Look deeper. Look beneath the surface of things.
Artists look deeper, and visualize the structures beneath the surface.
Beneath the skin of a human or animal, there is tissue and flesh. Beneath that there is a skeleton supporting everything.
Beneath the facade of a building, there are pillars, framework and a foundation that supports the entire building.
Beneath the leaves of a tree or plant, there is a trunk and branches, and supporting that, beneath the earth, the root system which channels nourishment from the soil to the rest of the organism.
With all things, it is the underlying, mostly unseen structure which creates the form and dimension that is evident to our eyes.
If we don't have a good understanding of structure, and we only focus on surfaces, then our drawings will lack shape and dimension. They may appear flat or distorted, not solid and 3-dimensional.
When we copy from pictures we miss this vital third dimension of closeness and distance (perspective).
When copying from pictures, you will focus only on what you see in the picture, which is outlines and flat surfaces.
This is why my beginning students learn to draw from still life, instead of copying from pictures.
You must be able to feel, touch and sense the form coming close to you, and moving away from you in space.
Those who are trained in observing and drawing from life will have an advantage in creating artwork with this sense of form and dimension.
Drawing is similar to sculpture in that we need to begin with an armature, or an underlying framework to provide form and structure.
Only when this structure is in place can we then build on top of it to create what we actually see.
No matter how beautifully the surface may be rendered, if the artist has not first paid careful attention to structure and form, then the drawing will not hold up.
I always think that drawing and creating art is a metaphor for life.
So often in my life I focused too much on outside appearances, without paying enough attention to what was inside.
Instead of focusing on my health, happiness and well-being, I paid more attention to clothes, makeup and material things.
Instead of taking time to get to know other people and examine what was in their hearts, I would often equate people with their image and the role they played.
The path of art, and the path of life, has taught me to examine and study and question everything on a deeper level, and to understand what is really important.
There are layers to everything.
Everything looks different depending on your point of view.
What's inside is even more important than what's outside.
Look beyond the surface and see what the deeper story is.