Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Drawing Exercises

About a year and a half ago I decided to take some ceramics classes because it is a medium I felt I was not very good at and I wanted a challenge. As a result I fell in love with clay and immersed myself in class after class.  This year I decided to return to one of my first loves "drawing", and I am taking one of my first loves along with me, my husband Dan. We are taking figure drawing together at the Creative Arts Center in Dallas. We are having a blast. Dan is really great at this, below are 3 of his 5 minute gesture drawings from the first class. We both have done a lot of figure drawing in the past and yet we are trying to approach this class as though we are new to it all, seeing with the beginner's eye.

"3 Figures"
© Dan Collins
Last night we thought we might go up to the center and get in some extra drawing lab time after work and yet the cold evening made me want to stay at home. Always one for keeping up a discipline, I proposed an exercise from Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  So we stayed home and drew in the dining room from an upside down image. Faces are so hard, even for artists that love to draw, faces can be daunting.

We both enjoyed this 25 minute exercise. I found an image of Einstein and turned it upside down, set it to full screen on Dan's imac and we drew the image upside down, not knowing until we were done and flipped our drawings around just what we had.

Our upside down drawings
Left: Rebecca's drawing  Right: Dan's drawing
I can see areas that are not totally accurate in my drawing and yet I love the outcome. I think it is funny that my Einstein looks about 15 years younger than Dan's. His drawing is great and has some very expressive line work. I love both of these drawings.  By drawing upside down we were not able to just draw what we think an eyeball looks like, we had to draw what was in front of us and the left side of our brain was not able to run the show.

If you ever have the chance to take a drawing class from Susan Giller at the Creative Arts center I highly recommend it. Susan is a terrific teacher, she is encouraging yet challenging. At the end of the day it is not about creating pretty pictures of nudes, it is about learning to see and I realized with my first class that I have gotten very lazy about really seeing. If you are not able to take a course and want to learn to draw I do suggest you pick up a copy of Betty Edwards' book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  There is also an instructional video on you tube of Betty presenting her drawing exercises in an old school style video format, slowly step by step. 

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