Monday, October 31, 2011

drawing studies

Value studies in our sketchbooks: Each student drew from real objects at their table with a strong light source. One study is done blending graphite, another is done with cross-hatching to achieve different values, and the last is done with stippling, for a "pointilist" drawing. Stippling works best in pen, but we had to deal with bleed-through in our sketchbooks. 

sighting perspective

We used a clear plastic picture frame to help us determine our composition. We learned to use our pencil to "dial-up" the angles, comparing them to the horizontal and vertical frame lines. Sometimes our mind insists angles work differently, according to what we think we know about shape and form (especially parallel geometric forms). Practicing sighting angles with a picture plane helps us learn to trust our eye over our mind for better 3D realism. 

We also learned to use our pencil or even a ruler, with our arm fully extended and one eye closed, to measure the proportions of things on our picture plane against a "basic unit." "If one edge of the furthest ceiling tile is as long as my pencil's eraser, how many ceiling tile-units, or reaser-units long is the window as it comes out of the corner...?" In this way, as the size of things change in their proximity to us, we can keep things roughly in proportion. 

student doodles

We do get time in class to just doodle! Students can take their sketchbooks home to finish work they start on their own, too. Here's a little sample of some impressive self-driven sketchbook work...

composition sequence

It's good practice to think about how you approach drawing. Here, students illustrate how they go about drawing something.  There are so many ways to draw. If you're drawing from memory, or real-life, or a photograph, its good to be flexible and try new approaches. 

Later, as we worked on our still-life project, we thought about drawing like building a house (analogy thanks to Deborah Rockman, "The Art Of Teaching Drawing"2000):
Start with an overall foundation - this might be a rough sketch or gesture drawing, to map out the major shapes on the paper. Then, build your framework - check that angles and proportions are relatively accurate, otherwise your "walls, floor, and ceiling" won't be strong. Finally, begin adding sheetrock (check for strongest shadows and major light sources), then paint (variety of shadow and highlight), and lastly details like carpet (textures), lights (ambient light) switchcovers (more and more refining details), etc... 
Trying to build a house by taking each room from foundation to completion before starting the next room almost guarantees a lack of unity in the end. 


comp sequence
comp sequence

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Students used a plastic picture plane to see tricks of proportion in extreme foreshortening

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Students draw from a skeleton we have posed in the classroom - We are looking for useful negative space, and learning how to use charcoal. 

Some students got to participate in an exercise where we worked on one-another's canvas - 3 un-known artists all working on the same artwork, changing canvases randomly every 3 minutes and working with a specific directive, like "Use big, fast bold gesture drawing," then "Use detailed blind-contour drawing," and finally "Draw one bold line horizontally through your canvas, following a line that goes through your skeleton and off the page on the opposite side."