Tuesday, December 13, 2011

After working so hard at drawing from observation, for a little creative fun, we invented our own money! We tried to illustrate specific values, geographical or cultural features for our own imaginary country. We practiced using the process of trial-drawings first (3 coin sketched then 3 bill sketches) before completing our favorite idea to a finished piece.

Our Cultural Specialist, John Smith, introduced us to the moietes of Tlingit culture and showed us how to draw some of the basic motifs used in the distinctive style of Northwest Coast Native Design, like the ovoid, u-form, s-curve and trigon. We learned that Raven artists design for Eagle clans and Eagle artists design for raven clans. After practicing a step-by-step Raven or Eagle head, we created our own design, or copied a master design, and carved it from rubber cove molding, donated to TMHS by Valley Lumber (Thank you, Valley Lumber!). This was easy to carve with lino-cutters, giving us an idea of what might go into carving traditional designs from wood. We were then able print our designs multiple times, so we could try to unify our designs in table groups, and as a full class. This exercise helped us understand that a strong, unified form-line design is not just a collection of random images made of ovoids and u-forms, but a thoughtful design process, constantly balancing negative and positive space for harmonious effect and emphasis.

After completing some step-by-step worksheets on one-point and two-point perspective in our sketchbooks, students were challenged to use these formulas for creating a vast sense of space in their own, fantasy landscapes. If you'd like to try your own, or need a reference to help you remember how to employ Linear Perspective for accurate drawings of deep, spatial relationships, check-out these You-tube tutorials on My Drawing Tuturials:

A lot has happened since we finished our Major Charcoal Still-life!
Most recently, guest artist Gerri Marquardt helped us learn how to draw with light, using white charcoal on black paper, instead of drawing shadows with black on light. These are some of our White-on-Black drawings:

Gerri Marquardt is currently helping us draw with color pastels. We studied the color wheel, how primaries mix to make secondaries, and if we use a combination of all three primaries we can make browns or grays. We can use this mixing experience to help us use color for specific effect. We can create harmony or unity with analagous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel), we can use complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel) to create contrast or emphasis. Mixing complementary colors creates neutral colors, like gray and brown. If a color in our drawing look too "flat" or cartoon-like, we can mix a little of it's complementary color into it to neutralize it.
This is an interesting way to create shadows. There are a couple of different theories on how to create shadow and form with color. For still-life, some artists use cool colors for shadows and warm colors for highlights, but if you're drawing with outdoor light, cool colors might come forward, and warm colors sit back. Whatever the case, when working on black paper, start with the darkest colors first, and build up to your lights. Be careful with pastels, though - they can "fill the tooth" of the paper if you put them on too heavy too fast!