Thursday, March 4, 2010

You Can Draw! - Class #1

Started out with an overview of materials: pencils, erasers, blending stumps. I had a blending stump and threw it out not six months ago thinking I would never need it. Made one after class out of a rolled up bit of drawing paper. Sanded and softened the tip with an emery board. Yes, I'm a tightwad.

Tips and tricks:

-Cut slits in a white block eraser leaving thin ridges to pull out highlights in hair. Cool!

-Don't blow on a drawing to remove eraser crumbles. Turn it vertically and tap it instead. Blowing leaves moisture on the surface and can mess up a drawing.

On to values, white to black and how to apply them to what you see. Excellent!

Next was shading on curved objects to make them appear curved, and shadows on the table surface so things wouldn't look like they're floating. Clipping right along.

The first thing we drew was a coffee box thingy that happened to be sitting in the room.

As with every box-like thing I try to draw, it turned into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Slanted decidedly to the right. Tried to fix it but didn't quite get it all plumb. I was sitting in the very back of the room fighting with my new glasses. Couldn't quite see what the coffeecup part of the label was supposed to be so all I could do was draw the dark shapes I could see.

A show and tell when we were all finished. He held up each person's drawing and pointed out all the good stuff on it. He concluded every one with, "That's a good drawing right there."

Next he drug in a plant from the hallway. Yes! Something with major fudge-factorability. Nobody is gonna know what the stalks and leaves really look like so freeform time on the foliage.

I was drawing away and the teacher stood behind me and watched. For some reason that gave me the heebie-jeebies. Because I couldn't see my drawing with the new bifocals, I just looked at the plant and drew what amounted to a blind contour. He watched me doing this for a while and said, "So how long have you been drawing?" Arrggh. Busted.

Told him I had never had a drawing class, that this was the first. (eyebrow cocks in disbelief) But I study and read a lot....

He loaned me a book he had brought for show-n-tell, The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head, by William L. Maughan. He said he had a whole library of art books at his house and I was welcome to borrow all that I wanted. Woot! Tightwad's Nirvana.

Realized on the way home that my brain is geared for speed sketching...quick, imprecise, capturing only the essence of a moment. I've tried very, very hard to break myself of the need to draw all the little nit-picky details. To sit and draw them now was proving difficult. Skerritttt! Zzzzzztt! Major synapse disconnect.
I have much to learn.

And lastly, apropos of nothing, the song "Sylvia's Mother" has been stuck in my head for the last three days.

And the operator says "40 cents more for the next 3 minutes"
Ple-ease Mrs. Avery, I just gotta talk to her
I'll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, I just wanna tell 'er goodbye


raena said...

Thanks for sharing the tips! Sounds like you'll have a fantastic time in this class!

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Catching up on blogs... and this entry caught my eye. I took a drawing class at night at the high school continuing education, same place I'm taking my current watercolor class. The painting class is fun, the drawing class was torture... hope your class goes better than mine did.

Speck said...

@raena - Had a fantastic time the first night.

@Capt Elaine - the second night was torture.

freebird said...

That song! It was running through my head yesterday all day long and now that I've read this post it'll probably be a repeat today.

You may just have to find the type of drawing that makes you happy. Look at this class as a way to explore those types so you can pick by choice rather than from lack of knowing different ways. I wouldn't have been able to see that box either from way back in the classroom. That would have been most frustrating and might have ended the class for me.

Speck said...

@freebird - I need the challenge of seeing and drawing in new ways. Otherwise I'd get stuck in a rut doing the same thing over and over. That would get boring and drawing would cease to be fun.

In some ways drawing from the back of the room is easier. If I could see more clearly I'd get waaaaay too caught up in the details.