Recently I found myself in an “in-between spot” with an art tutorial. I’d completed the first part of the assignment — this is another Craftsy class with actual homework — but I couldn’t finish until my canvas was dry. That would take a few days, of course, so what other art practices could I do while waiting?
I browsed a bit through Craftsy’s drawing classes, and I came upon a very simple one: 10 Easy Pictures to Draw for Beginners. Now, after five years I’m not a complete beginner, but sometimes I feel as though I am. Drawing is such an important foundational skill for so much of the art I do that I’m always willing to go back to basics, start all over at the beginning again, and do some very simple drawings.
What I found in this Craftsy class wasn’t quite what I expected. No real instructions… just a list of ideas and suggestions. “With these 10 easy pictures, a beginning artist will have a chance to EXPLORE basic techniques.” I took that directly from the class introduction, and yep — EXPLORE — that’s what 2021 is all about for me and my art.
Immediately I set about with the first item on the list. Food. I haven’t done a lot of food art in the past. Oh, I’ve drawn and painted various food items — apples, pears, bananas, and oranges — and I did try one dessert image, but mostly I take the attitude that food is for (a) cooking and (b) eating, and I’ve been content to leave it at that.
I did recognize that this practice is helpful for recognizing and using shapes as the basis for a drawing. Cupcakes can be drawn using very simple, familiar shapes.
So, off I went in search of reference photos. I was astounded by what I found.
“How to Draw a Cupcake” seems to be a very popular topic for online searches. I came across dozens of different pictures, some with step-by-step guidelines. You can take a look for yourself. Just go to Google — or whatever search engine you use — and type in cupcake drawing.
Most results were simple line drawings, the sort a child would have fun drawing. Also the sort an old great-grandmother can have fun drawing. And I did have fun! I sketched my different cupcakes on a drawing pad using a 2B pencil, then even though I’d used regular paper I went ahead and added touches of watercolor — just for the fun of it.
Here are my three simple, beginner’s drawings of cupcakes:
While these are very, very basic drawings, and while I might think of myself as a bit more advanced than a beginner, I nevertheless learned a lot from these simple little cupcakes.
- Drawing can definitely be fun with simple illustrations and playful subjects. It’s easy to take ourselves too seriously — easy for me, at least. Drawing something as simple as cupcakes with frosting and cherries and sprinkles was about as much fun as it can get!
- Drawing really is all about simple shapes. Identifying those shapes is a great way to start any drawing.
- There’s more than one way to draw a cupcake — or anything else. Again, I was surprised when I did a quick search and found so many, many different versions of a “basic cupcake”.
- Simple drawings seem to have their own unique charm. Realism is fine, but I prefer the simple illustrations.
Adding touches of watercolor was fun, too. I used my gansai set, mostly because it was close at hand. Using a brush to add all those little lines and dots was also good practice for me, so I not only had fun with drawing, but I also had a chance to improve my painting skills a bit.
For me, the biggest take-away in all of this is that it’s fine to make simple drawings and feel good about them. Yes, these cupcakes look a bit childish, but that’s what I love about them. I need this loose, casual approach to art. I need the fun of sitting on the floor, drawing and painting almost as if I were a child again. I think we all need that from time to time.