Drawing Class – Week 2

Tonight was the second session of my beginning drawing class.

We learned about contour drawing. This is a style of line drawing where the you slowly and steadily move your attention along the edge of the subject, while simultaneously moving your pencil across the paper. The idea is that you can accurately reproduce the shape of an object this way. The method forces you to see the actual shape of the object, and not the shape you know or imagine it to have. As an exercise to demonstrate the power of this technique, it’s sometimes done without looking at the paper at all: blind contour drawing. This is not very practical for any but the simplest scene, so we were allowed to peek when necessary to re-establish pencil position or manage overlapping objects: modified blind contour drawing. Once again Pia set out a variety of objects. Shoes, this time, some of which had been brought in by students. We were to pick a view including a few of these shoes and (try to) draw their outer boundaries using modified blind contour drawing.

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That big blobby thing in the middle was one of my motorcycle boots. Notice there are multiple erased drawings still visible on the paper. Pia encouraged us to sketch and erase, sketch and erase. So I can’t really show you all the drawings I made, just the last one on each piece of paper.

I guess that wasn’t hard enough, because next Pia set out a bunch of sticks and twigs and we tried our hands at modified blind contour drawing those.

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Hmm, that almost looks like sticks.

The other style of drawing we learned about was gesture drawing. Here the idea is to be quick and fluid, recording overall shapes and impressions expressively. We started with the lights out and eyes closed. Pia called out evocative words and we were supposed to make some marks on the paper that expressed them.

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This was done rapid-fire, so I can’t remember any of the specific words or which marks were supposed to relate to them. We didn’t critique these or follow up on any of the ideas about marking styles. We were left (throughout the course, for the most part) to use the materials in whatever way seemed right to us.

Oh look, under the barrage of marks you can see one last exercise at blind contour drawing: a profile drawn from a classmate’s face. Not very flattering, alas. When I looked down at the result, it seemed that I had about the right vertical motions but all the horizontal distances were compressed.

Pia posed for us to practice gesture drawing. She held a number of poses for what seemed like several seconds each. We erased each drawing before going on to the next, so most of these are lost.

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A student or two also posed for gesture drawing practice.

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I really wanted to work longer on that one. It seemed like it had some potential.

The homework assignment was to set up at least three objects from the kitchen drawer. We were to do quick gesture drawings to experiment with composition until we had a good one. Then, erase the gesture drawing and do a modified blind contour drawing with charcoal pencil. I wasn’t satisfied with the first one I completed.

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So I did another one to turn in.

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Homework 2. Grade: A. Pia’s comment: Very good. Would you be willing to donate to my stash of “samples” for future classes? If you would rather not, that is fine!

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