Sunday, 2 December 2012

Some drawing exercises

After sending off my assignment this week, I have to collect some samples of fashion fabrics for the next part of the course. In my sketchbook I decided to have a go at some of the exercises in The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards (pub. Harper Collins 2008), to get a bit more skilled at drawing what I see.

These exercises were done using a transparent perspex sheet and initially marking some of the edges onto it directly with a felt tip. These are then transferred to the paper so that the shape and size of the drawing is accurate to start with. The idea is to train myself to convert what I see onto a 2D plain, so that eventually I will be able to do this mental trick without needing the perspex.

My left hand - outlines drawn directly onto the perspex.
Yes, my fingers really do taper like that!

Trying out a more difficult arrangement of fingers,
this is what it looks like once the outline has been transferred
to paper, details added, and the inside of the outline shaded.

Using negative spaces to help me to draw a chair.
The only part of this drawn on the perspex
was the rectangle between the front legs. That
was enough to get the sizes and angles of the spaces right. 
I was amazed and delighted at how well these exercises work. What I have learned from doing them is that my inability to draw things as they look truly is because I wasn't looking at them clearly. I really was doing that thing that they tell you not to ie moving my head to see the bits that weren't visible! And letting my logical (left brain) mind tell me that since it was a finger it had to have joints, with approximately equal lengths of finger between them etc, ie stuff that doesn't apply in 2D. The chair was the biggest revelation as I kept finding myself thinking 'no, it can't be that much wider on one side than the other. As if I wasn't believing my own eyes.

I liked the way the book advises you to tone up the paper beforehand - it makes it look rather artistic whatever you draw on top, and you can add highlights just with a rubber. The only problem is when you want to rub out lines it goes all pale, or sooty if you try to retone it afterwards (see chair drawing).

There's obviously some room for more practice, so I'm looking forward to doing that in the Christmas holidays.

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