Monday, September 12, 2011

Art Fest 2010

Last year it was in Petersburg - This Year it's in Craig! Craig and Klawock have been holding high awards at Art Fest in the last few years thanks to their exceptional native carving programs. It'll be a treat to see these students and teachers operating on their home turf. Here's are two TMHS students at the 2010 Art Fest in Haines, where one of the top student works judged came from the puppet-making workshop.

Making a Personal Hardbound Sketchbook

In Ridgway's experience, students take better care of a sketchbook they've made themselves. It serves as a means of communication between teacher and student, gives the student a place for a smooth development of their own ideas and drawing skills, and supports stronger portfolio-building habits.

A shout out to Mr. Russell at Seaside High in California for sharing this recipe with Ridgway! Also MANY, MANY, MANY thanks to all the kind folks at AK Litho for helping trim the paper, saving Ridgway many hours of work at the paper-cutter.

Click here for the slide-show movie on the process!
(This slide show is still under construction, but it helps folks outside understand what we do for the first 2 weeks of Drawing class:)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Practicing Different Line Styles as Value Scales

As you can see - even when we record what we see pretty accurately, everyone has their own line-style. It's been developing all our lives, and may be the signature style for which we become world renowned! Still, we can experiment with line style, and cultivate what we like in our own style, by practicing different styles. Here are some simple value-scales experimenting with different line-qualities.

Face-Vase exercises gone WILD!

In the same way the upside-down drawing helps trigger the best frame of mind for drawing, this face-vase symmetry exercise helps you experience a shift in brain dominance. Practicing this helps encourage us through the struggle "to find the flow."

Upside Down Clowns

Often when we try to draw what we see, our minds' idea of what we are drawing obscures our ability to see it clearly. Working from a picture, we can turn the subject upside-down to confound the part of our brain that wants to decipher and categorize with language and symbols. Once that part of our brain gives up trying to control what we see, the visual-spatial part of our brain is allowed to follow and replicate the simple lines and shapes in relative space on the page, usually creating a more accurate (though rarely perfect!) reproduction of our subject.

Blind Contour - Palms

Another way to "confound" that dominant part of your brain that wants to rush everything, is to draw something of such minute detail, and obscured value as the wrinkles in the palm of your hand. Better yet - draw them without looking at your paper, AT ALL - this is called "Blind Contour Drawing." 
Turn your body so you can't see even the table your paper is on (tape your paper down so it doesn't move, because your other hand won't be able to hold it down).  Relax the hand you don't draw with and hold it still, as you look into it. As if there were a caliper linking your eyeball with your drawing hand (which is resting on the un-see-able paper, with sharpened pencil ready) follow the tiny lines that lace through your palm and around your knuckles, recording these tiny lines with your pencil, like a geiger-counter recording the movements of your eye.  Don't bother with an overall outline - the objective is to record all those little lines, not draw a picture of your hand.  Make yourself do this, uninterrupted, for 5 minutes. Even babies have more than enough lines in their palm to draw in that amount of time. 

If you didn't know what these drawings were, you might not be able to tell, but the lines here still show intense concentration and focus. They even depict form. Knowing the lines of your hand so well, you'll recognize them and realize the accuracy you were able to achieve! This is reward in itself, for the disciplined focus you endured, and will likely stimulate interest in more contour drawing - After a few of these, try drawing a simple inanimate object, like a binder clip. You;ll be surprised by how realistic and 3D your simple line drawing can be with the practice of this technique in your drawing tool kit.  NOW you know what we mean when we say "learning to draw id first learning to see..."

Blind Contour - Clips