Construction versus straight ahead

3 Aug

There are several approaches to life drawing. You can basically draw what you see (straight ahead), and you can construct a drawing. I think the best thing is to find some balance. While straight ahead has more life to it, it is far less accurate, especially if your model is moving. On the other hand, drawing pure in construction mode sucks all the life out your drawing, while it allows you to place the parts of your model in the correct positions.

Construction vs. straight ahead

I wanted to concentrate on drawing from construction, but when I drew sketch 1 and 2, I was more occupied with the details of the cats’ heads. In sketch 3 I tried a pure constructional approach, which is quite lifeless. In sketch 4, I started with a construction, and used that to go over the sketch a second time with some straight ahead drawing.

I guess you should separate the theory from the practice. While you’re drawing, you shouldn’t be too concerned about how you draw, but just do it. The reflection (thinking about it) should come afterwards, like I do in this blog post. Nevertheless, it is always good to think about your subject before you put it on paper. It is equally important not to be too precious about your sketches and try several versions of the same subject, honing in on the best.

I’m learning through experience that you should never draw mindlessly. If you do that, and don’t put some of what you have learned into your current drawing practice, you won’t get any better, because it is nothing more than doodling, something to pass time. I know it’s hard and painful to use your noggin and you’d rather just have some fun drawing, but it does have its uses, for instance in preparation for a life drawing. What is important (proportions, life like appearance), how can I accomplish that (go from big to details, doing details from direct observation without looking too much at your drawing). This small mental exercise should help you to get started with life drawing. The rest is practice, practice and more practice.

That is all.

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