Class Notes – Expressive Drawing 4/24/2009

charcoal and white pastel on greyscale paper

charcoal and white pastel on greyscale paper

Concepts presented:

  • working directly from a still life is a great way to practice getting proportions correct
  • I began this by sketching in the basic form of the center object and using it as a guide for sizing the objects next to it
  • the first thing to consider is the initial object’s proportion to itself and its size on paper relative to its size in real life (scale)
  • the scale of this drawing is approximately 3/4 of actual size or .75:1, scale can be thought of as a ratio
  • personally, I prefer to draw still lifes 1:1 or close to that ratio such as here where I made the objects in the drawing just slightly smaller
  • once you’ve established the scale of your drawing, you need to make sure the proportions of the first object are correct
  • parts of the object can be used to help you check proportions, for example, the width of the jug relative to its height, etc.
  • once you have the first object in place, use landmarks on it to establish how the remaining objects relate to it in terms of proportion
  • in this case the ellipse of the pitcher on the right comes up to the “shoulder” of the jug, the ball on top of the teapot comes up to the shoulder on the other side, etc.
  • establish the height of the objects next to the main one and then use the objects themselves to determine proportion the way you did on the first object (compare height to width of specific parts, etc.)
  • after your objects are blocked in, begin your shading from dark to light, block in values with the side of the charcoal, save the highights for last
  • practice like this will train your eye to “see” proportions–measuring and other methods are fine for checking accuracy, but the best way to enhance your skills is to practice getting it right “by eye”, the more you do it, the easier it will become, it is also a much more natural and pleasurable way to draw
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