Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Learning to draw is learning to see with your hands

When the weather keeps me from making drums outside, this is a great time of year for more practice learning to draw.  When the dark clouds gather and rain beats against the windows--spend some time teaching yourself to "see" with your hands. These 6 exercises come from Drawing Projects by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern.  

2 pencils taped together
This exercise produces a range of unpredictable marks and allows you to break the habit of using a line to draw the outside edge, or outer contour, of the subject first.  After your first mark-making, go back into the drawing to adjust, re-structure and play with the image.

A feeling response
Blindfold yourself and touch an object with one hand while making marks with the other hand that the first hand feels.  What is important in this drawing is that the hand that makes the mark and the hand that feels the object move simultaneously--as if your hands were talking to each other.

Hand/eye synchronicity
In this exercise you are looking only at the subject and not at the drawing on the paper. You are "feeling with your eyes" and responding with your pencil.  Try not to peek!

Superimposed drawing
This exercise will superimpose 3 different views of a subject in an overlapping drawing.  Do not look at the paper too much; just take a "sneaky peek" from time to time. This drawing will help your eye begin trusting your hand.

Selected tone
This drawing uses both line and selected blocks of tone.  Create a balance between line and tone. Work with busy detailed areas and loose empty areas, and the unmarked white of the paper.

Subtractive tone
This drawing is the opposite of the other 5 exercises in which dark marks are added to white paper. Begin by rubbing charcoal or graphite over the surface of your paper, and then rubbing into it with an eraser to reveal the white paper.  Create a range of mid-tones by rubbing out more or less charcoal. Now you are drawing with light instead of dark--just right for a gloomy afternoon.