Drawing…drawing…and more drawing!

This week has been all about drawing. And I mean drawing: I drew pretty much all day every day this week! I am currently taking two drawing classes, one Life Drawing (which I love…learning about anatomy and human form), and one independent study class where I am doing a review…catching up to where I “should be” in my drawing skills.

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Still Life study-charcoal on paper

Last semester, I took Intermediate Drawing because I had taken beginning drawing twice before in two different colleges…about 12+ years ago. Luckily, the focus was on abstraction and expression, so my out-of-practice drawing skills weren’t as obvious…but they were to me. I struggled way more than I should have to do a simple still life contour, and began to realize that I couldn’t just pick up where I left off. I saw the projects from Beginning Drawing posted on the walls, and realized I really should have repeated that class! This semester I decided to work with my drawing professor independently to work on becoming more confident in basic drawing techniques.

There are many opinions out there on how important (or not important) accuracy in drawing is to an artist…but as I prefer the naturalistic (realistic) style, it’s very important to me. I don’t mean that I will never modify what I see, but I want it to be a deliberate choice, not because I can’t draw accurately. I’m a believer in that to break rules correctly (effectively, beautifully), you first have to master them!

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Snuck in a contour of my husband napping

The textbook we’re using is Drawing Essentials: A Guide to Drawing from Observation, but this week my professor had me doing the schedule from The Natural Way to Draw. I resisted this at first, because I hate doing “blind” contour drawings. I have never been able to understand how not looking at my paper will ever result in accuracy in drawing…but my professor promised that I will see results.

My son trying not to be creeped out by my staring intently at him for half an hour (contour drawing).

My son trying not to be creeped out by my staring intently at him for half an hour (contour drawing).

And I hear again: it’s not about  the product, but the process, and it’s all training the eye. So…I did two three-hour (almost) sessions of modified blind contours and gesture drawings (another of my least favorite scribble drawing methods), and will continue doing it as often as I can…and I actually had a little fun with them! I’ll have this digital record of this year to show me how much progress can really be made by this type of practice. I am learning to appreciate how staring at something for an hour can increase observational skills: I know way more than I wanted to about my son’s headphones. I really need to work on patience and slowing down. I so appreciate my son, husband and standard poodle for posing for me…OK, my husband didn’t know for a while, but I’m pretty sure he was fine with it.

Posting these less than flattering contour drawings of my husband (and son) might be considered payback for unauthorized Facebook postings of me, but I’m not that petty. It’s all for my art, truly.

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3 thoughts on “Drawing…drawing…and more drawing!

  1. Good post. I agree that accuracy is important, especially if you do anything technical. But I’ve also heard the courtroom artists do a lot of ‘blind’ sketches. Very interesting stuff to try to master.

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    • Thank you for your comment! I just want the ability to be accurate…so I can use “creative license” as I please and not as an excuse for mistakes. 🙂 I also love doing portraits…and in that I want to be accurate enough for a likeness, and learn how to be flattering enough to please the sitter…John Singer Sargent was a master at this skill! Courtroom artist sounds like a fun occupation…
      The Natural Way to Draw book I’m using was grandmother’s. I wish I could ask her how far she got in it! I tried many years ago but it actually requires about three hours of drawing a day, preferably from a model, and it was not possible at the time. I’m also more open to the type of instruction now…mostly!

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