Natural Bridges School: Weeks 2-6: Proportions, Contour Lines, Positive/Negative Space, and Getting Abstract

Orginally posted 11/10: Using artwork by artists such as Kandinsky and Mondrian as ideas, everyone worked with lines, shapes and patterns to create their own abstract drawings. Scroll down to view everyone’s drawings.


Abstract compositions by Willow (upper left) and Elijah (upper right)

After exploring abstract drawing from the imagination we now shift back to drawing from observation.  Students will be studying proportion and drawing realistic contour lines as well as positive and negative space.

Dragonfly drawings by Gianna (upper left) and Katia (upper right) explore accuracy in proportions and contour edges.

Kiah’s sketch of the egret (upper left) shows how she looked for the negative space in the reference picture to draw the bird’s form. Thairie’s Jeep (upper right) shows how he used guidelines for basic shapes before finishing with darker outlines.


Your eye for accurate proportions keeps improving with each sketch, especially in the dragonfly drawing. Your confidence is really starting to show in your line work. Really like how you kept accurate proportions of the jaguar while working on large paper.


Your inner artist is shining through in this set of sketches! Exquisite dragonfly; great job in depicting natural looking, transparent wings. The proportions of the jaguar are spot-on. And really like the line work and texture patterns in the lizard drawing.



Really like how you control the pencil when drawing thicker and thinner lines, Gianna! The realistic contour edges of the dragonfly’s body and wings are VERY well drawn.


As you explored realism in your drawing of the dragonfly, your confident thick and thin line strokes came together for a powerful drawing style. Excellent detail work on the dragonfly and the jaguar while keeping accurate proportions. Links to concept artists: Click here and here



wOnDeRfUL sketches, Willow! The dragonfly was a huge step into realism. And you pulled together some tight contour edges and accurate proportions of its body. Same with the jaguar: excellent start in nailing down the proportions and form of its body. Nice details and flourishes on the lizard sketch. And you pulled together a couple of powerful abstract compositions!


These sketches show big-time progress in your observational drawing skills! Each sketch shows increased accuracy in proportions, especially the jaguar and dragonfly. Fantastic work in showing the details of the dragonfly’s wings and body. Try sketching bigger and faster for your initial shapes before adding darker contours. Links to concept artists: Click here and here


Your desire to improve in sketching realistic, accurate proportions shines in these drawings. Your eye for detail captures everything from textured lizard skin, to patterns on jaguar fur, to the natural contours of dragonfly wings. Really like the contour edges of the dragonfly’s legs and body.


You joined the NB Sketchers a bit late, but rapidly got on course with lines, shapes, and accurate proportions (sizes of shapes compared to other shapes)! The proportions of the dragonfly are VERY well drawn. And the contour edges of its body and wings look realistic. I know you were working on abstract drawings but I didn’t receive them after class.


Outstanding line work, Emilio! Your confidence in observational sketching is showing in your study of the dragonfly. You did a great job of nailing the proportions and textures of the lizard. And the light and dark tones are well drawn. If you loosen the line work in your sketches and try some faster, freer strokes, you’ll unleash the concept artist inside of you. Links to concept artists: Click here and here. The abstract drawing was a bit of a challenge but you pulled together a powerful composition!


Really liking your line work and bold contour edges on these drawings! The measurements of proportions get better and better in each sketch. Overall, the proportions of the jaguar and flower are very well drawn. And you kept the accuracy when drawing the jaguar on the large format paper. Wonderful use of color in your abstract composition. Keep it going, Kiah!



You’ve got a great eye for accurate proportions! Overall, the proportions of the drawgonfly’s body and wings are very well drawn. You got an excellent start in drawing the guidelines for measurements of the jaguar’s body.


Great to be drawing with you again, man! The abstract drawing lesson was a wonderful way for you to get back into the swing of things. The ‘Gage’ style really shows in this set of abstract compositions.

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