Every now and again I sit down with some colored pencils and a reference photo, and try my best to mimic a photocopier. On its face this seems like an extremely difficult thing to do, but I discovered how to cheat. 🦹🏼♂️
When trying to replicate an entire photo at once, you often end up with a disproportionate mess that looks very displeasing next to the original. While it’s possible to overcome this with years of practice, my fifth-grade teacher taught me how to cheat instead—by dividing the problem into smaller, more manageable steps.
You can try this at home right now. Draw a 1-inch grid over a reference photo and duplicate the same grid into your sketchbook at a slightly larger size. Then, start drawing each square one-by-one. You’ll be astounded at how much better the result is when you’re done.
Accomplish way more than you think
My favorite thing about this technique is that, after stepping back to view a finished piece, I can never believe it came from me. 🤯 Sure, I’m a good enough artist to reproduce a 1-inch square, but I just cannot comprehend the entire task. And this doesn’t only apply to drawing; pick any large task that seems unachievable now, and start breaking it down.
Starting a business, getting in shape, building a house, starting a family; Figure out the smallest next problem standing in the way of the finish and solve it. Like hiking a mountain in the fog, if you continually put one foot in front of the other in the general direction of up, you’ll eventually get to the top. 🏔