Be on the lookout for artist Alex Scott of the United Kingdom. He’ll be a part of our upcoming ‘Draw Like a Pro’ series.
We’ve been lucky enough to see his evolution as primarily a portrait artist, and more recently branching out into other media. He has 100+ of his works on his website and has been kind enough to start posting his process for a number of them via time-lapse video.
Alex shares some drawing tips and other advice below, and you can also see him in action by clicking the Video on these Etchings:
Alex, we’ve been lucky enough to see your work and its evolution for a number of years via your ETChster profile. You’re still very young to be so talented. How old are you and what inspires you to draw seriously and frequently?
I started drawing cartoons with my late grandfather when I was about 4 or 5. From the age of about 14, I started drawing more regularly.
I used to watch some of the time-lapse YouTube videos of artists and this made me want to get better.
I now draw on almost a daily basis.
I will be 17 this month.
How many drawings have you done to date? How many hours have you spent honing your craft?
In the last couple of years, I have drawn in excess of 150 finished pieces.
I reckon over the last couple of years I must have spent close to 1000 hours drawing.
Tell us a little bit about your creations. What medium(s) do you prefer and what do you do prior to actually sitting down to draw to get prepared?
I have mainly used colored pencils and most of my drawings tend to be portraits. I have done a number of “pet portraits” and several full-body sports action shots. Recently, I have done a few paintings with acrylic paints, and most recently, my biggest project to date is a mural on the side of our garage!
Prior to drawing – I will get some images of what I would like to draw and then select my pencils.
Tell us about your creative space…where do you go and how do you have things set up to support your work? How do you “get in the zone?”
Here is my drawing zone.
My wardrobe shelf with my clothes parted to one side for my “creative space!” I sit on the end of my bed with a large cushion, and usually have some music on, my iPad is there to display any images I need to use, and I also have some of my current favorite artwork on the wall behind me.
It is very rare that I don’t feel in the mood to draw although I am a keen athlete and train daily, so they are a good balance.
Let’s talk about individual drawings. How do you decide the subject matter for each piece?
My drawings might be based on an image or person I might have seen on YouTube or other social network platforms, mainly to do with my interests, sports, music, tv, and films.
At one point I did do quite a few “commissions” of pets for family and friends, but I am taking a break from this as I was “in demand” and did not want to lose the enjoyment of drawing without the pressure.
If you were to split each creative session into phases, what’s the order and what are you looking to accomplish in each phase?
- I will do a very rough sketch to get the proportions right.
- Then, I always start with the left eye.
- Then, I draw the right eye and connect them.
- Next is the nose and mouth.
- After that the chin, cheek, ears, and forehead.
- Next the hair.
- Finally, the neck, followed (depending on the image) by shoulders/clothing.
Do you typically complete a work of art in a single session or split it up?
I always split the drawing into sessions, so one session might be the initial sketch and left eye.
I will stop at one of the points when I start to lose interest, but I might come back again two or three times in the same day.
We have many artists who are just getting started and want to learn how to draw better. Any tips on how to develop drawing skills for someone just getting started?
If you are getting started, I think it is important to use a white pencil predominately in your work because it is very effective at blending and can improve your work immensely.
You seem to have mastered life-like eyes in your portraits. Any tips for other artists on how to approach eyes?
When drawing eyes, it is assumed that the eyeball is white; however, that is a common misconception.
I think the most important part is using a grey to show the shadow, as the eye is recessed, so it is always darker than white.
Then, it is important to add a reflection in the eye with a white pen as the eye is a wet object.
We hear you’ve recently started creating murals as well. What’s your mural creation process? How can fans see your murals?
Yep, my first mural! Inspired by a trip to Los Angeles which is full of wall murals and also the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas.
You need to make sure you have a clean canvas – so I cleaned the area and then used white paint to cover it to provide a neutral background. I then project my image I had planned onto the wall and sketch it with pencil. I then paint the background first and leave the foreground until the end. Check out my finished mural on ETChster and the link to the video image.
You’ve had a lot of success using Twitter to grab strangers’ attention and then directing them to your ETChster profile for the “Wow!” moment when they see your art portfolio. Any tips on Twitter marketing or other art business tips you’d like to share?
On Twitter, you want to be the first to reply to a celebrity tweet. I put on notifications for anyone I have drawn, so I can reply with an image of my drawing the quickest. Then more people can see it and hopefully like it. Clearly, when it gets likes – it takes it back to the top. If you don’t get any likes for a while it will disappear so you can retweet it again.
At this time I will share my ETChster profile, inviting people to look at my other work. My ambition with all my drawings is to get them noticed and liked by the individuals I have drawn. To date, Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Marcus Rashford (Premier League footballer) Morgan Freeman, and the Chicago Redbulls (to name a few) have recognized and shared my work.
I once drew Oscar Goodman, the former Mayor of Las Vegas, and tweeted it. The Plaza Hotel saw the Tweet and invited me and my family to Oscar’s Steakhouse, and I also got to visit his office.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about Alex’s Twitter technique in Twitter for Artists & Other Social Media Strategies You Can Use.
What’s around the corner for Alex Scott? Care to share any of your artistic goals?
In the future – I would like to be able to sell my drawings and paintings and be a millionaire!
Stay tuned for more drawing tips from Alex Scott and others in our upcoming series, Draw Like a Pro.
- Have follow-up questions?
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Post them in the comments!
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