Today we have begun our journey into weekly sustained drawing. Remember, life drawing removes you from what you think something should look like, and tries to get you to draw something the way it is. With practice it can give you a better grasp on what things look like. It also helps with stress, boredom, shading, shapes, proportion… in essence, Life drawing is arguably the most useful way to practice art! I have included in this post a copy of the handout in case you want to use it for use outside of class, or if you lose your paper
Guidelines and suggestions for weekly sustained drawing sessions (WSD)
Once a week we will be engaged in a full hour of sustained drawing (I also encourage you to set up a number of there drawing sessions during your own time during the week as it helps to build your skills). The idea is to enter the classroom as if it were a studio, where you get your sketchbooks, materials and your object out and work for a full hour. The drawing sessions will go as follows
- Take an object from the weekly sustained drawing area, find a spot to draw and set your object up, get out your sketchbook, then draw!
- Don’t spend too much time looking at your object before you start drawing it, let your attention be your guide, exploring and discovering each item while you are drawing. Your powers of observation
- With great attention and focus, these drawing sessions will become a form of meditation, a way of increasing awareness, building your powers of observation, developing your drawing skills, enhancing your thinking skills, decreasing stress and enhancing your enjoyment and appreciation of life.
Below are a variety of strategies, tips and ideas that will help focus your efforts as you draw from week to week
1. Work from a variety of drawing styles including:
- Contour -regular contour, continuous contour, blind contour, cross contour
- Tonal shading
- Drawing negative space
- Line drawings (scribbling, outline)
- Expressive mark-making
- Photo realism or highly representational (creating the illusion of three dimensional form)
- Draw with your left hand!
2. Work with a variety of drawing media including:
- Graphite – powdered, water soluble, varying shapes and sizes or regular sizes, technical (like a blue-print)
- Pencil crayon
- Wax crayon
- Pen (ball point or fountain)
- Fineliner or felt pens
- Collage – torn or cut
- Pastel – chalk or oil
- Non traditional drawing media (eg. Coffee, sugar, vinyl, clay, tissues – anything you can think of, really)
3. In addition to drawing on your sketchbook pages, work on a variety of different paper surfaces and then glue them into your sketchbook:
- Heavily textured paper
- Coloured paper
- Tracing paper
- Watercolour paper
- Construction paper
- Black paper and draw with white media and/or glue
4. Explore your object through the 6 elements of design:
- Line – active, bold, delicate, broken or continuous, light or dark, precise or irregular
- Shape and form
- Space – draw either the positive or negative space of your object
- Colour – work in an identified colour scheme (black and white, representational colour, warm only, cold only, neutral only, monochromatic, analagous, complementary, split complementary, triad, symbolic)
- Value – shading, contrast, chiaroscuro
- Texture – simulated or real
5. Create images of your object exploring different aspects of the 9 principals of art:
- Balance – symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial
- Rhythm – alternating, progressive, flowing
- Movement – vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curving
- Proportion – life-sized, monumental, miniature, exaggerated, idealized
- Emphasis – dominance, focal point, isolation, size focused, contrast focused
- Pattern – create a pattern or motif with or of your object
- Repetition – repeat your object
- Unity and Variety – repetition, simplicity, harmony, theme and variation, proximity focused, contrast focused
6. Fill a double spread of your sketchbook with drawings from observation, work life sized or larger. Try to record your object from as many different perspectives as possible. View it from all sides and many different angles.
7. Do a brainstorming session about your object. Do a quick sketch o fit in the centre of your page and write down the name of the object. Web as many ideas and associations as you can think of that come to mind when you are considering the object. What could it symbolize, stand for or represent?
8. Write about your object. Write a poem or a descriptive paragraph. Use words to describe the object.
9. Fill the page with a series of thumbnail sketches showing how many different compositions you can create using only your object and how it is organized in the picture plane. Consider your use of positive and negative space, horizon line, scale – large to small, format – square, rectangular, exaggerated, along with showing the whole object or just pieces
10. Use a variety of image development strategies to explore your object. Blur it, make an x-ray, weave it, fragment it, distort it, evolve it, animate it, pixelate it, simplify it, distress it, show us multiple perspectives at once, enclose it, use symbolism, obscure it, layer it, or stylize it.
Here is a video supporting doodling (which is a form of drawing :P)