Teach Yourself to Draw With ‘Pokemon!’ (No Products Needed)

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My kids surprised me recently with their own advancements in drawing. No coloring books, no how-to-draw lessons, just Pokémon. Yes, Pokémon; our favorite little monsters have become the focus of my kids’ drawings, recently. They are shy, so I won’t be able to share their drawings, but please know that they blow me away. Despite the plethora of learn-to-draw resources, including a line of books specifically using Pokemon to teach drawing concepts, my kids needed nothing but their own spark of interest and an image on Bulbapedia to go on.

I’ve wanted to get back into drawing for a long time. I do most of my work on the computer, because I’ve always been a terrible sketcher. I have shaky hands and there’s no ‘Ctrl+z’ option with pen and paper. But my kids taught be about this old-school piece of tech called the eraser. Apparently, it’s okay to erase your entire drawing if you don’t like it. Seriously, that never occurred to me. I cannot tell you how many sheets of paper I’ve wasted because I didn’t like the result. Maybe I could justify experimenting if I wasn’t wasting so much paper. I convinced myself to try it, and set myself a second Pokémon challenge: To draw all 700+ (and growing) Pokemon.

My plan is pretty simple: Draw a single Pokemon family each day. A Pokémon family is a single Pokémon and all the Pokémon that can evolve from or into it. It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect, and I’ll not be coloring them. I just have to draw them, that’s all. I started with #001 (Bulbasaur), and I’ll go all the way to #? (We’ll know after Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon come out). It started pretty shaky. I was disappointed with my initial efforts. The starter Pokémon lineup was there to mock me, right out the door:

Not my best work, eh? Well, I had to start somewhere. And that’s all I’ve done, really: I’ve started. So far, I’ve done 70 different drawings, but since these drawings include alternate forms (like mega-evolution), I’ve only reached #059. Because of these extra images, there will be many more than 700 drawings. As I went along, I surprised myself a few times. At first, I was stuck on making them all as great as they can be, but I started to notice some patterns. In the images above, you can probably tell that I have some trouble with curves. All the rounded bits are the wrong shape, and don’t relate to each other very well. Let’s follow up with Charmander’s evolved form, Charizard.

Image: Rory Bristol
Image: Rory Bristol

Now that looks like something, no? I found, pretty quickly, that curves might throw me, but things with lots of directional changes and angles are much easier for me to recreate. I really thought I was getting ahead, you know? Identify the weaknesses, and move on. Then, along came Persian.

Image: Rory Bristol
Image: Rory Bristol

Persian is my least successful Pokémon drawing. I couldn’t get it right (as evidenced by the many erased lines in the background), not matter what I did. Finally, I reminded myself that I don’t have to be perfect. Isn’t that a freeing thought, too? I worked on forgiving myself, and kept going. So far, I’ve made it to Arcanine. That means I’ve done 70 drawings. Arcanine is Pokémon #059. The other 11 drawings included baby forms, including Pichu, and Mega Evolutions for those Pokémon with the ability to Mega Evolve. Take a look at my favorites:

To see all 70 drawings, check out the gallery on my personal website. I’d like to challenge you to find something, anything that you love, and try to draw it. It’s never to late to learn to draw. So grab your pens, and go!

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