Ethan Moran is a portrait artist based in Galway, Ireland. An avid drawer with over fifteen years experience, Ethan currently teaches art through an Irish youth organisation, passing on his skills and passion to the next generation. He has now teamed with Alison to spread his knowledge globally by producing an exciting new course entitled How to Draw.
The course is the ideal starting point for budding artists seeking to learn drawing skills, one of the fundamental building blocks for artists interested in any medium. From an understanding of the materials to the finer points of technique, this course covers everything. Ethan spoke to the Alison Blog about how he started drawing, what fascinates him about the skill, and why he’s excited to share what he has learned with others.
Hi Ethan, tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ethan Moran. I’m 21 years old and I live in Galway, Ireland. I’m interested in all sorts of art and media but I’m particularly captivated by drawing.
How did you get into drawing?
I remember about the age of 5 I started tracing the line drawings from my colouring books onto separate sheets of paper by holding them both up to the window. After a while of doing this, I began to research drawing on YouTube. I watched every drawing tutorial and drawing-related video in the hopes of getting better and one day being able to draw like the people in the videos. It went from simple cartoons to human line drawings and then on to realistic renders of the human form. The deeper I went, the more love I had for the subject, and this continued to push me to strive for more.
Are you self-taught or how did you learn to be an artist?
Yes, I am self-taught. I tried going to drawing and painting classes but found they weren’t for me. I understand that for some people the structure of a course is very helpful, however I like to experiment myself and gain skills and knowledge through trial and error.
What is it you enjoy about being a portrait artist?
I enjoy being a portrait artist because it gives me a good outlet for my drawing abilities. It’s also a very interesting experience to draw someone as you look at them for hours and hours and try to recreate them on a page. It’s as if you get to know them without ever speaking to them. Portraiture is a constant challenge, no two drawings are ever the same and I really like that.
Have you had any experience teaching?
Yes, I am currently working with a youth organisation called Foróige. My role is to help the kids explore art through different mediums and get them to enjoy themselves. This can be anything from self-portraits done with pencil to clay modelling or even outdoor murals on walls.
What is it you enjoy about sharing your knowledge and skill?
I find sharing my knowledge to be very rewarding. There’s obviously always going to be some children who have no interest in art and that’s perfectly OK, but it’s when you see the one or two that try it out for the first time, enjoy it and come back for more that you really feel like you’re making a difference. It’s amazing to think that through advice and patience you can impart a skill to somebody, help them develop it and that it may go on to change their life.
Why would you recommend getting in to drawing?
I would recommend learning to draw because it has changed my life. Even from a young age I found it to be a fantastic outlet. It really provided focus. Once you pick up a pencil you constantly strive to get better. Once you commit and put the effort in you can really impress yourself and gain a level of skill you never thought was possible. I truly believe that everyone has the ability to draw, it simply depends on variables such as the amount of time you have available to commit, how you learn, and how much you want to learn. If you take the time, find a way of learning that suits you and genuinely want to learn how to draw, then you will learn how to draw. Drawing can be both thrilling and relaxing. It can be both frustrating and fulfilling. Through all the hiccups along the way, I have found learning to draw to be the best journey I have ever undertaken.
What’s the hardest skill to master when it comes to drawing?
I feel the hardest skill to master when it comes to drawing is finding your own style. I see many artists who simply copy the styles of others, add a slight twist and then are content to call it their own. The real challenge when it comes to art is creating something that is uniquely yours, something that people look at and say “Wow, I’ve never seen something like that before”. This truly is the most difficult part. Learning to draw can be a linear process but learning and creating your own style is a journey of self discovery that only you can undertake.
What was it like creating courses with Alison?
Creating the course with Alison was a great experience. It has taught me things like time management, course structuring, and video editing. I feel like Alison is a fantastic platform to share all the tips that I have learned with budding artists. The staff and everyone behind the scenes were also super friendly and helpful which made it a very easy project to undertake. The course I have created has modules and lessons based around everything from the basics of pencils to the advanced drawing of realistic images. I’ve incorporated every little trick I have to help escalate your drawing abilities faster than you ever could have imagined.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently restoring some life-size religious statues for a local church. I’m doing everything from sculpting to painting. It’s a phenomenal experience and I’m learning a lot along the way.
What plans have you for the future, both as an artist and as a teacher?
My plans for the future are unclear if I’m honest. I intend to teach art and drawing classes in person, restore more statues, and maybe create a few of my own along the way. But right now I’m just going with the flow and trying to enjoy myself the best that I can.