Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Science of Drawing

Since finding some inspiration again, I have resolved to do at least one sketch every day.  I'm not always great with these sorts of rules, but so far, I've held up.  I don't necessarily know where I want to take my work, but I can at least keep my chops up while I work on that.  In order to do that, I've been taking requests, and drawing everything I find.  New friend Harry asked me to draw his cat.  I've never done that before, and it turned out to be more difficult than I expected.  I had to slow down, and pull out the old drawing geometry.  It doesn't involve calculations.  It does involve points and angles.  It will help you get proportions correct, and it is the very reason that I say anyone can learn to draw.

First, find some points that you can connect.  You'll need to make lots of angles from these points, so the more clear they are the better.  Ramona here has three great points that I'll work with: the tip of each ear, and her nose.

Next, connect them by holding up your pencil to your subject matter.  Get a good feel for the angle.  You've probably seen people do this:

This guy is finding the angle and length of some aspect of his subject matter.
Once you know it in your mind, you can draw it 

From there, use these point to fill in other angles.  You'll start to understand the structure of your subject matter as you realize that the line from the nose to the bottom point of the ear also touches the bottom of the eye (blue line).  

Most important, you can find points like the corner of the jaw by using these angles.  For this one, take an existing point, like this tuft of hair at the back of the head, and draw your angle with another point, the chin (red line).  Then I'll use the nose as a starting point again, and find the correct angle out from it to the corner of the jaw.  The intersection is the point of your new feature. You'll find that if you've done it right, it falls in just the right place on the face.  

Keep doing it for all the shaded parts of your subject. This is a very methodical practice, but it works.  It's perfect for proportions that give you trouble!  

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