Home School Edition - Better Drawing Bootcamp

Improve your drawing skills in 35 days

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Art school taught me how to draw but THIS is what really changed things for my art...

I've always loved art. I've drawn since I was a child. And if I had a teacher giving me advice about my art, I listened. In university, I did everything my professors suggested of me and yet, I could find artists who didn't have training, who were lightyears ahead of me in terms of skill. It made me feel jealous.

One of my self-portraits from university:

I observed artists like CJ Hendry, who had no education or training in art and I kept wondering: why isn't my skill at this level?

It wasn’t until years later, much after my college degree in art and art history that I figured out what was missing. While art school had taught me technique, no one taught me how to practice or refine my skill. I did some digging and I discovered art school doesn’t teach us the full formula to build our skill.

I have been drawing since I’ve been able to hold a crayon in my hand. And even after my degree I often felt like a fraud because it wasn’t always easy for me to draw realistically.

I struggled to capture likeness of people, environments, you name it. And while my art looked good, and people would compliment me on the work, I knew it didn’t really match the person or the place. Here I was, teaching art, and I felt like an imposter!

It’s taken decades of practice to reach my current skill level, but recently I discovered a formula that speeds up the process of mastery.

(I drew this self-portrait in about 15 minutes in 2017)

There IS a formula to improve your drawing skills. The question is: are you using it?

I can hear the questions already. Carrie, how? I’ve been practicing and practicing, and I feel like my results have stalled. I’m not seeing the strides in my skill I once did from regular practice. What am I missing?

I know you sometimes feel like it’s “too late.” You enjoyed drawing as a child, but you stopped because some teacher or parent told you you didn't have the talent to pursue art.

Or maybe you were told that there’s no career in art, so “what’s the point?”

Regardless, you are just now returning to your art interest, and finally owning it’s importance in your life (and the wonderful, positive ripple effect your art can have on others).

But you still feel your skill isn’t quite up to par. Some more classes, or maybe going back to school for a degree could fill the gap. But you are married, you have a job, you have family… you are "adulting."

There are life’s responsibilities and you can’t possibly commit to 10,000 hours to become the next da Vinci.

Don’t worry. You don’t need 10,000 hours to improve your drawing ability. Here’s the trick:

It’s not ANY kind of practice.

You need to practice in the right way to see masterful, consistent growth in your skill.

If you use this formula, you will see results.

Artists have started making, showing and selling their art in their 70s, so remember Grandma Moses (or Google her) the next time you think it’s too late to dedicate practice and time to your art.

We know people can be trained in the arts.

We also know it’s knowledge about techniques. Teachers can help you draw to the best of your ability. The Renaissance is an amazing example of this.

Before the Renaissance, there was no perspective. Perspective is an INVENTION of the Renaissance!

Additionally, artists could not accurately portray people.

Children often looked like mini-adults. And everything felt flat.

Look at Art before the Renaissance

In the Gothic artwork above you can see that the angel is much smaller - this is a simplified way to convey distance between one another. Also note the baby Jesus, who looks more like a miniature adult: figural proportions are inaccurate.

The Gothic work Flight Into Egypt offers a great example of inaccurate perspective. It wasn't until the Renaissance artists invented perspective to convey more realistic environments in their art.

So What Changed?

One reason we began to have innovations during the Renaissance is artists received funding and societal permission to explore new techniques and ideas.

This including the unsavory task of dissecting human cadavers, which both Michelangelo and da Vinci did.

The large governing institution of the time, the Church, objected to this so artists would often perform these tasks in secret.

But it was from active study and observational drawing of the human body that we fully appreciated how to convey form on a two dimensional surface.

Special Training

During the Renaissance, artists were trained in an atelier system. They were apprenticed to a teacher who would show them how they make art. Students would model this artwork and sometimes help finish commissioned artworks under the name of this artist, until they became strong enough to have their own studio and their own students. (Note the difference in perspective for the background of this painting by da Vinci compared to the Gothic work we observed).

They used a formula

They used a SPECIFIC system of training, with specific skills communicated by teachers. They had a formula upon which to develop their knowledge and learn new skills.

(Note the accurate portrayal of the human form in active poses in this piece by Michelangelo).

What if we could develop our own formula to build our drawing skill, the basis of all artwork, to consciously develop the skills we’ve celebrated since the Renaissance?

I’m fascinated with the idea of mastery. How can I improve?

How can I help my students improve?

This is an ongoing conversation and question I investigate. I’ve read countless books on the discussion of mastery across all kinds of disciplines and discovered interesting research about the nature of practice.

Malcolm Gladwell has made famous the 10,000 hour rule and I found out, while there is some truth to what he says, it’s simplified in that conversation.

And it likely discourages countless people from developing skills they wish to improve.

Most recently I read a book by Anders Ericsson all about mastery. It’s called Peak and in it, Ericsson makes clear that to be an expert in your field, you may not need 10,000 hours.

It depends on the field.

An additional concern he posits is that by saying you must commit to 10,000 hours to become a master, it negates any interest or commitment to improving your skill. Period.

This isn’t black and white..

There are still ways to improve your skill even if you don’t want to be the next Michelangelo.

You CAN become fully confident to express your ideas and proudly share your art with others.

With time, you will even be able to create the things you imagine.

Hi, my name is Carrie Brummer, creator of Artist Strong.

I’ve already shared some of my personal story of never feeling good enough.

I felt like an imposter because I had a degree in art and art history and taught students how to draw, but didn’t feel good enough at it myself.

That inner critic kept whispering, “are you really an artist?” even after winning an award that put one of my artworks in the Smithsonian!

I’ve always been committed to growing and learning and it’s through these efforts and my constant research and practice that I decided to look for more art teaching resources that could help me up-level.

Because if I do, so can my students.

For years as a teacher I wondered about just how much I could help my students improve.

After all, so many people say that art is a talent.

“You are born with it, or you aren’t.”

SO MANY adults react strongly when I call myself an artist. I often hear “I can’t even draw a straight line,” or “I can only draw stick people.” And these messages stuck with me, too.

Were all of my students capable of drawing realistically? And if so, what did I need to do to help them?

Over time, it became more and more clear to me that the idea of talent is a myth.

Three experiences helped me fully see that the idea of talent is a myth:

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is a classic art book by Betty Edwards that has amazing before and after drawings of adult students with no art experience after a year of training with her. This is great evidence that we can all improve our skills with the right kind of learning AND that it’s never too late to start. You don’t have to pick up a pencil or paintbrush before the age of 15 to be skillful or successful at art.

When I taught high school art overseas I was exposed to students of many cultures. I noticed a trend: any of my students who had elementary level studies in Korea were “good” at drawing. Why? Because curriculum in Korean schools requires all students to develop skills in draftsmanship. These kids are taught to draw as part of their education. It’s not something they are naturally good at, nor is it because of their ethnicity (sometimes a stereotype people share about Asian cultures and art). EDUCATION. This is the key word here. We can learn if we are taught the right skills.

Then I read the book Peak, by Anders Ericsson. And I finally had the research based evidence (and a formula) that shows how people, across ALL kinds of disciplines, become experts in their fields. Not only does he share a formula we can apply to our art, he is very clear in his messaging: even if you don’t want to become “expert” because of all the time involved, EVERYONE can still improve their skills in any discipline using the formula.

I’m primarily a painter, a mixed media artist,a quilter, a sculptor… how does drawing help me?

Drawing skills are foundational to the success of ANY good artwork!

Let’s return to da Vinci and Michelangelo. Both sculpted, both drew, both painted.

They were adept at all the media they worked with, because they could draw.

They took time to plan, to study, and to develop their ideas through drawings. We have clear evidence of this in da Vinci’s journals.

So many of us jump directly to the finished artwork without studying the thing we wish to create! Drawing ability will help us with this planning AS well as with execution.

The more accurately we can draw anything we want, the easier it will be to put any image to a surface, whether you are planning out a unique quilt design, sculpting a cute creature for your garden, or painting a landscape.

Have you ever complained that you can’t create what you see in your head? You can imagine it, but the art you create doesn’t accurately represent your idea?

Improving your drawing ability will help this. You will have a better understanding of space, line, texture, shape, form… you will better understand the elements of art that create a strong finished product.

Even though it is a myth that art is a talent, there are A LOT of people out there who still see it this way. So when you can pop out a drawing that captures someone’s likeness, or do a quick landscape sketch that looks like the environment in front of you, it impresses people.

We hold a shared wonder and curiosity about art. People love watching other people draw.

When you use a formula to build your skill, and can use it repeatedly to up-level your ability, you can confidently draw in public and show off your art to loved ones without that fear of someone asking you, “Sorry, what is that?” or, “Who is it?”

People will see your work and know you have skill. You can proudly and confidently call yourself an artist.

Here’s the thing. Its not just about practice, it’s about the right kind of practice. And that’s what I’m going to break down for you right now: the secrets to what Ericsson coined “deliberate practice:”

  • Decide on well-defined, specific goals

  • Create baby steps to reach your longer term goal

  • Practice with focus

  • Have teachers who can give you quality, informed feedback

  • Ensure the practice and work you do expands outside of your comfort zone

Let's Break this Down Further...

Decide on well-defined, specific goals —>

How do you know your art skill is improving if you don’t create measurable goals? If you don’t document what you do, and don’t take the time to reflect and assess your work, how can you know what you’ve achieved? And how can you know what to aim for next?!

Create baby steps to reach your longer term goal —>

I want to draw realistically is an admirable art goal. But the question becomes: what do I do to get there? How do I achieve this goal? This is why you need to break it down into smaller steps and tasks that can help you reach this achievement. This could include a committed amount of practice time, an in-person class or e-course that you sign up for, as well as creating a study schedule for yourself all about building your drawing skill.

Practice with focus —>

While this is all about practice, this step takes practice. It isn’t just about showing up every day to draw, it’s about showing up and consciously choosing techniques to work on that will help improve your skill. This is why professional musicians still regularly practice music scales. Those scales are a foundational tool that help them play all music well. Artists have foundational techniques, much like scales, that can continue to grow our skill, too.

Have teachers who can give you quality, informed feedback —>

You need to know what you struggle with, and have focused, mindful time to work on those skills. But how do you know what to practice? How do you know what you are doing wrong? This is where teachers come in. You need someone who is ahead of you, who understands foundational art skills, and can help you spot your errors and identify your skill based weaknesses. Then, you can commit to practice which focuses on these specific problems. THIS is how you up-level your skill.

Ensure the practice and work you do expands you outside of your comfort zone —>

There’s one more ingredient. It’s the hardest part. It’s why so many people quit: in order to see dramatic improvements in your drawing ability, you must ensure that the practice you do expands outside of your comfort zone. This kind of practice is not comfortable. In fact, you might find it feels downright frustrating. But it is here, in this space, that you will create those lightbulb moments that take your art to the next level.

So now you know the formula you can use to develop and improve your drawing skills. How can you make use of it?

First Choice: Ignore it.

Continue drawing and painting and enjoying making without a deliberate practice.

If you aren’t concerned about your skill, don’t care if you get better or not, and enjoy creative process for the sheer act of creation, cheers!

You may see improvement in your skill over time, but it will be in stops and starts.

Second Choice: With this new information, create your own system of study and skill development.

Create an outline and lay out all of the necessary ingredients for yourself and get to work!

Third Choice: Join a comprehensive deliberate practice program

Ensure you have the accountability and feedback you need to see real results in your art.

I'm still not sure. I hate goals! —>

Do you hate goals, or are you afraid you won’t reach them? Goals are necessary steps to inform your growth.

You aren’t committed to your goals forever, you can change them as your life changes, but without goals you won’t see the same level of results.

I get nervous about receiving feedback. —>

This is completely normal. A lot of people don’t know how to give or receive quality feedback when it comes to art critique. It’s part of why artists can have their feelings hurt and take things personally.

This is one reason working with a teacher who understands proper art critique can be valuable: quality feedback gives you specific actions to take to improve your art.

If you want to improve your art skill you must accept this is part of the process, but I promise it doesn’t have to be mean.

This is why I created:

This course shows you how to tailor a system of deliberate practice exactly to your skill set so you can quickly see improvement in your skill.

This system works for EVERYONE: you could pick up that pencil for the very first time, or pick up your pencil for the 10,000th time… if you follow the formula, you will get results.

Heres how it works:

Bootcamp lasts for 4.5 weeks. Content is released every day to keep you focused on your daily training practice.

Each activity is set up around the concept of deliberate practice so in 4 weeks' time you will see noticeable improvement in your drawing ability.

I guide you through:

  • the steps you need to take to create a deliberate practice,
  • common mistakes beginning artists can make when drawing,
  • specific strategies that help you identify the skills YOU need to develop, and
  • help you create the unique environment and setting needed for you to up-level and grow your skill.

As part of this program, I have also created a series of bonuses that showcase different ways you can regularly self-assess to improve your work.

This is the ONLY e-course I know of that also offers individually recorded feedback directly on your drawings.

Leaders' Track and Special Unit levels both offer this opportunity.

I will digitally draw and record verbal feedback tailored to your individual assessment that helps you observe your errors and make corrections that not only improve your assessment, but all future drawings you create.

Do you dream of drawing accurately from your imagination?

What about proudly showcasing your art to loved ones and impressing them by your seemingly newfound ability to capture their likeness?

While deliberate practice takes committed effort, YOU can do it.

And once you start seeing the results, it’s addicting. You realize this whole art is talent thing really is a myth, and you can be as skillful as you want to become.

To fully appreciate this course, you need to know what you are getting out of each week in Better Drawing Bootcamp:

Week One includes foundation art lessons that set you up for making strides in this course. You will discover:

  • The one thing most artists miss when working from photo reference
  • 3 Common mistakes made by newer artists
  • What exactly ARE foundational drawing practices?
  • Bonus resources for advanced students that showcase advanced drawing techniques

Week Two reveals:

  • How lighting can help or hurt your art
  • 3 ingredients for a quality composition
  • How timing can help you up-level your skill

Week Three digs into landscapes and uncovers:

  • The one kind of perspective artists often forget
  • Why the background is just as important as the foreground in your drawing
  • How value can transform your work from an observable drawing to an image jumping off the page

Week Four unveils:

  • The ONE misconception most artists have that hold them back from creating their best work
  • The 5 most common errors people make when drawing people
  • Additional resources for students specifically interested in portraiture and the figure
  • (SPECIAL NOTE HOME SCHOOL EDITION --> In homeschool edition I've made sure lesson content on the human figure only references the clothed form.)


Additionally, Better Drawing Bootcamp offers Bonus Content that shows you 5 different ways to see like an artist and includes one special workshop on helping you be even more accurate in your drawing.

Sometimes you don’t always have access to a teacher or peers to give you the feedback you need. In Better Drawing Bootcamp I show you several ways to help you see your artwork with fresh eyes so you can properly assess the work and be more accurate in your art making.

How do you know Better Drawing Bootcamp is right for you?

Do you want to be better at drawing?

Are you tired of constantly practicing and seeing little or no results from your efforts?

Do you sometimes wonder if you shouldn’t yet promote or market the paintings, sculptures, mixed media artworks you create because you still worry about your skill?

Are you willing to get uncomfortable, a key ingredient of deliberate practice, in order to up-level your skill?

Better Drawing Bootcamp is for artists who have a strong knowing that they can be better, that they deserve to draw confidently and create the art they’ve always felt called to create.

Artists who are willing to put in regular focused practice, commit time, receive feedback and self-assess, these are the artists who will see great strides in their skill development.

Wouldn’t it be empowering, exciting and even a little scary to know you have all the skill you need, and then truly focus on what you want to say?!

Better Drawing Bootcamp Creates Results

If you do all the work, show me the evidence of your efforts (and trust me, after more than 10 years of teaching, and more than 20 of drawing, I know what dedicated effort looks like), and you don’t see improvement in your drawings, you can get 100% of your money back.

I KNOW this works if YOU do the work.

The better question is are you ready for daily, focused, committed, goal-driven practice?

I want you satisfied, I want you to see growth and improvement in your skill. I’m here to help you, but I can’t change your skill: you will by your effort and commitment. *Be sure to post your pre-assessment within the first 7 days of the program start date in the FB group or email it to me at [email protected] to avail yourself of this guarantee.* Guarantee is available to you for up to 40 days from the day of purchase.

I know it can sometimes feel like you plateau in your skill, and that’s all there is.

And that No matter what you do, you will see no new improvement in your skill.

The REAL reason your art skill has plateaued is because you need this formula of deliberate practice.

If you want to draw faster, feel more confident in expressing your ideas, and have foundational art skills that improve ALL the art you create, join Better Drawing Bootcamp today.

Your Instructor

Carrie Brummer
Carrie Brummer
Hi everyone, my name is Carrie (she/her/hers) and I am the facilitator of this space called Artist Strong.
It's part of our larger Artist Strong community, which is dedicated to helping artists build your skill and develop your unique artist voice.
I'm an artist and art teacher, and have been ever since I graduated from college WAAAAY (hehe) back in 2004. I love making my own art, but my heart also sings when I see the wins and hear the ahas students of all ages have when they begin to embrace their art (and heart).
First off, I want to share with you what this community is about, what choices I make for our programming, and how I run all of our spaces. You can read about it here: https://www.artiststrong.com/values/
These values guide not only choices about content I create for people, but also how I expect my students and community members to show up too.
Choosing to be here means you agree to these terms.

I’ve studied Art and Art History at Colgate University as well as completed a masters in Educational Leadership with The George Washington University. I’ve taught art to all ages, from elementary school through to adulthood. Countless people I’ve worked with are told their interest in the arts is trivial.

No more.

In my early 20s I was part of a touring exhibition of artists whose work was exhibited at both The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as The Smithsonian.

My work has been exhibited across the US as well as in United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Canada. Before this, I didn’t think my work was important or valuable (or even really “art”) until I had a gallery showing. Now I know otherwise.

I'm so grateful for this community and space we've built. I hope we continue to all grow and learn together.

Big hugs,

Course Curriculum

  Understanding the Myth of Talent
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  Bonus: Learn how to SEE
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
I want you to get results, not collect a bunch of half-finished online courses. Because this is a self-paced online course I create incentives that make you actually follow through on the content. The course starts now and is available for 60 days. You will not have further access to content after the 60 days unless you have upgraded from the self-study course to Special Unit or Leaders' Track. Content in online courses is only useful if students actually show up and use it. There is a lot of content out there artists sign up for and never complete. I want you to finish. Creating deadlines forces students to commit to doing the work.
How long do I have access to the course?
For the self-paced course you have access for 60 days. Content lasts around 35 days but I want to give you additional time to complete content because life can and does get in our way! If you upgrade to Special Unit or Leaders' Track you have lifetime access to the course content.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
If you do all the work, show me the evidence of your efforts (and trust me, after more than 10 years of teaching, and more than 20 of drawing, I know what dedicated effort looks like), and you don’t see improvement in your drawings, you can get 100% of your money back. I KNOW this works if YOU do the work. The better question is are you ready for daily, focused, committed, goal-driven practice? I want you satisfied, I want you to see growth and improvement in your skill. I’m here to help you, but I can’t change your skill: you will by your effort and commitment. *Be sure to post your pre-assessment within the first 7 days of the program start date in the FB group or email it to me at [email protected] to avail yourself of this guarantee.* Guarantee is available to you for up to 40 days from the day of purchase.
How much time do I need to complete this content?
I’ve designed the course to get you drawing every day in short, focused bursts of practice. You can set aside as little at 15 minutes a day, up to one hour a day. It’s up to you. Additionally there is a weekly assessment that should take around 1 hour to complete.
What is the materials list?
You will need a pencil (any type, I’m not picky), A4 or letter sized paper, a printer to print out image references and a camera to take photos of your art to share and get feedback from me and your peers. If you want to be fancy, you can have an HB or 2B pencil and one 4B, 5B or 6B pencil. This is optional, but will help with your values in your drawings.
What if I’m completely new to drawing?
EVERYONE can benefit from this program. Better Drawing Bootcamp is set up to help anyone, at any level, be better at drawing. It will help you grow, no matter what your current skill level is, and it is designed to help you continue to grow and improve in your skill, if you continue to use the techniques I outline, for as long as you create.
Is there any live component to the course?
Better Drawing Bootcamp: Special Unit and Better Drawing Bootcamp: Leaders Track includes a FB Live Q&A for students in the special pop-up (only open for a short time) FB group. The date and time of this 1 hour Q&A session is TBA.

Get started now!