Friday, December 11, 2009

Combined Viewpoints - part 3

Last night students began arranging their tracing paper sketches and drawing the larger image.    Here is another example of the project from a previous semester. Take note of the dynamics of the composition by using repetition, implied diagonals and cropping to enclose the negative space.  The rendering of the metallic surface adds a strong textural/ material quality.

Drawings must be finished and ready to critique for Tuesday's class.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Combined Viewpoints - part 2

Thursday night we will continue to the second part of our final project.  Students will arrange their tracing paper sketches to compose a new form.  Think in terms of the object making a metamorphosis.  The sketches will overlap (hence the tracing paper), but up against, get torn and rearranged, drawn on and erased.  Once a pleasing form has been established, students will draw the "combined viewpoints" form onto 18 x 24 in. paper.  The goal is not to copy the sketches but to use them as a starting point.  Here are two finished drawings by past students. The drawing at the top started as a vintage hair dryer.  The other drawing was a vintage meat grinder.

Combined Viewpoints - part 1

Tuesday night.  We started the first part of our final project --Combined Viewpoints.  Students were given six sheets of tracing paper 7 x 9 in., an object, and about twenty minutes to draw for each piece of paper.  This is how it worked.  Students made a contour line drawing of their object on the tracing paper.  After twenty minutes, the object was adjusted a quarter turn and students drew the object again on a second piece of tracing paper.  We did this six times.  The result was a series of drawings showing different views of the object turning in space. 

Portfolios and DHR were collected.  I also made a final review of sketch books.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Division of the Field - continued

Thursday night students continued with their "Division of the Field" project.  Students were to draw a large scale drawing (18 x 24 in.) from their studies or to come up with something new.  See previous photo for example.

1. Midterm Drawing
2. Dinosaur
3. (Simulated Texture) Homage to Magritte
4. INK Studies
5. Self-portrait
6. Color
7 Division of Field

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Compositional Space: Division of the Field

Tuesday evening we discussed compositional strategies for dividing up the "field" aka "picture plane".  The lecture addressed relationships of "figure/ ground", left/right and top/bottom.  After reviewing slides of images exhibiting the various strategies, often employing multiple strategies in one image, students made "sketchbook" drawings of their own.  The assignment was to go around the classroom and Analy Hall looking for areas to draw using the compositional strategies discussed in the lecture. The objective was to look for relationships, patterns and extraordinary points of view.  In other words, "Make Something Out of Nothing".  Students were encouraged to draw from under tables, lying down and sitting on furniture.  In addition to vantage point, students were asked to pay attention to their mark-making technique and style as well as suggesting a sense of "narrative".   The student drawing above employs a right to left dominance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Colored Pencil Drawings

Thursday evening we started working with colored pencils.  In the first example shown, the drawing was initiated in red.  Next, I went over all the red with blue.  And lastly I went over the red and blue areas excluding the contours with yellow.  Notice that the yellow doesn't cover the entire skull.  Some areas utilize the tone of the paper for highlights.  In the scribble gesture drawing, again I started with red, switching to blue and then yellow.  At that point, I began to alternate more rapidly between the colors.  Being a gestural approach to drawing, I tried to maintain the energy and spontaneity not only with the mark-making but with the color handling as well.  As I approached completion of the drawing, I added the black with yellow on top.  Finishing a drawing with a warm color like yellow is a great way to add a sense of luminosity and depth, not unlike "glazing" in painting.  In Arianna Preston's drawing (cow skull), she has separated the warm and cool colors which gives the drawing a sense  of time and place.  As in the last glowing rays of the sun as it sets.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Tuesday night we continued working with the "face".  This time focusing on self-portraits.  First, students worked up the background (negative space) by creating some atmospheric marks and swashes or toning the whole paper with charcoal.  The portrait it self was drawn in charcoal.

Homework is to draw a couple of scribble gestures with ball point pen (self-portrait).

NEXT CLASS: Bring colored pencils: crimson red, ultramarine blue, canary yellow, black.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Thursday night students drew portraits of each other.  Forgot to snap a picture.  Homework is to draw a self-portrait in your sketch book (any medium).  Click here for a link to proportions of the head.

NEXT WEEK: Bring colored pencils.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No Class Tuesday Nov. 10, 2009

See you Thursday.

Ink Drawings "Skull and Antlers"

Thursday night we continued drawing with ink.  We drew from various skulls and antlers.  Again the techniques ranged from cross hatching to stippling. What makes this drawing particularly successful is not only the wide range of values achieved but the various textural qualities as well.  Note the stippling technique applied to the skull and the wavy, dimpled contours accented with short hatching and cross hatching on the antlers.  Drawing by Arianna Preston.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

India Ink

Tuesday night we made drawings using India Ink.  Ink is probably the least forgiving of drawing mediums due to the fact that you cannot erase.  In order to make tonal gradations, you must employ a hatching (lines) or stippling (random dots) technique.  The closer the line or dot patterns the darker the value.  Cross hatching, parallel hatching, short hatching and stippling techniques were discussed during the slide lecture.  We returned to drawing from wine bottles as our subject. The drawing here is my demo drawing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Simulated Texture

Tuesday and Thursday evenings we worked on "simulated texture" drawings.  Students had the option to draw a texture study or fill a silhouetted shape with a texture that is different from the original or what you might expect.  The first option, texture study, is to be within a 4 x 6 in. rectangular format, drawn in graphite.  The composition should be "continuous field".  In other words, the image goes off all four sides of the composition.  The focus is on the texture; there should be no definition of the shape or form the texture is derived from.  The entire image is a rectangle of the texture. The second option, the silhouetted shape composition, is inspired by the artist Rene Magritte.  Compositions should consist of a central shape filled with a texture other than its original or natural texture.  The background should consist of a second texture contrasting the one within the silhouette. In the drawing above, an egg shape is filled with snake skin texture. Drawing by Chris Clark.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Thursday Night I showed slides covering Actual, Simulated, Symbolic and Invented Textures.  The remainder of the class was dedicated to finishing the "dinosaur" drawings.  The objectives with these were to render the toys addressing the variations in values and line quality as well as the textural qualities of the surface.  As an aside, a further challenge was to draw something hand held larger than life. Drawing by Dominic Fabiani.

REMINDER: Bring at least (5) reproductions of textures to class.  Go to google images: textures.  Also check out the Surrealist Artist --Rene Magritte.  Our project for next week will be an homage of sorts to the artist.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Introduction to Texture

Last week was Portfolio Review week.  Students worked on drawings while I reviewed portfolios one-on-one with each student.  Tuesday, Oct. 20 we started our explorations into texture.  Each student was given a toy "dinosaur" to draw.  The objective was to draw the toy rendering the categories of light and translating the colors into black and white while addressing the textural qualities on the surface of the toy as well.

HOMEWORK: Bring a sample of an actual texture.  A small piece of weathered metal or wood, scrap of fabric or carpet, sea shell, leaf, etc.

FOR NEXT WEEK: Bring at least (5) reproductions of textures.  These may be photos, reproductions from magazines or books as well as images taken from the internet.  Google images is a great resource for examples of different types of textures.  Click here for the link.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Portfolios are due next Tuesday, October 13.  The class will work on a composition while I speak one-on-one with each student regarding the work completed in class to date.  Portfolios should include the list that follows, "nothing more, nothing less".  Each drawing should be removed from the drawing pad prior to our meeting.  Drawings will have been rendered with various drawing materials on newsprint as well as the drawing pad. (Subjects are listed in parentheses).
1. Continuous Line (gourds)
2. Gesture (gourds)
3. Oranizational Line "Proportions" (milk cartons, bottles, paint cans)
4. Contour (various tools)
5. Composition (forms from nature: plants, bones, etc.)
6. Value Patterns (paper w/holes cut out)
7. Four Divisions of Value (hand-toned paper, metal objects: water pales, chicken feeders, etc.)
8. Single Directional Hatch (bottles, etc.)
9. Modeling (mugs)
10. Perspective (imaginary space)
11. Drapery

Drapery Study

Tuesday night began with a critique of the last couple of weeks efforts in Two Point Linear Perspective and developing  an imaginary space.  After the crit, we drew a drapery study using charcoal.  The key to drawing drapery is twofold 1. All folds originate from a single point such as a pin holding the fabric to the wall.  2. All folds have three planes (sides): a front, a top and a bottom or a front and a left side and a right side. Drapery studies should start as a contour drawing with lines emanating from the source (i.e. the pin in the wall).  Next apply dark shadows.  Emphasize lines on dark side of folds and spread the line into the shadows.  The drawing here is actually from last Spring's Art 7A class.  Note the technique for rendering volume.  The planes of the fabric are drawn by using short, parallel hatches that follow the cross contours of the folds.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Where to Begin: Imaginary Space and the "Ground Plane"

1. The first thing to draw is your horizon line.  Place it anywhere from the middle of the paper or higher.  Next attach "wings" (pieces of paper, not shown in the picture above) to the left and right sides of your paper and extend the horizon line across the "wings".  This will allow you to place your vanishing points out as far as possible.  2. Place the vanishing points at equal distances from the edge of your drawing paper. 3. Next, draw the closest corner of the "ground plane".  It should be about 1 in. and placed in the bottom, center of your drawing paper. 4. Draw you converging lines from the top and bottom points of the corner to the vanishing points.  5. Draw a vertical line between the converging lines to designate the back edge.  6. From the right back edge, draw to the left vanishing point and from the left back edge, draw to the right vanishing point. If you do not keep your drawing symmetrical the front corner will not line up with the back corner.  To remedy this, measure out from the center of your paper instead of from the edges when placing the back edge verticals between the converging lines. 7. Now draw the height of the walls.  Again if they are not the same height or placed in the same location on the "ground plane", they will not meet at the center.  You can fix this by adjusting the height of ONE of the walls.  8. Start putting in your windows, doorways, stairs, etc.

Imaginary Space: Middle Horizon Line

This drawing has a horizon line located at the middle of the paper.  Note how little of the middle balcony's floor you can see.  This is because it is very close to the horizon line.  The closer an object is to the horizon line the more parallel it becomes to the horizon line.  You can't see the floor of the upper balcony because it is above the horizon line.  Another thing to note with this drawing is its design and how the "Eye" moves throughout the space.  The "Eye" is led around the composition by the repetition of elements.  For instance, look at the placement of the archways.  The "Eye" is led in a "zig-zag" pattern.  The repetition of circles and squares works in a similar fashion. This is what I mean by Direction and Movement or Rhythm and Movement.

Imaginary Space: High Horizon Line

This drawing has a horizon line about 4 in. from the top of the edge.  Note how deep the "ground plane" is and that you can see the floor of the upper balcony.  This is because the balcony is below the horizon line.  You can't see inside the top of the tower because it is above the horizon line.  This is a Bird's Eye View of the Space.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Linear Perspective "Stairs Demo"

Monday and Tuesday Evenings are dedicated to the basics of drawing in Linear Perspective.  Slide lecture focuses on One Point and Two Point Perspective.  The drawing above illustrates stairs in Two Point Perspective.  Stairs in themselves are not very difficult.  The problem is making sense of all the lines required to render the stairs accurately.  The process is to locate the center of the side plane ( green "X") and continue to divide these sections for every two stairs. In other words, the side plane is divided with an "X" and a horizontal axis.  The side is now divide into two halves; top and bottom.  From there, divide the bottom half again.  Now the bottom half is divided into two sections whereas the top is just one.  Each section will be a stair.  To make more stairs continue to divide the sections. Repeat this procedure on the top half to match the number of divisions on the bottom.

Monday, September 21, 2009

"Mugs" and the Categories of Light

Here is a "mugs" drawing from Thursday Night's class.  Drawing by Melissa Andrade.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Modeling Light and Volume

We continued our investigations of value and modeling on Wednesday evening.  All students were presented a still life of three, staked, white, mugs.  The assignment was to render the Categories of Light (cast shadow, reflected light, core of the shadow, shadow, light and high light).  With Peter Wojtczak's drawing note how the value patterns combined with repeating shapes and forms (i.e. handles) contributes to the overall movement and balance of the composition.  Sketch book assignment is to repeat the problem at home. 7B continued working on their Eye Level and Base Line Projects.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rendering Light

Continued value studies on Monday evening.  For these drawings the intent was to emphasize the presence of Light over Volume.  Remember that values are influenced by the planar structure of objects; so you can't eliminate the sense of volume entirely.  To emphasize the Light, we employed a single directional hatching technique.  By working with straight diagonal lines over round forms, cross contours are contradicted and the Light in the composition is emphasized.  The drawing at the top is my demo.  Note the accenting in the negative areas to move the eye across the page (similarity).  Chris Susoeff has achieved  depth and weight by placing a heavy dark value in the background with forward projecting cast shadows.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Light and Dark Rhythms

Art 7B worked on a similar project to 7A.  These drawings display a rhythm and movement through the use of light and dark values combined with textural elements.  The instructions were to create a dense, continuous field composition with little to no empty space while drawing out and establishing the light and dark patterns of space and form. Drawing Kelley Shanahan (in progress).

Four Divisions of Value

Wednesday and Thursday evenings we focused on four values: black, dark gray, light gray and white.  First we hand-toned the paper to a midpoint value using compressed charcoal rubbed into the paper with a rag. This established the light gray.  White values were achieved by working "reductively" (i.e. erasure).  The approach is to focus on individual values one at a time to establish movement through similarity.  In other words, place all white shapes and values in first.  Then fill in the black shapes and later move onto the two shades of gray.  Once the value patterns are establish, modeling (using dark and light gradations to create volume) may be applied. Drawing by Courtney Hopkins.

Value Reduction

Tuesday night we continued our value studies.  For these drawings we reduced all values to black and white.  All high key values became white.  All low key values became black.  The effect is a high contrast image emphasizing the structural break between the dark side and the light side.  It is important when making design decisions to consider all value patterns. This includes local values of the objects, the negative space and the cast shadows.  Drawing by Arianna Preston.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Value Patterns- Swiss Cheese Drawings

Tuesday night began with a look at last Thursday's drawings. Drawings by Arianna Preston and Archer Krugman.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Intro to Value

Wednesday and Thursday evenings we discussed value.  The subject was folded paper with half and full circle cutouts and pop outs with lighting coming from various angles producing shadows and value gradations.  The drawings were executed in graphite pencil.  No one had finished by the end of class.  Homework was to draw a series of cubes, staked or otherwise, illustrating at least the ten values found on a value scale.  Drawing by Eudoxia Denison (in progress). (P.S. sorry for the bad photo).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Flattening the Picture Plane

Sarah Kelley's drawing is open and airy.  The large central flower is supported by to smaller flowers located in the bottom left and right corners.  The repetition and placement of the flowers suggests an implied triangle bringing diagonals to the image.  The inclusion of the floating spheres motif aids in  moving the eye throughout the composition.

Flattening the Picture Plane

Picture Plane referring to the surface the artist works on (i.e. paper, canvas, etc.). Jenna Freeman-Hinson's drawing is dense and compact.  The curving and wiggling forms bring energy and excitement to the image while the rich values and mark-making feed the eye with plenty of passages and forms to dig and wander through.

Organic Forms

Monday night began with a discussion about composition and the principles of design (i.e. unity, balance, movement, etc.)  Students chose from a variety of organic forms to create a free-floating, all-over, sketch book style composition.  Items ranged from artichoke flowers, sun flowers and corn to bones, sea shells, kelp and drift wood.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Contour Line Studies

Drawings by Chris Clark and Kaitlin Roll

Contour Line Studies

Subjective vs. Objective

When artists take a subjective approach to drawing, they are working more from their imaginations.  When artists are objective, the drawings are more factually based. The two drawings are both from our angular interpretations of the shoes and boots.  Yet the one has very exaggerated contours whereas the other is angular yet more consistent with the actual shape and volumes of the shoe.

Characteristics of Line-Angular

Thursday night we did a couple of drawings where we contradicted the contours of the shoes and boots.  The idea was to explore the effects of changing curvilinear contours to angular contours.  We also went for a more gestural approach.  Drawing by Jason Petersen.  Note the expressive mark-making and the strength and weight of accented lines.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Contour Line "Drill"

Just about anything is a good subject for contour line studies. Tools, plants and flowers, shoes, fabric, bicycles, cars, toys, fruits and vegetables, portraits, hands and feet, etc.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Contour Line Drawing

We finished the evening with a series of contour line drawings composed on a single page.  Contour line drawings are composed of slow, deliberate and incisive lines.  Contour lines define interior and exterior volumes.  The artist works from the parts to create the whole.  Drawing by Olivia Phelan.

Characteristics of Line

With this drawing students changed all curvilinear volumes into angular volumes.  We discussed the influence of curvilinear lines vs. angular lines and the different emotive qualities associated with the two styles. Drawing by ShonRay Nichols.

Continuous Line Drawing

Wednesday evening began with continuous line drawings of boots and shoes.  The drawings are composed of one, long, fluid, continuous line wrapping around and isolating the parts of the shoe.  The idea is to start inside, drawing the parts, working your way towards the outer contours. Don't outline and fill in. Drawing by Christion Salomn.

Organizational Line with an Emphasis on Negative Areas

Proportions and Organizational Line Drawing

On the second work night (Aug. 24 & 25), we discussed proportions and ellipses.  We looked at slides of Alberto Giacometti's work to illustrate the idea.  Remember that organizational line drawing is similar to gesture in that it is a searching line.  Starting with vertical and horizontal lines, the composition is organized and simplified by drawing lines that isolate and enclose the positive and negative areas.  This allows the artist to compare and take measurement of the individual parts.

Scribble Emphasizing Mass

The arrows in this drawing illustrate the posture of the gourd and the central axis line.

Mass Gesture Emphasizing Negative Areas

Towards the end of class, we focused our attention on emphasizing the negative areas of the still life. Remember that the positive areas are the objects themselves and the negative areas are the spaces around and within the objects.

Cross-Contour Drawing

A cross-contour drawing emphasizes the contours or topography of your subject.  On the first night of class, we began with cross-contour drawings of gourds.

Line, Mass and Scribble Gestures

These drawings are from a previous semester but they give you an idea of using the gesture techniques with objects other than the gourds.

Dirty, Old, Line Gesture of a Skull

Gesture Drawing

After discussing cross-contour and continuous line, we moved on to the four techniques of gesture: line, mass, mass and line combined, and scribble.  Remember that gesture is a quick and spontaneous all encompassing overview of your subject.  Generalize, starting with the largest shapes moving towards the smaller shapes. Using multiple lines and treat the forms transparently.  In other words, draw through forms that overlap one another.  Remember that line techniques use the tip of the charcoal stick or pencil whereas mass techniques use the side of the charcoal stick.

Continuous Line Drawing

After addressing the idea of cross-contours, we covered technique of continuous line drawing.  Continuous line drawings establish a path of the artist's eye.  Once the artist puts the pencil to paper, the drawing is executed in one, long, unbroken line until the subject has been fully drawn.  Start on any edge, establishing the largest shapes first moving towards the smaller shapes.  Wrap the form in lines, crossing and establishing interior contours as well as the outside edges of the form.  Your drawing should reveal the structure of your subject.  For a more volumetric image, try to swell the line.  In other words, have thicker and thinner areas of line quality.  Remember dark lines advance while light lines recede.