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Seeing

Lesson 2 from: Drawing

Amy Wynne

Seeing

Lesson 2 from: Drawing

Amy Wynne

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Lesson Info

2. Seeing

Lesson Info

Seeing

to me, one of the most essential parts of drawing is connecting. And it's really difficult in our very busy, very speedy lives to slow down enough to really connect with what's right in front of us a lot of the time. So that sort of connection, that really authentic connection with what we're seeing right in front of us is to me what really creates a beautiful drawing and artists who have built that connection, their drawings to me, they have feeling, they have emotion, they have a psychology to them that are different than drawings that are sort of unfelt. So what we're gonna be doing in this lesson is I'm gonna bring you through some sort of meditative styles of drawing that really help us connect, help me connect with thing that I'm looking at and through that I'm able to grow a better drawing. So first I'd like to just show a couple of drawings that I think are particularly expressive based on the line quality. So one of the things we're really going to work with is lying quality i...

n this drawing here. There's a lot of hatching but there's also a lot of situations where the artist has left a lot of process marks, a lot of extra marks on the side. He didn't go in and erase everything thinking well, you know, like I don't want people to know that maybe I didn't put the leg in the right place the first time. You know, it's all there. It's like a human act drawing and to show the process and leave it on the page is really what to me create something very, very beautiful. This drawing here is a little bit more abstract but these two figures with the arms sort of up and around them, it's very loose. And this is sort of a style of drawing a contour drawing. We're gonna be working with blind contour and semi observed contour. And those terms will become clear to you in a moment when I demonstrate it. But this drawing is really born from an expressive loose sort of situation. And then this drawing here again to me has this combination of of atmospheric marks and and then more sort of static marks. And you can almost hear how the artist has put the marks down, you can almost hear the quality of the active drawing in this drawing. And that's what I love. Those are the drawings I love and those are the drawings I aspire to do myself. But we got to start somewhere. We've got to start by making lines and line making can be really expressive if you slow down enough to feel the line. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna bring you through a couple of drawings that um are done with what we call blind contour technique. This is a really basic drawing technique, but I think it's one of the most essential, so blind contour basically means that you are looking at your subject but you're actually not allowed to look down at the page, so it's a bit of a leap. Um but it's very liberating in the end. So I'm going to humble myself and do one right in front of you and show you how I would work with it. And as I'm doing it, I'm gonna talk out loud the things that are going on in my head about how I put the marks down and what's important to me with that. So what I'd really like to do is I'd like to compare in terms of generating line quality, um choices in materials and also sort of the quality of the line that one might use if you were going to be working with something organic like this leaf for this drawing. I'm choosing um a sanguine wax sort of colored pencils or earth red, which pairs a little bit with the color of this. But I look at this pencil and I think it's a bit of a more organic kind of color and a softer quality to the line. And if I'm unsure about what to pair with the object, I might make a little bit of a preliminary mark just to sort of see how it feels. And I feel pretty good about how these might pair with this clamp, however, which is an industrial object made of steel and rubber and plastic. I'm actually more inspired to use a ballpoint pen which is in it of itself industrial. So that pairing to me feels really natural. So I'm not only going to be showing you a blind contour technique, but I'm also going to show you about how the type of line you make on the type of media. You choose to draw certain substances, whether it's organic or mechanical, can really elevated drawing. So we're gonna start, we're gonna put the pen to the side, I'm gonna put this clamp to the side and we're gonna start with this leaf. And I'm going to tell you the ground rules here and that will make it easier for you to try this at home. So these drawings can be done in like a minute or two and they can be done from your coffee cup on your counter in the kitchen. They can be done from uh your dog, they can be done from uh toothbrush, in the cup, on your sink, in the bathroom, like you can do it from any subject. But the key thing is slowing down and connecting. So I really encourage you to try this at home once I show you how to work it. So in order to do a blind contour drawing, the first step is relaxing and just dropping any expectation of it looking really anything like the object that you are looking at. I mean it might okay but that's not the point. The point is that you're actually looking at the leaf for an extended period of time. And by looking you're sort of internalizing what its substance, what it really looks like. So I'm just gonna go ahead and start the blind contour drawing and I'm going to talk you through the rules as I go. So you're gonna put your pencil down somewhere on your pad. And that's the last time you're gonna look at your pencil is the last time you actually look at your paper where you're doing the drawing because the rest of the time you're only looking at your model your subject. So I'm gonna look I'm not gonna be looking at my drawing, I will be looking at my leaf and I'm gonna start at the stem and I'm gonna use my pencil expressively. So there's thing is you never want to lift the pencil off the page because I'm not looking down, I wouldn't know where to put it back. So as my eye moves around the outer contour, the outer edge of this leave my pencil is moving at the exact same speed and I'm not lifting the pencil. And I'm also trying to be mindful of the pressure that I'm putting on the line as I'm sort of working with this outer contour and I'm also aware of slowing down. You can't speed through this. This is a meditative style of drawing. It's a felt drawing, it's something that is very connective if you let it be and it's something that you will want to practice. And I think through practicing this you really start to see objects more clearly and really understand them more. Like on an average day you probably wouldn't spend a minute staring at all the nuances of an oak leaf in this way. So when I'm doing this I'm really understanding and connecting with my subject and I don't know if what I'm drawing is really looking like an oak leaf, but I'm taking that pressure off myself because I'm not actually looking down, I'm not looking at my outcome. I'm purely in the process of drawing and I'm aware that this oak leaf is like crispy and brittle and delicate and organic. And as I'm understanding that through drawing it and looking at it, I'm hopefully allowing the drawing to have that quality as well. So I'm going to look down, okay, that's the outcome. It has a certain resemblance to the leaf. But again, that isn't the whole idea. The whole idea is like I actually feel so much more relaxed now after doing that and I really feel connected with my subject. So that's a blind contour drawing. We're gonna do one more of an industrial object with a pen as we mentioned. So I'm just gonna replace my leaf with this clamp. I'm gonna do it on the same page here, I'm gonna do it right around here with my ballpoint pen, super cheap ballpoint pen. Don't need to spend a lot for drawing materials. Now, I'm going to feel this first, this is sort of cold and slick. It's made of metal like this is softer, red squishy, so I it's really different. It's substance is so different than than this leave. So this is a huge part of drawing. It's like connecting with the object, connecting with the substance of the object and trying to relay that through your materials and the quality of line you make. So we're just gonna do one more quick line contour drawing of this. So again, same thing. I'm gonna put my pen down on the paper, I'm gonna connect with something a starting point on this and then that's the last time I'm gonna look at my paper, I'm only going to be looking at the clamp. So here I go looking at the paper now, I'm only looking at the clamp so people cheat at this all the time, right? Like of course, like who's watching But I actually find great satisfaction in not cheating at this because then I really get a sense of like how connected I was and actually it's a sort of surrender, its a sort of like letting go of outcome. And again, the sense of connectivity and slowing down. So I'm coming along the metal bit here, I'm actually pressing much lighter with my hand because it feels like that really kind of sharp edge feels like maybe it needs a lighter line and I'm going to come into the interior a little bit. Again, one continuous line not lifting my pen at all to draw because if I break up the line, this is a continuous contour line. If I break up the line, then again, I really won't know where to put it back down. Again, I'm coming around this rubber bit here, I'm coming around this side coming down to the back and I'm gonna have to backtrack and you might get lost when you do this. It's okay. Just backtrack. It's like a journey, the eyes making a journey that is sort of caressing the edge and again your pen is going at the exact same speed. And if you feel yourself speeding up or thinking about like what you want for lunch or conversation you had earlier in the day, like try to bring yourself back just back. This is all that's going on right now. It's just you're looking at this object in a way that you've probably never looked at it before. All right, I'm going to look down. Okay, So the evaluation mind comes in, does it look like a clamp? And I'm like, oh yeah, it does. Like how good am I? Right? But maybe it wouldn't maybe it's totally abstract. It doesn't matter. Okay, so these are blind contour meaning I didn't look down, but there's a next step which is called semi observed contour, which actually allows you. This technique allows you to look down a little bit here and there when you need it. And I'm just gonna do a quick one of those with a clamp, just so you can see the comparison between the two drawings. But I also want to speak to what goes on in my head when I do that when I'm actually able to evaluate how I'm doing, like judging it and noticing and being able to control it a little bit more. And that's just an experience that you might like to try as well. Because it does shift your attitude, it shifts the energy of the drawing and the outcome as well. So I'm going to keep the clamp where it is and this time I'm still going to keep my pen on the paper, I'm not gonna lift it because it's still a continuous contour drawing, I'm gonna mostly look at the clamp, but I am going to allow myself to look down a little bit and let's just see how the drawings in the end, side by side, how they look. Alright, so I got my panel on my paper, I've got the clamp pretty much in the same position as last time and I'm just gonna start to again, it's a flowing continuous line, but my eyes now sort of bouncing back and forth a little bit between the two and I'm my mind, I'm thinking okay, that's pretty accurate. I'm sort of all of a sudden able to ask myself how I'm doing, like how are you doing, how good are you? Right, I'm sort of looking at the accuracy factor and that is really that's actually something that comes into play when you're drawing. Like you're always from observation sort of asking yourself like how could it be better, how could I make this better? But the reality is that sometimes letting go of that evaluation actually can create a better drawing. So I'm coming down this handle and I'm coming down the side overlapping. I actually love having drawings overlap each other on the page, like a series of drawings where they sort of coalesce and again I'm not gonna lift my my pen so I'm going to have some extra marks here. Okay, blind contour semi, observe contour. This is a little bit more realistic, right? This is a little more abstract and loose. So it's great to try both Because you might find you have a preference for one or the other. To me, the blind contour is super liberating because the outcome wasn't 100 up to me so I can kind of relax around it when I'm looking down and observing. it's still about connecting to the object in building your ability to see, but it's also definitely about evaluating and it might feel a little tighter, it might feel a little bit more self conscious, but allowing yourself the time to play with different kinds of objects. Industrial, organic parrot pair those drawings with different kinds of materials and have a playful attitude with it. Working with that connection is going to connect your eye, your hand and your mind with your world.

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