I found this photo of Barack Obama on Flickr and decided to see if I could fit Obama into circles (ellipses) and into squares (rectangles). A drawing experiment, in other words.
From studying Bridgman I know that the human face is a combination of rectangular and elliptical shapes, merged into a whole. If you want to entangle that whole, one option is to only use rectangles or only use ellipses.
Using rectangles gives a sturdy look to a face, or perhaps an etch a sketch look, like the Professor in the Power Puff Girls animated cartoon series. It is of course the lower jaw in men that so reminds us of a rectangle (although it has some round properties as well).
The idea is to learn to see the overall shapes in things around you (“things” in the broadest sense, people can be things as well, if you think of your world in a certain way), to avoid seeing things as objects with meaning, but rather to see things around you as objects with shape. You can’t draw meaning, but you can draw shape.
Without becoming too philosophical, learning to see patterns and make them conscious (we human see patterns without realizing), adjust those patterns to our artistic needs, is a key element of expression for the visual artist.
Having cleared the space of a div container (inside joke for website designers), I can present you with my first attempt of an “etch a sketch President”.
To draw the rounded version of the President, I relaxed the rules a bit. Instead of pure ellipses, I opted for rounded lines. Art is always the artistic conflict of setting strict rules and then, consequently not following those rules. Your initial assumptions are often not the best, or the most appropriate for what you want. Your eyes don’t lie, but your interpreting mind may. The artist has to catch those lies and half-truths, by redrawing the same object from another perspective and see if it matches the earlier assumptions about form and shape. That is the power of using different techniques or approaches. Even if the subject doesn’t change (as with a reference photo), your way of looking at it does, and in doing so, you might learn something.
The proportions are a bit off, but remember that it’s just a first attempt, something to work from, and improve upon.
I hope you’ve learned something, and if not, at least had fun reading the blog post. If even not that, why are you still reading this?
That is all.