What's the best way to learn to draw and paint? I think it depends on a few things. Having done it the wrong way, and the LONG way for sure, I hope this persective will be useful. That said, if you have an opinion, please hit the comment button and let us have it.
GO TO UNIVERSITY: No, don't bother. Save your money for art supplies, or a mortorcycle or porcelain veneers. I went to art school in the 80s, so my perspective is extra cynical, but here it is: universities are in the business of babysitting adolescents and taking their parent's money. Unlike doctors or accountants, there's no glory (money) in turning out well trained artists, so they don't bother, they just keep you there. The poeple who are teaching aren't that great, and many of them still subscribe to the idea that art training will crush the delicate flower of your soul, so they actually "unschool" you. It's a stupid waste of time.
GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL: Now we're getting somewhere. If you're under 25, let's face it: you are in the best position to train your eyes, mind, and hands on this business, while your grey matter slowly ferments into something people want to hear about. Design school is a "trade school" and while that sounds like a dirty word to some people, it's highly effective. They're invested in the success of their graduates, and engineered to prmote both technical training and the mindset of innovation. Plus, you may end up with a degree, thus allowing you to go somewhere (like university) and teach one day, changing the world forever. Or allowing you to get a totally unrelated job when your spouse tells you to grow up.
GO TO AN ATELIER: Wow, this is dreamy! If you can afford this, it's a great way to spend a few years training yourself to be a great artist. It's expensive, but thorough, thorough, thorough.
LATCH ONTO A MASTER: Yeah, this is the one I'd pick if I could do it again. Art is a business, art makes a product. The concept of not having a degree in this society sounds like balls-out-crazy-talk. But if degree-making institutions don't have master-level teachers, then who cares? You have to go to the mountain, shackle yourself to the mountain, and hang on the mountain's every word for 10 years or so. Some of these people are at RISD and PAFA, I hear. One on one coaching as an apprentice is how you would learn, say, small engine repair. Or emergency medicine. Possibly it's cheaper than an atelier too.
WAIT UNTIL YOU'VE HAD YOUR KIDS AND READ A LOT OF BOOKS: This is not impossible, but it's pretty tough. It's how I did it, with a lot of Internet discussion group critique, which helped a LOT. If you are a grownup, the obstacles have multiplied on you, so do youself a favor: waste no time. Get in the habit of drawing a lot - carry a moleskin with you. Post your work for critique, and listen to the critique. Download hi-res copies of old master paintings and copy them stroke for stroke. Go to live workshops. Find out the general curriculum of an atelier and try to recreate it. If you don't have the discipline to do that - get the discipline! Believe me, there are no shortcuts, only long, circuitous routes where you end up having to do the same work eventually anyway. So just do it.
BTW, this is the main reason Cindy and I started Art Studio Secrets. We both used the Internet to find information, and believe in the power of the self-directed individual to accomplish this stuff. And now that we know a few things, and know just how powerful demonstrations are in helping that process, we wanted to get involved.
THINK ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME AND DO OTHER STUFF INSTEAD: Gee, when I say that way, it sounds kinda dumb right?
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