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Friday, November 4, 2011

Training the Eye

There's so much to be learned from doing a white-on-white drawing on charcoal-toned paper. This exercise really trains the eye to look carefully for differences in value. It's those subtle transitions from dark to light, and vice-versa, that create three-dimensionality in a drawing.

Looking for the shapes of shadows, not just amorphous shaded "areas" will create credible volume in the objects you draw. The sensitive drawing above was done by Kristhy, a ninth grader. She successfully established a consistent light source, coming from the right, and carefully analyzed the shapes of cast shadows on the tabletop. Notice especially how Kristhy looked for the shapes of shadows on the objects.

Kristhy worked on this excellent drawing for several hours - time well spent in training her eye to observe carefully.

Revisiting Molly

In a previous post, I presented drawing-on-toned-paper lesson, and showed Jen's drawing of her Scottish terrier, Molly:

Although she was pleased with her results, Jen felt she could go further with her drawing. We both thought the darks could be emphasized more, and Molly's eyes needed to be darker as well.

We also used a nifty tool called an artist's bridge. It's a small transparent raised shelf to rest your drawing hand on, instead of leaning directly on your paper. It helps to keep the charcoal from accidentally smudging, & you can still see your work through the clear acrylic bridge.

With a little more work and thought, Jen was able to give her drawing more impact and depth. There are a couple of important lessons in this process of re-evaluating one's work:

* Sometimes we need some distance and time to evaluate our work.

* As artists, we need to be open to making improvements or changes in our work.

Here's Jen's finished version of the portrait of Molly. Beautiful job, Jen.