I’m trying to learn how to draw in general. Started with the Betty Edwards book from /ic/, now I’m just doing flowers, birds, and nature scenes off google.
One thing that really struck me though, is how shitty american art classes are. From Elementary to High school none of the teachers actually taught us anything. How to hold a pencil, shape/color relations, shading, basic perspective.
We worked on a bunch of disparate projects with no overlapping skills, usually just following the instructions given to us rather than working on fundamentals. The classes are full of What to do, but not the Why, or often the How. So my classmates and I learned absolutely nothing. Fuck, I was still drawing the sky as a blue line at the top of the page when I was 9, and only changed because a CLASSMATE told me how to do it properly.
Want to learn? You either need wealthy parents to hire someone who will do what the school is supposed to be doing, or you learn entirely on your own. And learning on your own is hard, it's hard to find advice on anything but general questions and it's very different reading about something and then actually doing it, given how much of art relies on technique. It's discouraging looking at something and not knowing how to represent it, or to look at a finished work and not know what you're doing wrong.
I'm doing a pastel piece on water lilies and fuck me if I can figure out why the colors on my scrap paper are entirely different than what shows up on my actual drawing. Then there's the nightmare of realizing that white lily petals are really just a bunch of gray shades, and now you can't look at the subject picture without it devolving into an indecipherable mess of gray blotches.
It's very frustrating that art teachers who are supposed to, you know, teach you how to do art, discourage a basic technique that can help a lot. Then complain that you, a kid, aren't doing original works no one has taught you how to do.