JayD’s Basic 101 Drawing :Class1

Introduction Welcome to Basics 101. I have to warn you that these first few sessions will be boring but they will pay off for you if you do the projects and take advantage of the companion guest lecture series. Each class will be divided into three sections.: 1. I will present the subject and do a demonstration. You may either follow the demonstration or improvise one of your own as long as you stay on track for the class. 2.. You will present the result of your class assignment and talk about the process and any problems that you had doing the assignment. All members of the class may participate with comments during this phase. Also, at this phase, you may also present questions to me, which the class may answer, either I will answer or non-class participants may answer. 3. The Guest Lecture Series—this series can be found at http://www.artgraphica.net/free-art...wing-basics.htm Members of Wet Canvas have volunteered to provide demonstrations pertinent to the class material. I encourage you to check out this useful archive. Right now the lectures are only a few but more will be coming so make sure that you constantly check back for the lecture. If you have something that you might feel will contribute to the lecture series, please contact either Gavin (Zarathrustra) or myself by pm and we will tell you how to get set up for the series. One other thing—DO the demonstrations that have been posted—you can only benefit from doing them. NOTE: this is a mechanics class so we are sticking to the bare basics here and we should make an effort to limit philosophical opinions. Now, on to the class:

Why Drawing is Important Drawing is planning. Much of the success of any piece of art depends largely on how well it has been planned. Planning in art is dependent upon drawing and the final look of a finished piece will dictate how piece will look. I remember reading passage upon passage in watercolor instructions (Ray Smith for example) and publications like “Watercolor Magic” where great emphasis is placed upon drawing—the idea being that no matter how strong your technical skills are in your chosen media, if you have not rendered a fine initial drawing your piece will look amateurish, unfinished or empty. This is an arguable point when you look at, say, the works of humorists like James Thurber or Jules Pffeifer whose drawings are less then awe inspiring. However, they have taken their seeming INABILITY to draw and have meshed with their words so that not only is their humor in the words but there is humor in the drawing—the two blend and that is what drawing must do for you it must blend so that only your intended idea is not distracted by a weak hand, much like a choir with the Sopranos, Altos, Bass and Tenors, your drawing are songs and the drawing and the media technique are the harmony produced. The Masters knew this fact and as Jose Parramon writes “drawing is the mother and the father of all arts”. Drawing has long been entwined in the

traditions of techniques such as painting, architecture, sculpture and even in such visual endeavors as film making. As a woodcarver, I create a three dimensional drawing, turn it into a two dimensional pattern, transfer the patter to my block of wood, bandsaw out the the shape and begin, using my gouges to shape the piece. The entire time I am carving, I will be REDRAWING or restating the drawing so that my cutting does not throw me off track. Drawing is the dawn of the artistic process.. Lesson 1 We now come to Basic 101 which will emphasize breaking the drawing down into its geometric components, creating a harmony and finally a piece that will sing the artist’s song. A word of caution: there are many different ways to approach this subject and just as many popular books. There may be personal philosophical issues regarding drawing that do not mesh with what I am writing. I ask that you put aside the philosophies and just take this class for what it is—a mechanics class to help you to better envision your own personal approach. Source material The textbook that we will be using is How to Draw What You See by Rudy de Reyna. In preparing this course I have drawing from other sources such as Bert Dobson’s Keys to Drawing, Gene Frank’s Pencil Drawing (Walter Foster), Pencil Drawing Techniques edited by David Lewis, Barnes and Nobles’ Drawing: A Step by Step Guide, Drawing in Pencil by Jose Parramon. Hence, if I seem to be veering off with courses that you cannot find in the book, rest assured that I am drawing upon other related sources.

Materials: 1. How to Draw What You See by Rudy de Reyna (This is an optional requirement) 2. A number two office pencil(equivalent to a 2b) or an HB or 2B pencil (the brand does not matter). 3. A sketchpad (the quality of the paper is of not matter at this point, the size should be 8.5 inches by 10 inches or better) 4. A regular eraser. If you have a number two, the eraser on the end of the pencil is fine. I use a Sakura Electric eraser but that is purely a luxury. 5. A kneaded Eraser 6. a blender (q tips, toilet paper, your finger, tortillions or blending stumps) 7. A pencil Sharpener—I use an electric sharpener but that is a matter of preference. 8. A drafting brush—optional but highly recommended. Your Studio Space: For the purposes of this course, your studio space is simply where you do your drawing. It can be an elaborate building, a comfy specially build room, the corner of a room (like I have) a kitchen table or an outhouse in Whiz Bang, Kentucky. Draw where you feel comfortable. My personal space is a flat surfaced drawing table with an electrical outlet attached. On top of that I have a portable drafting table that I can remove and put away when I am doing mats or whatever. I have a half sized file cabinet of to one side and on top of that sits my light table. I have a magnifier lamp as as a light source along with an Ott light and, of course three windows which allow natural sunlight to shine through. I have included a photo of where I work. Regardless, do not draw on a flat surface as it can distort your perception of your pr object. Try to work with at least a 45-degree angle. Drawing on a flat as opposed to angled surface is a poor drawing habit. When working on larger papers (over 10 inches) your line of sight will no

longer view the entire surface which can in turn lead to a distorted perspective. Even though this problem is minimal with the size of paper that I am suggesting for this class, it will become a problem if you decide to work on larger surfaces. It is better to break this habit now then have it crop up as a major problem later. If you are not using a drafting table like I like to do and instead are using a drawing board, consider the following tip: place one end of the board so that it rests in your lap and rest the other end against a surface like a table. This allows you the benefit of working on an angled surface and offers the back support that you will need to free up your hands. Lighting: As I mentioned before, I use several combinations of light sources: an ott light, natural sunlight, and a magnifier lamp. You do NOT need everyone of these light sources but you should try to find one that best approximates natural sunlight. I use the combination of lights in positions when combined eliminate the shadows projected from my hand. The ott light works well and there are also light bulbs that you can pick up at Wal-Mart that also approximate natural sunlight. If you are left handed, position the light behind your right shoulder. If you are right handed position the source light behind your left shoulder.

A Word About Pencils: It is very easy to be wondering aimlessly through a crafts or art store and suddenly stumble across—the tins! Beware of pretty boxes and lovely packaging. Most of you are going to discover that, sooner or later, you’re only working with a chose few while the other members of those pretty tins sleep away like vampires in a coffin. Whenever you can try to buy “open stock”. These are pencils that you can buy individually and you can build your personal stockpile to suit your own artistic tastes. Not all pencils are the same. There are probably as many types of pencils as there are artists. Every one of us has personal preferences that we feel offers the best results. I lean toward mechanical pencils, 0.5mm and 0.3mm but I also like Prismacolor sketching pencils that are graphite. To me, these offer me the best control. Take your pick and look around. When you go to a store ask the storekeepers to let you test pencils to see if you like them. If the stores don’t offer this service look around some more or get your friends at Wet Canvas to post some examples before you make a purchase. I have posted some samples of different pencils for you to see. The graphite or “lead” pencil is the pencil that is generally used for drawing. Pencils are categorized by their degree of hardness. B through 9B denote softer pencils while H through 9H denote harder leads. F and HB denote more neutral gradations. The softest lead produces the most intense darker values. You can use a 2b, an F or an HB to lay out your drawing before proceeding but really the choice is entirely yours.

Holding a pencil: In the following photos, Jennifer demonstrates how a pencil is held for drawing. Not that she also has a drawing board resting against a table as she works on a sketch. Being an ambidextrous family, Jennifer is demonstrating these pencil for the benefit of people who are left as well as right handed. The first position is called the writing position and is held like you are going to write a letter. This position affords you a great deal of control and is excellent for detail work. The second position is called the underhand position or the “cupped” position and is good for doing straight lines, sketching and gesture drawing. This is the position that I favor. NEVER DRAW FROM YOUR WRIST—ALWAYS TRY TO WORK FROM YOUR ELBOW. Not only does working from your wrist promote carpel tunnel syndrome but you create “tight” confined drawings.

Keeping your drawing clean: When drawing with graphite, use a slipcover to protect your clean surface. Take a clean piece of paper and slip it under your drawing hand on top of the drawing. This will protect the drawing from being unnecessarily smudged. There are many variations on the theme when it comes to protecting your drawings.

Here Jennifer is using typing paper as a slip cover as she works on her drawing. In the next photo she is using a drafting brush with the bristled pointed toward her. The brush serves as a bridge upon which the hand rests. This is the method that I prefer because I have my brush handy to brush away erasure marks or any other unwanted particles.

CLASS ONE: BASIC STRUCTURE OF OBJECTS—STRAIGHT LINES Paul Cézanne, in writing to a colleague, wrote that all forms in nature are based upon geometric shapes. “Draw these simple shapes”, he said, “and we will be able to draw or paint what we wish since simple geometric shapes underlie all objects.” Every object, be it you, a Michelin Tire or a tall standing Sequoia has its foundations in geometric shapes: The cube, the cylinder, the cone, and the sphere. They may not be geometrically perfect and sometimes you have to really look to find them but they are there and if you know what to look for you can build you drawing relying on these basic shapes. Knowing this fact can allow you to build a drawing with depth and dimension. The first lessons in this class are the really obvious but let us not pass them by. 1. Drawing Straight Lines Materials: for this class, the only materials that you will need are a number two pencil (you may sub in an HB or a 2B but the standard office pencil will do fine) and a sketchpad of your choosing. DO NOT concern yourself with the quality of the paper. Newsprint is just fine. If you want, you could use a legal pad—whatever work for you. Work within your comfort zone and certainly within your budget. Put away all of your rulers, protractors, rolling rulers and any other tool that might help you to draw a straight line. If you are sitting on a train or a bus or plane you are not going to be whipping out the old T-Square. Always be prepared NOT to use your standard tools. It isn’t really THAT hard to draw a straight line. I hear people say all the time “I couldn’t even draw a straight line” –there is usually a nervous laugh and then there is that look of longing because you know that they long to take a pencil in hand and do what you can do—draw a picture. The funny thing is that anyone can draw. It may not be of a sellable quality and it may not be exact but anyone can pick up a pencil and draw. Most people who cannot draw have, generally speaking, convinced themselves that they cannot draw either through their own failed experience or through comments of family and peers. We all know the feeling and we have all been there. When you draw a celebrity and you show it to your mother or a

sibling and they say “who’s that?”—Well, you know what I mean. First, decide how you are going to hold your pencil. There are several ways to hold a pencil. The first is the writing position, the second is the under the palm position. Now, practice drawing using these hand positions. Try drawing a series of squiggles, lines, and circles in order to bring these positions into your comfort zone. When you do these exercises DO NOT DRAW FROM YOUR WRIST. WORK EXCLUSIVELY FROM YOUR ELBOW. Everyone operates from an angle. It’s a favorite direction for you to draw. Finding the angle that is comfortable for you easily draws a straight line. Using the wrist will tighten up your control and will produce a shaky line. Using the elbow permits more control of the pencil thus producing a smooth flowing line

1. Start by drawing a straight line across the paper. Now draw these straight lines over and over except each time, before you draw the line, turn the paper and try to draw a horizontal, vertical and a diagonal line. Do this over and over again until you discover an angle which gives you a comfortable feeling straight line. Do this using the writing position and then do it again using the underhand or cupped position. See if you can note the difference. 2. Take another sheet of paper and this time, again, start dashing off those straight lines as quickly as you can. This time DO NOT turn the paper Do this using the writing position and then do it again using the underhand or cupped position. See if you can note the difference. Again, when you make these lines—don’t worry about being careful—this is an exercise—fire them out as rapidly as you can—try to get them straight but don’t worry if you do not—worry about taxes and death—don’t worry about getting the straight line down the first time. That is what practice is for. Which brings me to another point: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!! Make time to do these exercises and you will create improvement in yourself. Well, this is the end of class 1. I told you this was a basic course but don’t laugh just yet because it will get progressively difficult as we move through the 30 weeks. Thank you for joining us. Class Assignment: Read the chapter Eye Level: Foundation of Perspective. If you have already read it great! Take a look at the picture you did for the pre class exercise and see if you can not anything about the perspective of the piece and then locate where you think the vanishing point occurs. If you have questions, contact me.

Notes from JayD; Step 1--Well, first you need to do the pre assignment--pick something out that you want to draw but has been very hard for you--this is your choice-draw it and don'worry about accuracy and then post it--you will be coming t back and re doing this drawing at various stages. Step 2--read the lesson and do the lines assignment that Jennifer has done. Step 3---create 20 three dimension spheres using ONLY LINES Step 4--redo your original drawing this time in LINES only just like you did with the spheres. More notes: To start with, this weeks assignments are:SEE MY COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS 1. Post our pre-class "intimidating subject" attempt. YES 2. Practice drawing straight lines from the elbow, not the wrist. YES, YOUR WRIST WILL THANK YOU LATER AND YOUR TENNIS GAME WILL IMPROVE. 3. Draw 20 different sizes of circles and shade using only straight lines. (can the lines go in different directions or one-way?) post results--ANYWAY YOU WANT--HINT: CONSIDER WICKER FOR EXAMPLE--JUST MAKE SURE YOU END UP WITH A 3D SPHERE 4. Read the chapter on perspective lines (if we have the book)--PLEASE BUT THIS IS OPTIONAL 5. Draw the chair from the weekly drawing thread (Is this to be done as a straight line drawing, or just draw it to get a feel for perspective?) post results--CHAIR IS OPTIONAL BUT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. 6. Find the vanishing point(s), eye level line, perspective lines etc. on our original drawing. (do you want this posted?)--YOU CAN SAVE THIS UNTIL THE SECOND CLASS IF YOU WISH SINCE IT IS MAINLY PREPARTORY FOR THE CLASS ON EYE LEVEL AND PERSPECTIVE.

7. Redraw our pre-class drawing using lines (do you want this to be reducing the subject into basic straight-line forms, or do you want curved lines, cross hatching etc... basically redraw with no blending?) post results-REDRAW USING THE SAME TECHNIQUES THAT YOU USED ON THE SPHERE--THE SPHERS ARE A PRACTICE RUN FOR THIS FINAL WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.