Perfect practice makes you perfect

This is a great book to read – ‘Bounce’. Author Matthew Syed – an award-winning Times columnist and three-time Commonwealth table-tennis champion – reveals what really lies behind world-beating achievement in sport, and other walks of life besides. It is all about practice & not born talent.

Beckham became the best ‘crosser’ in the world, how? He practiced everyday at Manchester United. Golfer Ben Hogan practiced more than anyone and he hit the ball better than anyone has ever seen. Tiger works harder than everyone hence the results. Pele worked harder than anyone in soccer hence his greatness.

Bear in mind that if you want to get better at your painting, you need to get better at drawing. Drawing is the foundation, body and crown of all paintings. Even the masters like Renoir and Michealangelo drew their subjects many times before beginning their final art piece. As a beginning artist, you must expect that you will need to do the same. I can guarantee if you draw the same subject five times, studying what you saw and studying what you did  (to look for ways to improve it each time), you will excel and see major results. Draw and study it ten times and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Passion is the power source that drives practice, and makes results seekers persist over time. True, there is great power in dreaming and visualizing, but to tap into that power and apply it, you have to practice. And to practice, you have to love what you do.

Practice makes perfect they say. Bullshit I say. ‘Right’ practice makes you do things very well.
My own experience of teaching myself to draw over the last four years has taught me this: Practice ineffectively, and you’ll be putting in huge amounts of effort for very little reward. Practice effectively, and you can progress much faster than you would have thought possible with much less effort.

If you practice doing something wrong 5000 times, guess what? On your 4999th time, you are going to do the wrong thing. You will have permanently engraved the wrong action into your habitual responses.

Here are four rules you need to follow if you want to improve your drawing.
Rule number one: Learn from the experts.
Rule number two: Practice drawing things that you love. Start loving the things that you are drawing.
Rule number three: Keep a record of all your practice drawings. Date and sign every practice drawing sessions. Visit them regularly and see your growth.
Rule number four: See above three rules. There are no other rules.

A bit on rule number one. Ask Beckham how to curl the ball. He will show you how he does it, but cannot teach you how to do it using your body. You have to see how he does it and practice the same using your own leg and body movement. Same goes for drawing and painting.

Lets get back. So what and how do you practice to get better at your drawing?
Forget complex and time-consuming subjects to draw. If you practice drawing basic shapes and simple figures, and practice drawing them with speed, you are able to master them in no time. These basic shapes and figures are the ones you will be using to compose complex shapes and figures.

Here are some shapes and scribbles for you to practice. Remember to repeat the same shapes and scribbles in the same size, drawing them at a constant speed, until you become good at it. Once you are able to draw them well, move on to drawing them larger or smaller, sometimes with you own creative variations.  Then start increasing your speed at which you draw the figure. Soon you will be able to draw and paint the ‘infinity’ sign (as an example) with ease.


Hopefully the link on ‘Bounce’ is still available on YouTube.
Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice


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