Saturday, March 19, 2011

Drawing Mechanics

This week we simply drew in my art classes. I wanted to give the kids some lessons on the mechanics of drawing. We practiced some of the techniques while drawing cat and dog faces. We looked at pictures and used 4 steps to draw:

1. Shape-Study the picture and see what shapes the object you want to draw is made up of. Most "how to draw" books will use this method. In this case, the heads of each animal was round. The dog head also had a flattened triangle under the chin area.

2. Features-using proportion and measuring. Add the main features of your drawing. In this case it was the eyes, ears and mouth. Where are they placed? Are the eyes 1/2 way, 1/3 of the way, above or below half way on the head? Also note where the features are placed on the picture in relation to each other. The ears start above the middle of the eye and end lining up in a curve above the outside of the edge of the eye. Also measure with your pencil to see how big features are in relation to other parts of the drawing. For example, the cat's ears are not quite 1/2 the size of the cat's head.
3. When you get the shape sketched in and the features added, you can start adding details. Are there whiskers? Lines along the nose? Ear flaps, fur?

The last step is shading, which we will tackle next week.

We did one directed drawing of a cat head and one of a dog head, and then I handed out magazine (or other reference) pictures of cats and dogs and let them try it by themselves.

I keep trying to train them to sketch lightly, so that things can be more easily changed. They seem to feel that each line should be etched in and perfect the first time. I also talk to them about it taking years of practice (the same as mastering any skill) to get good at drawing. Another thing I keep talking to them about is that artists need to OBSERVE. Looking at something is not the same as observing it. How is it put together? How long is one feature in relation to another? You have to know how something looks in reality to make a convincing picture of it.

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