Permission to Draw 2024 Block 1

Replay Block 1.1

Extras Block 1.1

Upside down drawing

Following on from the exercise in our class, when you think you have 20-30 minutes peace and quiet, draw round your postcard to begin with to make a ‘frame’. Then try making a copy of one of these drawings in your sketchbook – if the whole image seems too overwhelming just choose a small section to draw.

Try using your fineliner pen and experiment with using it lightly to begin with. Focus on the shapes you can see.

Try this one using your graphite pencil. Play with using it with different pressure and on its side as well as with the tip.

No cheating! Turn your drawing round when you’ve finished to see the end result, I’ll show the originals next week.

Replay Block 1.2

Extras Block 1.2

Contour drawing
Extra quick

Sit somewhere comfortable where you can rest your hand away to the side of your sketchbook, so you can’t see your hand while you draw.

In the live session we did three 5 minute contour drawings – these are very intense and can really change the way you see, so drawing for longer will be very helpful if you have time.

This time get your fineliner pen ready, then set a timer for 10 minutes. Position your hand in an unusual gesture, or at an angle which makes it look unlike a hand symbol. Looking intently at it (not at your paper) make marks which correspond to what you perceive, paying particular attention to where the lines disappear around the forms.

These may be small, short and tentative marks to start with, but try to experiment with different kinds of speeds, sizes and variations of marks. If you lose your place on the page, start again somewhere else, it doesn’t matter if they overlap. Just keep making marks until your timer goes off.

Extra focused

You could also try the same exercise with your shell or any other natural object. Imagine the pen/pencil tip moving over the surface of it and transcribe these movements onto your paper.

You are learning to see objects in a different way by doing this. Look at where the lines appear and disappear, where they go around corners or out of view, where they are defined and where they are delicate. The movements of your pen/pencil should mirror the movement of your eye over the object. Again, set yourself a timer and just keep drawing till it goes off – don’t feel as though you have to draw the whole thing.

Replay Block 1.3

Extras Block 1.3

Extra easy

Here are some more ways to practice seeing and recording shapes and using negative spaces to help you perceive how it all fits together.

Following on from the scissor outline exercise, you can try drawing the scissors using only the negative shapes.

Draw another rectangle around your postcard and mark the halfway points along each edge. Lay the scissors on top of the viewfinder next to your sketchbook – it makes more interesting shapes if they go over the edges a bit.

Now, on your blank rectangle, carefully copy the negative shapes that you see, making reference to the halfway markers if you get lost. My efforts from the class exercise and this extra exercise below.

Extra quick

Following on from the small shape studies in the class, make another 4 quick 1 minute sketches of sections of this photo of daffodils. Setting a timer will free you up to just draw and only having 1 minute forces you to look for only the basic shapes.

Extra focused

You can also use this photo to do the same exercise – the shadows have helpfully flattened the forms, making the negative spaces both obvious and really interesting.

These images are similar to the one we used during the class. Feel free to use various materials – these can work well with coloured pens or pencils, or you could even try cutting the shapes out like Matisse!

Replay Block 1.4

Extras Block 1.4

Angles, relationships and thingness

Extra easy

In the class we made a number of rapid drawings of the shell, trying to very quickly capture the essence of it rather than focus on details. If you have 10-15 minutes to draw, try repeating this exercise with another object. This time, make 16 drawings and give yourself less than 20 seconds to do each. Before you begin each drawing, spend a few seconds just looking at the object, concentrating on what features give it its ‘thingness’. Then draw, allowing your pencil to move quickly to cover the whole form. Don’t stop to judge the drawings, just keep going. Notice whether you begin to get more of a sense of its ‘thingness’ the more drawings you do.

Extra quick

Make a new doodle page – this doesn’t have to be in your sketchbook, any paper will do. Practise making lines with varying weight with any of your drawing materials. If you’ve already tried the pencil, give the graphite a go, try with charcoal, conté or even sharpie. Each material will produce a different quality of line and a different variety of emphasis. Which do you like using most?

Extra focused

a line drawing of glass vases

When you’ve decided which of your drawing materials you like best for varying line weight, try making a varied line drawing of these glass objects with it. As in the class, focus on where lines intersect and put the emphasis on where a line appears to go behind another. Experiment with the different effects you can achieve with line wieght. Try using your most delicate lines for the distorted shapes you can see through the glass.

an arrangement of glass vases

six glass vessels arranged on black and white

Replay Block 1.5

Extras Block 1.5

Extra easy

Put a biro and paper somewhere where you spend time, like your desk, kitchen worktop, sofa.

Doodle on the paper in some of those ‘in-between’ moments, when you’re listening to something, watching tv, thinking, on a Zoom call – just allow the pen to glide around the paper and enjoy making different kinds of marks with no particular purpose.

Extra quick

If you have 10 minutes to draw, try using one of these artists’ work as inspiration for some mark making practise. Don’t feel like you have to copy the image accurately, just look at the way they have used line and use this as your starting point to develop your own kinds of marks.

Antony Gormley, Feeling Material II

David Hockney, Man in restaurant

Rembrandt Van Rijn, Elephant

Extra focused

Go bigger! Get some big paper or cardboard (it might help to tape it down), stand up to draw and try making marks from the elbow and shoulder as well as hand and wrist. Your graphite stick and charcoal would work well on this scale. After doing some big scribbles and marks to warm up, try drawing from an object you hold in your hand which you look closely at. Remember that you are taking little bits of visual information in with your eyes and transferring them to the paper/card with each mark. Observe how different your marks are when you use your arm and shoulder more and have fun playing on a bigger scale.

Congratulations, you’ve completed Block 1!