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In this drawing lesson we demonstrate that while cross-contour studies aren’t used directly in an artwork

doing this kind of study can help you train your eyes to see things you might not otherwise see in your work.

Half the work of being an artist is training our eyes to “see.”

“The human brain can process 11 million bits of information every second.” (Source).

That is A LOT of information. Can you imagine if we consciously realized this? I imagine we wouldn’t be able to walk, or eat, or do much of anything if we consciously digested all of that stimuli. This is why our brain filters information. It tries to assess what is the most important for us to observe and what we should filter out. 

This is why we need to train our eyes as artists, and why (my conclusion here) some people are likely predisposed to art.

Think about it. If you grew up in a family that always had you taking note of details in your environment, you were from a young age encouraged to see some of the things artists also observe. This would absolutely help your ability to draw realistically.

So not only is drawing an important foundation for exploring other artist materials and building on techniques you learn, it is literally training your eyes and brain to take note of details it may have previously overlooked.

I hope you enjoy these great examples of not only cross-contour studies but also lovely examples of still life studies which all can help you improve your art.

Now it’s your turn: share your biggest aha in the comments below.

And if you feel feedback like this from my program Self-Taught to Self-Confident could help you or that you have gaps in your art foundations, take my free quiz, “Which of these beginner drawings mistakes are you making?” here: https://quiz.artiststrong.com/sf/d74b29e6