Tell me what to draw and I'll draw it
September 24, 2012 5:27 PM   Subscribe

I like drawing and photography, but I have trouble just sitting down and doing it. I enjoy art classes where I'm given parameters for assignments-- is there anywhere online that I can find drawing or photography exercises?

I'm totally willing to do tedious things like take a photo at each f-stop on my camera or something like that. I just need a little guidance, for whatever reason.

Bonus round-- Even better would be some sort of online community where I do an "assignment" and then participate in a critique.
posted by geegollygosh to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Ree Drummond's blog The Pioneer Woman has a section just for photography, and usually features photo assignments. The current one is mobile phone photography, but I remember seeing others and thinking it would be a good way to improve skills. I think there is definitely a community guidance and participatory aspect involved with it (plus contests).

There's also The Daily Create, which has daily challenges that stimulate many different kinds of creativity, but you can look through the archive and pretty easily find the drawing and photography ones. Can't vouch for it myself but I remembered reading about it elsewhere.
posted by stellaluna at 6:52 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've never joined in myself - just enjoyed looking through the designs -, and I'm not sure what level of guidance you're looking for; but's forums have several concept art challenges, including Environment of the Week, Creature of the Week, Character of the Week and more, where you can upload your work in progress as you go for critiquing. They also have tutorials, I believe.
posted by jlibera at 7:00 PM on September 24, 2012

Rats, that should be Environment of the Week, of course.
posted by jlibera at 7:01 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's the EveryDay Matters drawing challenges, which has a Flickr group and community, I think.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:25 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try Digital Photography School, it has forums and regular assignments.
posted by id girl at 9:13 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

check out Strobist's Lighting 101 & 102.
posted by inertia at 8:17 AM on September 25, 2012

To get me going, I have been enjoying this Figure & Gesture Drawing Tool, which basically cycles through different figures (you can choose male/female and nude/clothed) at different time intervals. Good practice!

I also find that I'm motivated if I'm working on a gift for someone else (ex: this drawing of a wolf needs to be finished by my mother's birthday!).
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 9:14 AM on September 25, 2012

I read this essay and was inspired to make my own deck of cards to draw from (literally). I kept a notepad at my desk for a few weeks and just wrote down random, simple words as they came to me. When I had 200, I wrote each one down on an index card. Now that I have my deck all set, I pull a single index card and then fill a sketchbook page with something that revolves around the word written on the card — usually a short comic, in my case. Don't feel beholden to the examples in the essay or anything — I just thought the idea of a daily theme was a neat trick, and it makes me stretch my brain a little bit to come up with something interesting to draw about words like "tea" and "flying" and "donation".

Memail me if you like and I will happily send you the list of 200 words I came up with, to give you something to start. Ideally, I wanted this to be a daily exercise but it's hardly been that. I do love drawing a new card so I don't let myself draw a new one until the last one is finished, which has been surprisingly motivating.

I use this as a drawing exercise, but I guess you could challenge yourself to take a photograph based on a random prompt as well.
posted by adiabat at 3:23 PM on September 25, 2012

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