Permission to Draw February group 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

How to make a viewfinder

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 two 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.

Get your pencil or fineliner pen ready, then set a timer for 10 minutes. Looking intently at your hand (not at your paper) make marks which correspond to what you perceive. They will probably be small, short and tentative marks, and you may feel frustrated with this to begin with – it’s a very unfamiliar task you’re asking your brain to do! Just keep making marks until your timer goes off.

Your drawing will almost certainly not look anything like a hand!


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

Examining ‘thingness’ through drawing

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 – Viewfinder thumbnails

Use your small viewfinder to draw little rectangles in your sketchbook, then move it around to find interesting areas to make very quick sketches of. In the class we did this around the room – this time try looking out of a window or doing it while sitting outside. Concentrate on seeing the main angles and relationships in the view and do lots of drawings – repetition is really helpful here to train your perception. These are exercises for your ‘drawing muscles’ so don’t expect the results to look like pictures.

Extra focused – Still life

If you’re feeling adventurous and have 30 minutes to dedicate to drawing, gather some interesting objects together to create your own still life. Try to find about 5 things with a variety of sizes, shapes and textures and arrange them so they overlap a little when looked at through your viewfinder. Make a few little thumbnail drawings from your still life to start to investigate it, then scale up to a postcard sized drawing of one view. As you’re drawing, look for the most important angles and lines, notice the relationships between shapes and negative spaces, and don’t let logic in to start naming things! You will most likely find that there are lots of inaccuracies in your drawing and your troll might well make an appearance – this is to be expected when taking on a challenge like this. Persevere and don’t judge yourself harshly, as every drawing you do helps you to get better at it!

Congratulations, you’ve completed Block 1!