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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Saturday Morning Skraw - Drawing Lesson 1


I've had so many readers ask me if I could give them lessons in drawing that I decided to start something here just for you.  I'm going to call it the "Saturday Morning Skraw" (Sketching and Drawing) and today will be the first lesson.  I'm going to start with the very basics and work up to more advanced techniques over time, but I thought this would be a good start for everyone who is interested.

I enjoy drawing in the morning right after I wake up.  I keep my sketchbook on my night table with my pencils and eraser.  It's a fun way to start the day.  You'll need a sketchbook or some white paper, a kneaded eraser, and preferably some drawing pencils (I like Staedtler or Reeves), but if you don't have them, just use a handy #2 pencil.  Let's get started!


First things first - how to hold your pencil.  This is called the basic tripod pencil grip and this is the most common grip to draw, however, you won't be using this all the time.  When you draw, the best place to be in your brain is in the right hemisphere because that is where you will find your creative self, and there are some tricks to get you hoppin' over to that side of your brain.  When you use the basic tripod grip, you are actually still in your left brain because you are using your fingers and your wrist to maneuver your pencil while you draw.


Then there is the overhand grip and you will enjoy using this grip for shading and drawing too.  When you use this grip on your pencil, you are using your right brain and your entire arm to shade and draw.  This is also the best grip to use when making ellipses and circles because your arm will give you better results than your wrist and your fingers.  I like to draw using this grip when sketching on canvas at my easel with charcoal too.  It is much easier to draw with the overhand grip when your surface is vertical (like it is on an easel) than if I were to use the basic tripod pencil grip.  Try it sometime, you'll notice a difference in how it feels and your control.


Every object has a structure, or a shape based on either the cube, the cylinder, the sphere, or the cone, and if you look at any object, it can be broken down into elements of one or a combination of these geometric shapes. The shapes are not always perfect, but if you look you will see them within every object. 

A solid object has 3 dimensions - height, width, and depth.  When you begin to see objects as a combination of geometric shapes, it becomes easier to draw what you see.

Let's start with something simple - a cube.  Make 2 squares like you see above.  They don't have to be perfect, but try to make them about the same size.


Now, connect the 2 squares like you see above.  You have now created a cube.  If you start every drawing with the basic ingredients of simple geometric shapes first, then it becomes easier to correct a line for a curve or add detail.  I use the analogy "You have to have a foundation before you can put up the frame, and you have to have the frame before you put in the drywall, and you have to have the drywall before you can paint."  Start with the simple foundation of basic shapes, no matter how imperfect they are to begin with, you can always make adjustments to your drawing as you work.


Now, let's add some detail and take out some detail.  Remember, the eraser can be your best friend when you are drawing and sketching.  So, we have the basic structure - a cube.  Let's begin by erasing some lines that would not be visible since we are drawing an open box.  Then, add some simple detail, like the little half circle in the front, then draw the lid paying attention to the angles of your lines and where they are relative to your other lines in your drawing.


Shading and values are something you will learn later, but if you want, go ahead and copy where I have shaded the box including the cast shadow.  Try to visualize the direction that the light is coming from and what part of the box is turned away from the light and how the shape of the box will cast a shadow.


Now, let's try something different and a little more challenging.  Begin by drawing an ellipse.


Add a cone to that ellipse.


Draw a half circle on top of the ellipse and erase the inner side of the ellipse.


Add some detail and some shading.  Yummy.  That wasn't so hard now was it?  Drawing is a lot of fun and it takes practice.  Just remember, the more you practice, the better you will get just like with anything you do. 

Have Fun!


I don't know about you, but this tutorial made me hungry for a chocolate ice cream cone.  I think I'm going to go get me one.

Lesson 2 next Saturday morning!




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