What it is.
The Rapid Failure method is a technique for memorizing the combinations of simple forms that, when combined together, create something complex. Everything we perceive can broken down into simple shapes, which is a key principle in drawing. If we memorize those shapes we can develop a mental roadmap that allows us to depict whatever we want, whenever we want.
I developed this technique while looking for a way to incorporate spaced repetition in drawing, thus allowing me to draw from memory. I wanted something simple and quick and so far, it’s worked. Here’s how to do it.
How to do it.
- Attempt to draw the object from memory, as best you can.
- The drawing will no doubt be abysmal, but it’s important that you record a starting point for later comparison.
- Open up Google and look for clear and precise reference photos, all from various angles.
- Don’t dive too deep into details or anatomy just yet — look for large forms that you can commit to memory.
- Compare the reference to your previous attempts.
- Put the reference away and draw the object from memory.
- Focus on one or two major shapes, and draw them several times from several angles.
- Look for your mistakes a calibrate accordingly.
- If you feel inclined, try drawing the entire object.
Once you understand how to draw a dog, that knowledge is transferable to every single quadruped that lives or has lived on planet Earth.
As the name implies, it’s important that you move rapidly. But when I say rapid, I don’t mean move the pen as fast as you can — it means to not stop, to move steadily and continuously and to fail with purpose.
Use a pen. It should be obvious that you’re not going to be erasing anything, and you want your lines to be bold and visible.
Working this way provides some great benefits…
- When you fail on purpose, the fear of getting it wrong evaporates.
Improves line quality.
- Line quality comes from confidence and control.
Increased awareness of form.
- Form is paramount to a good drawing.
- If you focus only on large shapes, you’ll naturally become bias towards depicting form over detail ( which is a good thing ).
The shape, form and construction of various objects is transferable.
- Once you understand how to draw a dog, that knowledge is transferable to almost every single quadruped living on planet Earth.
If you have any questions, agreements or feel like antagonizing me, or a way this technique can be altered and enhanced, do me a solid by leaving a comment below.
Good luck, and have fun failing.