Permission to Draw August group Block 4

4.1 Gesture

Extras Block 4.1

Extra easy

Choose a simple object like your shell and draw it using the same loose, fluid marks we used in the class. It might not be a dynamic subject but you can make dynamic marks to describe it – draw with your graphite in constant contact with the paper and keep going over the shape, refining it as you go. Aim for ‘thingness’ as well as paying attention to what it looks like.

Extra quick

Make some more gesture drawings from any of these videos or find your own source images. Make a page of very quick drawings, without getting too involved in detail. You can stop and start the video to give yourself a bit longer with the image.

Slow motion dancers

Jumping cat

Flowing river

Extra focused

If you want to do a more involved drawing, try using these bees as your inspiration.

They are a good subject for a combination of looser gesture drawing with the more static flower subject, so you can contrast the two styles if you like. Think about flight paths, bees crossing over each other, movement in relation to the hive or flower. Watch how the wings move and try to draw that movement.

There’s no right and wrong here, just a chance to explore different ways of drawing different subjects – you will eventually find your own style if you keep practising.

4.2 Edges

Extras Block 4.2

Extra easy

Make a simplified charcoal or graphite tonal drawing of a roundish object like a ball, orange or egg. Include the background tones, including the dark areas in the shadow. Now decide which part of the edge you want to be hard and which soft. Blur the soft one by smudging gently and sharpen the other by adding a fine line of charcoal/graphite of removing it with your rubber. Notice how different each looks – what is the effect of each?

a simple tonal drawing of a ball

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. Block out the drawing lightly to begin with, using the measuring and shape copying skills you’ve already learned. Use heavier lines for objects in the foreground and lighter for those arranged behind. 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

For more amazing underwater images to inspire your drawings, see this photographer’s website.

4.3 Embracing the unpredictable

Extras Block 4.3

Extra easy

Use your stick pen and ink to make marks which echo those in this rock formation. Play with both dilute and neat ink, making light and dark, broad and delicate marks.

patterns in rock

Extra quick

To introduce a little randomness and unpredictability to your drawing, try taping your pencil, fineliner or charcoal to a long stick or even another pencil. This will make it much longer as a drawing tool and make it less predictable to use.

a pencil taped to a stick

drawing with a pencil taped to a stick

Work from the photograph below, making quick squiggles across the surfaces and edges of the snow sprinkled rocks. You will be forced to hold it differently to a normal pencil hold and you might find that your mark making becomes looser and more expressive. Things will happen that you didn’t necessarily intend but might work well for suggesting the rocky shore. Just enjoy the feeling of loose mark making.

snow on shoreline rocks

Extra focused

Working with ink, conté, charcoal or graphite, try making a drawing from one of the photos below. Focus on staying loose and relaxed in your mark-making and aim to capture the ‘thingness’, movement and variation in the image. Don’t worry too much about accuracy and detail – the photos have lots of information in so you will need to choose just the bits you like. Just allow the drawing to emerge in the style that seems to come naturally to you and the materials.

green oak leaves

If these photos don’t inspire, feel free to use your own.

a multi stemmed sycamore tree

4.4 Getting emotional and the ‘Permission to Draw’ toolbox

Extras Block 4.4

Now you’ve completed all the Permission to Draw classes, here is a reminder of the things I talked about which can help you develop your own style and keep your drawing habit going.

How to improve your drawing practice

How to avoid self-sabotage

Don’t feed the troll!

How to encourage yourself to draw

Congratulations,  you’ve successfully completed Block 4 and the full ‘Permission to draw’ course!C

Congratulations, you’ve successfully completed Block 4 and the full ‘Permission to Draw’ course!