How I Learned to Draw in 30 Days

During the winter of 2013 I learned to draw. Even though I grew up around the arts, I had never really tried putting pencil to paper. My first attempt was as rudimentary as I would have expected…

2013-12-21 11.59.59

Fortunately, I had excellent tutelage in the form of the book You Can Draw in 30 Days, a comprehensive introduction of the art of drawing by Mark Kistler. Mark’s instruction embodies many of the aspects of learning I frequently discuss, including small steps and celebration.

The progressions that Mark described were well considered. After attempting spheres, he taught some practical applications of drawing circles.

2014-03-09 18.47.47

While my spheres aren’t world class, by immediately putting into function simple tools like spheres and shading, I was more confident and eager to apply future lessons. I moved into drawing perspective, which, of course, began very modestly.


Quite quickly, though, I began adding elements from previous lessons to create more complicated castles.

2014-03-09 18.47.19

Some of my favorite lessons were those which translated one skill set across images. I hadn’t realized coffee and volcanos had so much in common…


Or the commonality between both of those and a waving flag?


Celebrate Early and Often

One of the things I admire most about Mark is his effusive praise and enthusiasm. From drawing spheres through attempting block letters, Mark’s celebration allowed me a to see and appreciate my progress.  While I felt embarrassed with my drawing of a woman’s face, Mark showed that learning the whole was part of the progress towards something more.


After thinking about the whole face, I turned my attention to just one aspect: the eye.


How To Make Rapid Progress

When I look at the among of material I learned in less than 30 total days of practice, I’m stunned. It doesn’t seem possible to have progressed from unable to draw a sphere to sketching aspects of the human body in three-dimensions. I credit Mark Kistler’s excellent instruction for much of my progress. Mark embodies many of the important aspects that I write about. Additionally, I made progress because I wasn’t forcing improvement but just enjoying the process. Each of us is capable of learning limitless improvement. It just takes the belief that change is possible, and then concrete and consistent action.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Share This Post