Restarting Drawabox

Created on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 12:15:33 PM
Updated on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 6:36:12 AM
Posted under Art

Welcome to the 🎨 Art page! Here I'm going to log my progress through Drawabox, a free online art fundamentals course created by Irshad Karim, a.k.a. Uncomfortable.

The previous attempt

Last year I got up until the beginning of Lesson 3, which covered constructing plants, before burning out sometime in early December.

Here are the three submissions I made:

It's been a while since I touched Drawabox so my memory isn't too great, but I do remember there were a few key mistakes that I made. First, I wasn't consistent with my practice. I'd rush into it spending a great many hours every day on it, especially on longer exercises such as the 250 Box Challenge. This would work great for at most a week or two, but eventually I'd lose my motivation and decide to take a break from Drawabox. Invariably, it'd be two weeks or more before I'd return to it and I'd have lost practice of most of what I learned.

Thinking that I'd forgotten too much, I'd restart what I was doing and repeat the cycle of spending tons of time on Drawabox, burning out, and quitting for a couple weeks. That's why it took all the way until October to finish the 250 Box Challenge after submitting the first lesson at the end of June: I wasn't consistent, and my short bursts of work weren't sustainable. Due to my several restarts, I probably ended up drawing far more boxes than 250 and took over three months to complete the exercise. If I had approached it in a more sustainable fashion, I probably could have gotten through in a month.

What I did wrong: The 50% rule

Likely the number one reason why my previous attempt at Drawabox was a failure was because I foolishly ignored the 50% rule, even though I knew about it:

at least half of the time you spend drawing must be devoted to drawing purely for its own sake. Not to learn, not to improve, not to develop your skills, not even to apply what you've already learned. [...] Draw the things you'd draw if you were the most skilled artist in the world; draw the things your brain insists you're not ready to tackle just yet.

Although the Drawabox exercises are fun and interesting, at the end of the day they are still work, and their primary purpose is to improve skills, not to be entertaining. So, when you get to a part which isn't fun and where your motivation and willpower are already depleted from going all-in on previous sections, you're simply going to get burnt out.

Besides getting into the habit of drawing for drawing's sake, the 50% rule helps make sure that you keep in practice of drawing even when you're taking a break from the exercises. In addition, if you're having fun it should in theory motivate you to continue Drawabox.

The only issue, however, is that pulling off the 50% rule is quite difficult both conceptually and practically for someone like me, who doesn't really have much drawing ability prior to Drawabox. For example, I'd like to learn how to draw people among other things as an end goal, but I don't have any clue even where to start. I don't know anything about anatomy and very little about construction, so what's the point in even trying? I think going straight to one's end goal in the beginning for the 50% rule is biting off more than one can chew.


I'm going to start off trying what I did for a bit in the beginning of this April, which is trying to quickly sketch various things and animals from image references, for example the foxes above. It was a really fun exercise, and certainly easier than trying to do people. My attempts turned out a lot better than I thought they would.

This page

Well, I think that's about it for this post. It's mostly for myself, quickly going over the mistakes I made in my last attempt of Drawabox and what things I should do differently this time. I'm hoping to post all of the drawing practice and exercises I do in the future here, to make a log of sorts of my progress. Hopefully having a log will be good motivation.