About the Student

Who is this site for?

Well, let’s see…

Are you the kind of person who likes art?

Are you the kind of person who likes to create art?

Are you unhappy with your current skill level?

Would you like to get better at art, but don’t have the time?

Do you often lament your lack of “talent?”

Are you wondering why I just put “talent” in quotes?

Then chances are that you’ll find something here that fits the your unique needs. As the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing Basics, I understand better than most that there’s a whole world full of casual artists out there. Not everyone is that art-obsessed friend who is always doodling masterpieces and calls them “junk.” (You know the type.) And there are a ton of us out there who bemoan our lack of talent, thinking that if we weren’t born with it, we’re only going to get so far.

Hogwash.

Hogwash, I say!

Scientists have proven that what we consider great art is generally art that looks like something we recognize. A beautiful woman, a great landscape, a stunning cityscape. And what makes that possible? It’s a portion of your brain that allows you to observe the spatial relationship between two items and then duplicate them on paper. That’s it. If you’re able to look at a face and then draw their eyes in the right shape at the right distance apart, you’ve got a pretty chance of making great art.

Now, to be fair, some people are born with this. They are “talented.” But many of the artists I know who work professionally — all of them actually — have spent years honing that talent into a marketable skill.

Here’s the good news that came out of that study: The part of your brain that makes this kind of thing possible is totally trainable.

Yes, the first few times you try to draw a convincing portrait, you’re probably not going to be happy with the result. But draw the same portrait again a day later and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve improved. Think I’m lying? Check out this post where I did that very thing and see the results for yourself.

Who is this site NOT for?

To be honest, most of the content on Sketchfoolery will be of the most basic variety. If you’ve attended Ringling or any of the other schools who routinely churn out Spectrum-published artists, you’ll probably have to search high and low for something you don’t already know.

I grew up with a very talented artist as one of my best friends and even when we were kids and playing Dungeons & Dragons at the dinner table, he would have his head down doodling his character and completely lose track of the game itself. He would fill his salt-and-pepper notebooks for school with amazing fully-realized comics. He was almost never not drawing.

That guy would be bored to tears here. (But I might just get him to do a guest post before too long!)

The Starter Gym for Aspiring Artists

Whenever I go to a website that offers art instruction, I get the same feeling I have when I go to the gym and I’m surrounded by people who are already in great shape. Like there should be a starter gym for guys like me; an on-ramp to the real gym so I’m not so woefully out of place.

Sketchfoolery is that starter gym.

Despite having written an entire book on the subject, I’m not as happy with my skill level as I’d like to be. Most of what you’ll find on this site will be my own personal journey, with insights and discoveries along the way. There’s no formal curriculum. No tests. No grades. We’re all in this together and if you happen to learn something through my personal experiences, I’ll put a check in the “win” column.

Welcome to Sketchfoolery. Now let’s get started!