Thursday, 19 April 2012

Draw What You See Not What You Think You See

A drawing instruction book for those who believe they cannot draw might prove helpful. Picture dyslexia, a lifetime away from creative activities or a chronic lack of confidence in drawing could foster the belief that drawing is a gift bestowed to others. My book might prove that drawing ability can be developed regardless of the cause.

Overcome Picture Blindness

During my teaching, I came across certain students who really struggled to draw. Issues with a low visual awareness and an imbalance with the field of vision would manifest itself as any of the following:
  • A drawing that gravitates to one side of the page.
  • Skewed-looking symmetrical objects such as vases, cups, flowers, faces and scissors.
  • Lines intended to be perpendicular leaning to one side, such as rigging on ships, table legs and horizon lines.
  • Elements of an object are out of proportion with one another (most commonly seen in figure drawing). Examples are: arms and legs too spindly, eyes too far up the head and hands/feet too small.
  • Long objects viewed in foreshortening appear skewed in the drawing, such as teapot spouts and pointing fingers.
  • Ellipses with corners or skewed curves.
  • A childish, symbolic quality to the drawings that signify a lack of sensitive observation.

A Guide to Drawing

My book opens with a test on visual awareness and informs on the possible underlying causes of low drawing ability which most often is a distorted perception of an object’s appearance. An overbearing left-brain interferes with what the right brain is seeing – the left brain possesses language and logic; the right-brain possesses spacial interpretation. As explained in the preliminary chapters, the right-brain needs to be tapped into when drawing accurately. Some understanding of why low drawing ability occurs informs on my choice for the drawing exercises within my book, which begin from the very beginning: to learn the language of line from A, B and C.

A Book on How to Draw Well

Exercises ensue with drawing hypothetical lines: whether a line is truly perpendicular, symmetrical and whether a circle is truly circular. This forces the brain to make accurate visual judgments and exercise all fields of vision. Heightening visual awareness of whether something is ‘balanced’ or not is prescribed to counter an ignorance to drawing errors.

The exercises progress to unorthodox drawing methods which include upside-down drawing, abstract drawing, drawing within a frame and rendering negative shapes. Exercises progress steadily, not abruptly, enhancing success on each task.

Advanced Shading Techniques with Pencil

The latter part of the book moves on to the language of tone, again, starting from the very beginning with the ‘weight of marks’. Too often, those with low drawing ability render everything as linear, not with visual ‘weight.’ Applying tones to lines prior to areas provides the ideal starting point for shading.

Exercises on shading techniques begin with shading flat areas and abstract shapes before moving onto shading simple objects which are ‘keyed’ according to tonality. Objects are presented in order of challenge, offering opportunities to progress in drawing.

The latter part of the book inform on shading on grey paper by the use of pastel pencils. Step by step instructions are given for each drawing demonstration.

Understanding Perspectives on Drawing

The final chapter informs on the prescriptive areas of drawing for reference, which includes a section on plotting methods for drawing, making and using a viewfinder, understanding vanishing points and how to draw an ellipse.

Book’s Statistics

My book is available on Kindle and as a hardcopy. It has approximately 15,600 words and 90 images broken down into 12 chapters. The hardback version measures: 8.5x5.5in and is 114 pages long.

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