Written by Angela Yee
Thursday, 5 July 2012 09:00
In my efforts to improve drawing, I have continued to try different things.
I checked out a library book on Chinese gardens, so I did a sketch of one of the gardens I found in there (a photo).
Even though I tried to scan and reproduce the drawing as closely as possible, it didn’t work too well — the blacks are too dark. I used a mechanical pencil with the normal HB lead, which is a bit on the hard side and not too dark. There are a lot of subtle grays that are lost in the scan as well. However, the paper is a cream color.
New things I tried with this drawing:
- I tried to utilize contrast more and pay attention to dark and light values.
- I think this is the first time I have drawn a light tree against a dark background!
- It was a challenge trying to translate the many itty bitty leaves into the photo into pencil scribblings that would make it look like a tree. I suppose if I used a real pencil instead of a mechanical pencil it would be a lot easier. I like mechanical pencils though… I hate sharpening pencils.
I also checked out a book from the library on drawing. It was a pretty old-school looking book! It was published in 1977 and didn’t even have an ISBN number!
This book was written before computer rendering days, when they hired artists to render architecture. I’m sure they must still do that but it just seems to be less common. I was pretty amazed at the amount of detail in the architectural renderings in this book!
The part of the book that I liked was looking at how the artists drew different things. I tried to reproduce the drawings he had to see what his techniques were.
Here is my page of drawings. (The page is 8.5 inches across.) This time I used a 2B lead (softer lead than the one I used for the Chinese garden picture), which gives a darker black. I’m much happier with this softer lead — easier to draw with and more contrast.
Here’s the original drawing from the book. The original drawing was pretty small, only a few inches across.
A blow-up of my drawing from the page above. This was all done entirely freehand, no rulers, no grids. This picture is close to actual size as I look at it on my Apple Macbook Pro (about four inches wide). I think this probably took about 1.5 hours total?
What I learned:
- It’s very interesting now that I have posted these two pictures side-by-side how similar they look. (In real life, with a sketchbook and the original book, it feels quite different! I think I’m pretty good at copying people’s work. I’m terrible at drawing from my imagination though!
- My house looks a bit lopsided. This was partly due to drawing flat on a table instead of elevating the drawing surface at an angle so that my sight is more perpendicular to the paper. Or it could be because I was feeling dizzy all day. Or it could just be because I need to improve my skills!
- It’s pretty hard to draw the greenery/grass/trees with a .5mm mechanical pencil! The artist from the book obviously used a wider pencil for these areas.
- The strokes are important when it comes to greenery. The grass in the front looks la lot more like grass than the shrubbery on the other side of the road, which looks like a big mangled mess.
He also had a drawing of a book and a cup that I liked.
Here’s my close-up drawing. (Also drawn entirely freehand.) Cup took about 20 minutes, book was less than 10.
What I learned:
- It appears I have a tendency to squash things and make them shorter!
- Once again, it would have been a lot easier to do the shading with a thicker lead.
- It’s pretty challenging to draw ellipses freehand! The ends of the ellipses are rounder than what I started with, and it seems to look more natural. At first I drew them and they looked all pointy. Most of the time spent on this cup was trying to make it look even and not crooked!
- And, again, stroke direction is important.
Oh yeah and one thing I just realized is that I need to sign my sketches. Oops. I was taught you’re supposed to do that but I always forget.
I suppose in the old days that was how apprentices learned — by copying their masters. I’m so thankful for libraries where I can try out different books to learn from artists who are better than me!
And I’m really thankful that God created the gift of art. It’s very refreshing and fun!
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