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Diving Into Drawing

Aug 17, 2007
Drawing has been around for centuries. In fact, wonderfully vital drawings and paintings by primitive peoples have been discovered, which proves that many thousands of years ago the art of drawing was there, innate, in mankind. Everyone can draw, for it is an inherent human trait far more natural than writing.

Unfortunately most people lose this power as they grow older, or rather it is overlaid by more complicated mental processes. It needs only the desire to reawaken it and the courage to proceed and rapidly the power to express what one sees, in drawing and in paint, comes back again.

So take courage and go ahead.

The first thing to get is a sketchbook: not too big a one but a handy pocket size that you can carry about at all times. You can of course buy a children's drawing book for a few cents, but this has a flimsy cover and has to be folded or rolled to carry, and that spoils the page, so a sketchbook with thinnish cartridge paper and a good stout cover is the best investment in the end. See that the paper is not too thick or too rough in surface. Nothing harder than a 3B pencil is much use. Get a black Conte crayon or black chalk pencil with the wood round it, for this is the kind of pencil that will give you most satisfaction in sketching. Of course you will need a razor blade or sharp penknife because the breaking of points is a very frequent occurrence. Do not sharpen the pencil to a fine point - just a blunted point.

Now you have your sketchbook and your pencil, what are you going to look for? What are you going to start on? Don't start straightaway on a landscape. Just focus your attention on a few simple things that are before you in the room you are in. Something the shape of which attracts your interest, say a decanter, or a wine glass, or a vase of flowers. Draw a definite shape on the blank page of the sketchbook with a firm, thick line - say a rough oblong. Count this as your picture space: into this defined shape you are going to put your drawing.

Then begin with the part of the selected object that interests you most. Perhaps it is the bulge of the decanter - boldly draw the curve of the right-hand side and then look across and draw the corresponding curve of the other side; then go upward to the lip and the stopper, drawing first one side and then the other; then look at the base, the dark curve where the decanter rests upon the sideboard. You now have the shape of the object - then relate this to the glass that is near it; notice the size of the glass in relation to the decanter and repeat the process, taking into account where the two objects are placed in your oblong space.

Continuing to practice these techniques will help you get a grasp for the way drawing should feel and ultimately look.
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