Learning how to oil paint is much different than learning how to draw, although both enhance and benefit the other. As with all skills, the art of oil painting and learning all the different nuances of using oil paint as your medium takes time, effort and practice, as do learning how to draw.
Drawing in and of itself is an ‘art’ and many times my art patrons have requested commission works of a ‘graphite’ rendering, which once done I can then turn into an oil painting, if I choose. The basis of that painting will be drawn from the work that was done in pencil or graphite; something of a color version of the black and white rendering. But there are many times that the preliminary work that is done in creating an oil painting doesn’t necessarily have a pre-requisite of a drawing or even a sketch.
Depending on your skill level, many artists just simply see something they want to paint and begin! But, other times the oil painting that you wish to create is more complex or the desire is to work out a specific composition that maybe problematic.
Sometimes, it can be beneficial to render a loose drawing of the subject of your painting, thus allowing you the opportunity to fine tune some of the more intricate details of the subject matter. Other times the artist may want to work out the best composition, this is often done when drawing your inspiration from real life. It is helpful to eliminate the frills of the surrounding area of your subject matter and make the composition more simple and less cluttered to allow the subject of the oil painting to be seen in it’s clarity. This type of drawing is often thumb nail size and without attention to detail. The point is to get all the objects in your painting in the right location, size and perspective and even a sense of the light and dark that maybe used, thus giving the artist a sense of where the placement of things should go on the canvas.
I find that many artists drawing skills are not as good as their painting skills, but most of us are fairly decent. I think it helps to know how to draw, but is not always a pre-requisite nor does it always make for a better painter. However, learning to draw is a skill that should be mastered as it can definitely enhance your skill as an oil painter!
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