How to Draw

How to Draw

Drawing is the skeleton of the painting. These classes will follow principles taught by Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Barbara Bassett, under whom I studied for eight years, and from lessons learned from my own work.

The left side of your brain controls language, numbers, logic. The right side of your brain is the emotion and visual side. That left brain likes to be in control. Many of the things we do require us to speak, listen, calculate, and analyze. To draw, its important that the left brain go quiet and for the right brain to take control. We’ll learn how to do that.

Contour Drawing – a warm-up exercise

Each class will begin with a fifteen minute warm-up exercise of doing contour drawing.

No one can pick up a guitar for the very first time and immediately be able to play in a concert and do so in a way that the rest of the band and the audience will appreciate. The guitar player had to practice. Contour drawing is your “practice”.

The contour drawings above probably seem absurd to you. The point of each one was not to render an exact likeness, but rather to quiet the left brain and teach the right side of your brain how to work with your hand and pencil. As your pencil moves across the paper, your eye is moving across the contours of the object your drawing, be it a person, a still life, or a landscape. You will learn to get your eye and your pencil to move together, at the same speed. Your pencil may go off the paper, but its okay. Just keep moving the pencil as your eye moves along the contour of your subject. If you look at your paper or lift your pencil (usually because you looked) your right brain will try to take over and you’ll lose your momentum.

In the beginning, you will be tempted to look and you might actually obey that temptation. In the early attempts, simply place the pencil where you left off, look at that same location on your subject, and continue. I caution you to resist the temptation to look. I promise you that if you resist, you will learn far more than you ever thought you would. Each contour drawing will be better than the last. They will likely never be a perfect rendering of the subject, but they will definitely accomplish their goal.

The two contour drawings above were drawn and colored with an iPad Pro, using Procreate and an Apple Pencil.

Contour Drawing

A pure contour drawing is done where you place your pencil on the paper where you intend to start, your eye is on the subject/object in the spot you intend to start. You proceed to draw the edges/contour of the object, your pencil and your eye moving together. However, you cannot look at your paper and you cannot lift your pencil. It will yield interesting results. The best result is that you will, with these exercises, learn to make your pencil and your eye work as a team. You’ll learn to really see your subject. I believe you’ll benefit greatly from these exercises.

Contour drawing warm-up exercises will be followed by a fifteen minute lesson on drawing. The remaining time in each class will be working on a project that can take one to three weeks to complete.

These are examples of my own work. Subjects that you will work on will be primarily still life or portions of the classroom.

After the first class, you will have an assignment to do a self portrait. You’ll look at your self in a mirror and draw yourself as best you can. This preliminary drawing will be kept by the instructor until you have finished the series of drawing classes. At that time, you’ll do a second self-portrait and then the class will be shown their preliminary self-portraits. You will see how much progress you’ve made and you’ll be amazed.

So lets get started!