As a kid, I remember squirming with anticipation during the climatic moment of truth in vintage Clint Eastwood westerns. The camera zooms to a closeup of Eastwood’s eyes, followed by unbearable tension as the day of reckoning swelters beneath a desert sun. With eyes narrowly focused, the legendary Clint Squint always spelled doom for the bad guys. We sketchers can take a cue from Eastwood’s famous squinting technique in learning to draw more accurately from observation. Continue reading When the Drawing Gets Tough—Squint!
Whether sketching buildings or humans, Drawing Lab students learn to attack their studies with the same key strategy: Find the basic structure of your subject before going to a finished drawing. Continue reading The Key to Successful Drawing: Looking for the Basic Structure of Things
“I can’t even draw a straight line!” is a common phrase I hear before beginners start lessons with me. But we soon learn to draw a wide variety of lines, including reasonably straight ones. With practice, even errant and wobbly lines will bend to your command. For students like Dotty, shown above, putting various lines to work is at the heart of learning to draw from observation. Continue reading Putting Lines to Work for You
Every drawing you do has the potential to suck. Or not.
The fear of making mistakes is what keeps many of us from even trying to draw. However, it’s possible to embrace failure and actually enjoy salvaging a drawing from the brink of disaster. Sketching through your mistakes on paper is an important and fun part of learning to draw accurately.
The very first thing my students learn is how to hold the pencil on its side while drawing basic lines and shapes. The overhand grip, as it’s called in the art world, is a bit awkward at first. But with practice, it quickly becomes second nature to sketchers. One advantage of the overhand grip is how much easier it is to create sweeping pencil strokes and large shapes. Another advantage is that you gain control and flexibility of your wrist when drawing angled and curved lines. You’ll also see increased sensitivity and control when varying line widths and adding tonal values (shading). And the overhand grip is less fatiguing, allowing for longer, more relaxed drawing sessions. Continue reading Getting Sideways With Your Pencil