Spending a good amount of time drawing something I intend to paint often helps me in the long run. I have a good idea of how I am going to tackle it, I've made some mistakes and identified the areas that are going to be difficult for me. It's not 100% but it does increase the probability of success. Working as a realist, drawing is the skeleton upon which I build my image.
I had this idea of doing a triple portrait of my son and I've made these drawings ahead of starting the painting. If you would allow me to be my own worst critic I will tell you the difficulty I had in drawing these.
I had to spend a lot of time developing the structure I was going to build my drawing on. That is to make sure that this reads as a solid head, all the parts are in there proper place and properly aligned, the nose, the ears, the eyes, the mouth. I ripped a couple of pages out of my sketchbook and started over again and what I ended up with may not be perfect but they were the efforts of a good struggle against mediocrity. They were honestly the best I could do at the time.
The second drawing was a lot harder to do because of the extreme facial expression. It could very easily have looked like a caricature or just a bad drawing. I don't think it looks like a caricature and I feel I have to live with it for a while before I declare it a bad drawing, but as a stepping stone toward the final painting it was helpful. I can look at it and consider what works and what I might want to do differently. The most obvious difficulty is in drawing / painting the mouth and teeth. Jason has a long face, but it kind of looks like I squeezed that area of the mouth in. It does not rest comfortably in the rest of the drawing. I will have to resolve that before I attempt the painting.
One important bit of advise. It is important when you ask someone what they think of your drawing that you go to a person who will give you an honest critique. Close friends and family will think its more important to pat you on the back and say that you are being to hard on yourself- that what you've done is good enough. That's nice but you will never get any better that way. At the same time someone being insultingly honest does you no good either, though it would be better than the first.. We are all in the same struggle to improve.
Be humble as you learn and be humble as you teach.
The following are different quotes about drawing I've collected from different internet sources.
-on Leonardo da Vinci...
It is often said that Leonardo drew so well because he knew about things; it is truer to say that he knew about things because he drew so well. (Sir Kenneth Clark)
Drawing is the artist's most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality. (Edgar Degas)
Draw everywhere and all the time. An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached. (Irwin Greenberg)
One must keep right on drawing; draw with your eyes when you cannot draw with a pencil. (Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres)
Drawing is the probity of art. To draw does not mean simply to reproduce contours; drawing does not consist merely of line: drawing is also expression, the inner form, the plane, modeling. See what remains after that. (Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres)
Draw, Antonio, draw – draw and don't waste time! (Michelangelo)
Drawing is the skeleton of what you do and color is its flash. (Nicolas Poussin)
You can never do too much drawing. (Tintoretto)
Beautiful colours can be bought in the shops on the Riato, but good drawing can only be bought from the casket of the artist's talent with patient study and nights without sleep. (Tintoretto)
Draw every day for at least half an hour. If you don't feel like it then draw until you do. (Author unknown)
One good drawing is worth more than one hundred bad drawings. (Irwin Greenberg).
The artist Andy Warhol explained to Albert Dorne, “Art must transcend mere drawing.”
“Pardon me, Andy,” Dorne interrupted, “but there’s nothing all that f***ing mere about drawing.”