was constantly trying to get design and composition into them, but I have just given up now and taken a cue from book cover examples. I saw book covers like this and realized it could be perfect. Centered title text—so your eye is guided down the middle, textured mid-tone background, with the line art I draw in the video serving as the texture.

The “campaign” will probably run a couple of videos until I see whether people click on them.

The second campaign aspect of this video is a new approach to the videos. I use this free online app I made that lets you quickly verify your drawing against a reference image simply by holding your mobile camera over your drawing.

One cool thing about it is that it takes me far less time to make the video. I don’t need to make finished illustrations or anything. I just turn on the camera and draw with a ballpoint pen for a half-hour, using my mobile to verify my drawings. I could theoretically do a video a day.

The tool is excellent for getting proportions right. It might become a regular part of my drawing process!

I could envision other directions I could take this idea. Maybe I can generate boxes or 3d scenes for you to copy from and compare with the camera? Or perhaps I can create a perspective grid that you can overlay over your drawing with your mobile phone?

Because I also made a cool free online app that allows you to draw on a perspective grid!

Gridspective I made a video on how you can use it here .

This one is also really cool. Or so I think. It’s also great for experimenting and learning how perspective works.

What if you could overlay that grid over your drawing through your mobile phone camera?

As you probably know or can tell, I also enjoy programming, and I am always making these nifty little apps which no one ever sees. And maybe that’s because I am not showing them to anyone! So I thought I’d try this, showing myself using the app in the videos.

You can try it out for yourself here:

Augmented Reality For Artists!

It’s cool! Try it out!

One of the reasons I started “Practice Drawing This” was that I am always making cool stuff—I think! And no one ever saw them. How do I get people to notice?

If you made something cool, how do you get people to notice? Campaigns are, of course, a method used by marketers for the longest time.

But you can also create personal campaigns that get you to focus on one area where your art needs improving. You set a goal, decide on an approach, and you do it for a specified, limited time, and then you evaluate the result, and you set up the next campaign.

You could do a “Draw hundred heads” challenge or a “Draw a hundred hands” challenge. You can do the “100 Days Of Making Comics” challenge. Or Inktober. Et cetera. Each of those you’ll learn from.

I would suggest you stopped the “campaign” when you got what you wanted from it, though. Drawing should stay fun. It shouldn’t become a chore.

Really, do stop the campaign when you got something from it—maybe you discover that you want or need to practice something else—and when it no longer feels like fun! Don’t complete Inktober or the 100 ... challenges if you don’t feel like it.

Stop and evaluate. What did you learn?

And then call it complete and a success (because you learned something). There is no reason to go on if you are not getting anything from it anymore.

And then plan your next campaign using what you just learned.

Completing things feels satisfying. Campaigns are no different.

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