Tag Archives: Keys to Drawing

Keys To Drawing – Project 1-B – Hand, part 5

11 Apr

In my previous sketch I had a lot of problems putting the parts of a face in the correct place and at the right scale. I wanted to know why that was, so I returned to an exercise from the book “Keys To Drawing” by Bert Dodson. The exercise was to draw your left hand (or right hand if you’re left-handed), with the fingers pointed towards you. The purpose of this exercise was to learn you to see foreshortening and how it does not conform to how we think a hand should look like.

Keys To Drawing, Project 1-B - Hand, part 5

I was finished in less than 15 minutes, while the instruction clearly stated that you need to take at least 40 minutes to complete the sketch. So, that seems to be the problem. I’m rushing through, instead of taking my time to observe and take the visuals in.

I need to slow down. Drawing isn’t about speed, but about concentration, and for old fogies like me, concentration takes time. I’m not as fast a thinker as I used to be in my twenties.

As an aside, this is the best sketch in the series so far. Obviously, my drawing skills have progressed. However, that doesn’t mean I should be over-confident. Each drawing and sketch deserves full attention of the creator.

That is all.


Keys to Drawing – Project 1-B – Hand, fourth attempt

24 Mar

I tried to draw my left hand for the exercise in Bert Dodson’s book “Keys to Drawing”, called Project 1-B – Hand.

Keys to Drawing - Project 1-B - Hand, 4th attempt

I can see that I’ve improved considerably, but already during the drawing I saw the thumb was too far apart from the fingers. Still, I finished the drawing as good as I could.

That is all.

Keys to Drawing, Project 1-B – Hand, 3rd attempt

10 Mar

It never ceases to amaze me if you start drawing something, keep a good look at what you draw, step back now and then to get an overview, that that alone is enough to produce a convincing drawing, where everything fits. You’d expect some magical ingredient, like talent, but no, taking the right steps brings you to a successful result.

The only problem is that you need to do it a lot, and then I mean a whole lot. Malcolm Gladwell seems to suggest that you need at least 10,000 hours of intense practice to become good at any skill. If you spend 4 hours a day on drawing, then you’d need 2500 days, or about 7 years to become good at drawing. I currently spend 2 hours a day at drawing. I guess I should put more effort in my hobby if I want to become good at it any time soon.

These two sketches were part of the drawing exercises in the book "Keys to Drawing" by Bert Dodson. The point is to learn to see object from strange perspectives and draw what you see, instead of what you think you see. Draw lines instead of things.

Keys to Drawing, Project 1-B - Hand, 3rd attempt

I’m still having problems with proportions and putting details at the correct location. Luckily, I saw browsing through the book, that this subject matter is dealt with.

So while I keep drawing away, slowly working my way t hrough t he book, I’ll get better at drawing. When I’m done, I won’t be a master draftsman, but I will be able to draw things from life much better than I’m able to do at this moment.

Keys to Drawing – Project 1-B – Hand, second attempt

6 Mar

The second attempt at drawing my left hand. This time with little available light. This meant that my old eyes didn’t see much detail, only the most important parts.

Keys to Drawing - Project 1-B - Hand, 2nd attempt

That is all.

Keys to Drawing – Project 1-B – Hand

3 Mar

The key point of this exercise is learn to draw from observation and not to rely on experience (what you know about the world).

Foreshortening is something that often causes problems for me (and many aspiring visual artists, it seems). The tricks is to forget what you know and just put lines on the paper that coincide with what you see.

Keys to Drawing - Project 1-B - Hand

It requires some concentration to focus on what you see, instead of what you know about the world. Luckily, with all the drawing exercises I’ve done lately, I now have learned to just draw lines instead of things. What is on the paper are lines, traces of graphite left on paper, that represent some object, but not being the object itself.

This realization that what you draw isn’t the object itself, but something that represents the object, as a collection of lines and curves that have been put there by the artists, is a profound idea. What you see is not what you think you see, but just a collection of lines (or pixels in the case of digital art), which is reconstructed in the mind of the observer of the artwork as an object in the real world.

Enough theory, more practice. I need to repeat this exercise, to keep honing my skills.

BTW, I have changed the contrast and brightness of the scanned image to better show you the pencil drawing. Without this manipulation the drawing comes over as faint, and would be hard to see.

That is all.

Fourth attempt at Project 1A

23 Feb

In the book “Keys to Drawing” by Bert Dodson, there is an exercise (the first in the book), which I have been trying to do for some time now. I believe that today is the first time I felt that I was doing the exercise correctly, and didn’t try to take any shortcuts.

My first serious attempt was on December 8, 2008, and it didn’t even look like I seriously tried. Wow, has it really been more than two months?

Fourth attempt at Project 1A

Anyway, I’ll continue to the next point in my list of key points, which is the difference between knowing and seeing. What you think something looks like, and how it looks in real life does never coincide, unless you’re a really, really good artist.

That is all.

Drawing an office chair

18 Feb

I decided to draw an office chair and see how my chops are at still life. Aside from the fact that the proportions are way off, the drawing is pretty good. The back rest is too big in comparison to the seat.

Office chair drawing

Some initial measurements wouldn’t be bad next time.

Office chair

Actually, this a good example of drawing multiple lines for the initial drawing (a key point in “Keys to Drawing” by Bert Dodson. While the proportions might be off, if you see the back rest and seat separately, this is a fine drawing for my skill level.

Again, I learned something. You need to analyze your subject before you start drawing, to get the general proportion somewhat correct.

That is all.