A quick vacation sketch a few weeks ago at a diner after seeing many buoys along the Maine coast.
Instead of another try at my portrait, I decided to try another drawing with a focus on light and shadow, so I set up a swinging arm lamp to light up a coffee cup on a pedestal.
I drew it live and took a photo afterward. The photo isn’t from the exact perspective I viewed the cup from, it is from a little lower.
I was supposed to do another self portrait today after learning about seeing light, shapes, and lines.
I was rushed, mentally distracted, I forgot to tone the paper, and I shifted my seat, which messes up my angle of view in the middle of the drawing.
In other words, it sucked. I’m going to try again tomorrow.
Today I read about light logic, which results in four aspects of light and shadow:
- Highlight (brightest light)
- Cast shadow (darkest shadow cast by a subject blocking light)
- Reflected light (dim light, bounced back by other surfaces)
- Crest shadow (shadow that lies on the crest of a rounded form, between highlight and reflected light)
To practice seeing these types of light, I did a copy of Gustavo Courbet’s self-portrait.
Here is a comparison of the original (top) and my copy (bottom):
Today I decided to take a break from the specific Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain exercises and try out drawing on my new 10.5″ iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I used the Linea app and did another pass at my Day 8 hand drawing.
I don’t yet have fine control over the Apple Pencil. I’m still getting used to it. I love using my finger as the eraser and doing each part of the drawing as separate layers (outlines, details, and shading). I found shading much easier to control on the iPad than with a real pencil. I’m still going to do exercises in my real drawing pad, but I’ll probably shift a decent number to my iPad. One of my goals for learning to draw is being able to draw illustrations for my blog, which will all be done digitally.
Here is how it turned out:
Today I drew a portrait of Amanda’s profile. She graciously sat at the table and worked while I drew and revised.
This was difficult. I don’t feel like I nailed it. Should the eyes be further back? Did I get her nose right? How do I handle the shadows and subtle curves of the cheek and jaw?
Here is where I stopped after about an hour:
Burning the midnight oil. Today I read about expanding the sighting and spacing I’ve been working on the last few days to faces. Then I spent about an hour applying what I learned to a line drawing of a portrait by Sargent.
Here is the comparison:
Tomorrow I draw a profile portrait of a real person. It will probably be Amanda.
Today I did exercises to learn how to draw perspectives. The first was about finding scales and angles, then the second was a drawing of a complex scene to put those to use. I chose our entryway, complete with a crooked doormat and a pile of our shoes.
It turned out better than I could have done a week ago, but it took much more time, energy, and focus that I expected.
Today I had to draw a chair, but not in the usual way. Instead of drawing the lines and shapes that make up the chair, I had to draw the negative space instead. I didn’t take a photo or use the plastic pane very much, but drew from looking at the chair and occasionally using the frame to check proportions. This exercise is supposed to help with noticing negative space, framing, picking a guide for scaling, and comparing angles. After I was finished, I erased out the tone from the area between the shapes I drew. In this case, that ended up being the chair.
This was a tough exercise.
Today I did my first “real” drawing. Not a trace, not an upside down copy, but an actual drawing. I focused with one eye on my hand and drew the lines and curves the best I could.
I still don’t really know what to do with shadows, highlights, etc, but I’m pretty pleased with my first actual drawing. It is a lot better than I would have come up with 8 days ago, so shifting the way I see seems to be working.
Tomorrow I’m going to try the same exercise again, this time holding an object in my hand as well.
Today I did an exercise to help see like an artist sees: Using a plastic viewfinder to create a flat plane, resting it on my hand, and then using a non-permanent marker to trace all of the edges. (Reminder: In drawing, an edge is where any two areas meet, not just an outline.)
I did this four times with my hand in different foreshortened configurations. I noticed that I tended to close my right eye each time I did the exercise in order to help me focus on my hand in a 2-dimensional way. I’ll remember this for the future when I’m framing up a real drawing.
Here are some photos I took along the way:
I know that I was just tracing what I saw, but each time I removed the plastic frame, I was surprised at how well it turned out. It looks remarkably like my real hand.
Tomorrow I’m taking this exercise a step further: Instead of tracing my hand on the plastic, I’m going to do my best at drawing it on actual paper.
Today I read a section on childhood drawings and then did another exercise to help me shift my perception: Pure Contour Drawing.
I put my pencil on the paper pad, scrunched my hand together, turned so I couldn’t see the paper, and then tried my best to draw the creases I saw in my hand while a 5 minute timer was running.
It yielded a strange result, but the point was to intensely focus on edges (in drawing, that is where two items come together) to the exclusion on everything else. Over the 5 minutes, the world drifts away as you get lost in the complexity of your scrunched palm.
Today was the last upside down copying exercise: Picking a line drawing on your own and copying it. I searched around for a few minutes on Google Images and found a drawing of a Tufted Titmouse from SuperColoring.com.
Here is the upside down comparison:
And the rightside up comparison:
I felt my focus shift a few times, which was interesting. Whenever I stopped to take a drink of my coffee, it was gone. But shortly after, I was able to zoom back in on small details and get back to copying them. I forced myself to disregard the eye and beak, and just focused on them as shapes. I found the feet to be very difficult, though. I think I got caught up thinking about them as feed. I think they turned out worse than the rest of the drawing.
This was easier than the last two days, partly because it is less complex, and partly because I’m enjoying it more.
Tomorrow I’m reading a section on childhood drawing development and doing a “pure contour” drawing exercise.
Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain recommends copying 2-3 line drawings upside down to get a sense of how it feels to shift to a different way of seeing. Today I copied a line drawing of a knight on a horse by an unknown German artist.
It was easier than yesterday’s drawing, though it took me just as long. I didn’t leave enough room for the helmet and the proportions are still off, but I think I did a decent job overall.
Here is the upside down comparison:
And the rightside up comparison: