It's a face! A skull! A mushroom! Psychedelic drawing lesson

Katana Leigh sez, "I want to provide memorable ways to learn to draw that are interesting and visually entertaining. The proportions of a red spotted button mushroom are the same as a skull and these LSD colors provide maximum contrast so you can see the process and hopefully copy it. Not your boring art lessons but a new way to think about seeing."

How To Draw A Skull 2: when a mushroom is like a face (Thanks, Katana!)


  1. Kimmo, what would make this better? It is supposed to be simple, not too complex; but I don’t want it to be DULL. Would love suggestions. 

    1. Since you are asking for feedback – It’s not bad, but you run the risk with this sort of thing of teaching people to see the face as a 2D symbol that they can draw from one pov, without understanding its 3D structure and being able to mentally rotate and redraw it. You have another video where you develop the idea from multiple poses. I think you need to push more into that direction.

  2. I think you’re right. One of the biggest problems with individuals drawing is they get stuck on a few simple 2D symbols; and those symbols are necessary but have to be expanded upon. Like the Chineasy TED talk, the symbols are simple to start with but have to be transcended to get a full language (Chinese, or just a personal visual language). There has to be a visual memory bank before one can even begin to interpret the 3D. Thanks Joseph; I will develop that 3D rotatation understanding in future videos because I really agree with your point. 

    1. Hmmm… well for me none of the typical “tricks” worked well. Drawing circles with crosses (or mushrooms that actually don’t look that much like real mushrooms) can only get you so far. 

      TBH people probably learn more about drawing a human face by drawing an actual mushroom that they see in front of them. To me, and honestly from person to person it varies what is helpful, I found mass gesture to be the best gateway into getting a grip on things. For me, getting too bogged down in trying to get the lines right caused me almost always to distort the image in some way, usually by making it “right” in my mind. Now drawing is not my strongest artistic skill to this day, but I definitely found that trying to describe the mass and general shape of a figure was the first step in being able to refine that and understand things like foreshortening. For instance, when you start adding the detail in the nose you are actually adding the sense of mass through color application. This is hard for people. They have to get the *idea* of translating things they see to things on a page. 

      It wouldn’t make a very good video but one good exercise is to look at something (anything) for a long time, and visually trace around every part of it like you were tracing it with a pencil. You don’t even have to draw for that one. I guess the thing is, you say that people need a lexicon of visual memory but I am not so sure. I think people need to learn to understand how they see. Besides a personal visual language doesn’t need to be representational.

  3. Yes; this is more of a party trick. I have taught it successfully in person (of course, with a much slower pace) … but the traditional methods are not as ‘fun’ — once someone gets the ‘fun’ back into their arts practice, they will naturally seek out more high brow ways to get it done. I don’t see the difference between a personal visual language and understanding what they see — the personal visual language can anchor what they see. And a personal visual language that is not representational becomes abstraction, which is instinctive and repressed once people get the idea their drawing needs to ‘look like’ stuff. One of the most freeing things I have done as an artist is coloring with special needs people — they enjoy it more than I do and have taught me a ton about intuitive use of color because its FUN! regular drawing lessons are NOT fun. Meditative, yes, Fun, not so much. We need more fun. 

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