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Day #344 – Drawing of Tom Hiddleston’s Eyes

Tried to spend a bit more time with the detail of anatomy in this one so I focused on just the eyes and nose. Picked a reference photo of Tom Hiddleston to work from.

Quite happy with it overall.

Drawing of Tom Hiddleston's eyes

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Day #324 – A Page of Sketches

Just a page of sketching. Not much I can say about it.

A page of sketches

 

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Day #264 – Practicing Cubes

After watching this excellent Proko video I decided to just sit and practice my three-dimensional cubes as I realized I’m not at all good at this basic skill!

Drawing Cubes

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Day #146 – Drawing in the Park

Absolutely beautiful day today so we took the baby out to the park and hung out in the sunshine. Did several fast, low-quality sketches of things and people observed in and around the park.

Drawing of a couple in the distance who were laying down

A quick drawing of my feet

Drawing of a group of people sat down away from us

Drawing of baby, her mother and our pram

Drawings of objects we brought with us or were growing around us

146-shoes

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Day #037 – Blind and Modified Contour Drawing

I spent a long time today working through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I would have continued further but the next exercise was advertised as needing at least an hour so I will have to save that for tomorrow.

The book first introduced the concept of “Blind Contour Drawing”. This is where you place your pencil on your paper and without looking at your hand simply follow along very carefully, milimetre-by-milimetre, with whatever you’re looking at. Ideally what you’re drawing should be quite intricate in nature so the closer you look the more lines you can follow. The palm of my hand is what I used as suggested in the book. This exercise supposedly works wonderfully to get you to shift out of your “Left Brain” and into the visual “R-Mode” so essential for drawing what is really there. I have to say I found it worked excellently and reminded me A LOT of the feeling you get when successfully meditating. A heightened awareness of all the detail and depth of everything. Apparently some seasoned artists use this exercise as a warm-up before drawing.

As you are not looking at what you’re doing the finished product will tend towards being something of a mess. In the book, however, Edwards argues that these scribbles are a different kind of mark than what your left-brain would ever create. That they have a kind of beauty in and of themselves. I’m not too sure mine are beautiful but I understand what she’s getting at. The marks are a different sort of sensitivity.

First attempt at blind contour drawing

 

If you’re not sure about whether you should try Blind Contour Drawing then this quote from Betty Edwards about what you can expect if you give it a go might convince you:

Whatever the actual reason may be, I can assure you that Pure Contour Drawing will permanently change your ability to perceive. From this point onward, you will start to see in the way an artist sees and your skills in seeing and drawing will progress rapidly.

The next exercise required some preparation. I’d bought the materials a few weeks back but hadn’t yet put them together. I was required to create a ‘view-finder’ by cutting a 6″ x 7 5/8″ square out of a piece of thick card. I then had to clip some clear plastic to the back of this viewfinder and place vertical and horizontal lines on it with a non-permanent marker. It looks like this:

Viewfinder

 

The next exercise, then, was to literally hold my left hand against this transparent plane and almost ‘trace’ over it. By keeping one eye closed and your head very still you can then create accurate perspective drawings of very difficult hand positions. Although this very much feels like “cheating” the exercise, apparently, helps enormously in seeing things properly. A letter from Van Gogh to his brother Theo is reprinted in the book where he discusses using a similar implement which he devised himself. Well if it’s good enough for Van Gogh…

After completing the contour drawing I’ve placed it over a piece of white paper to photograph it effectively:

First attempt at a contour drawing through my viewfinder

Second attempt at a contour drawing through my viewfinder

 

Finally I’ll leave you with another quote from the book which I liked. Edwards is answering the question “If what drawing essentially is is accurately copying what is in front of us, why not just take photographs?”

Also, your style of line, choices for emphasis, and subconscious mental processes–your personality, so to speak–enters the drawing. In this way, again paradoxically, your careful observation and depiction of your subject give the viewer both the image of your subject and an insight into you. In the best sense, you have expressed yourself.

 

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Day #029 – Drawing of the Brain – Black Marker on Cardboard

I was reading more of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and it’s a fascinating book. She goes into some of the science between the left and right brain dichotomy. She explains how the right hand is controlled by the left side of the brain which controls language. Because of this, across cultures, the word ‘right’ is usually associated with positive qualities and the word ‘left’ with negative ones. For example ‘Left’ is apparently Latin for ‘Sinister’. She gave a lot more examples but finished with a really interesting point: all of these noticeable anti left (controlled by the right side of the brain, remember) quirks of language were all created by the left side of the brain which deals with language. The right side of the brain was left powerless to defend itself! She talks about the idea that both sides of the brain have their own interpretation of reality and references some interesting science experiments which back this up. They studied severe epileptics who’d had their Corpus Callosum (“a thick nerve cable composed of millions of fibers that cross-connect the two cerebral hemispheres”) removed in surgery. You can read more about it here.

After laying the groundwork this was one of the main takeaways for me:

As a result of these extraordinary findings over the past fifteen years, we now know that despite our normal feeling that we are one person–a single being–our brains are double  each half with its own way of knowing, its own way of perceiving external reality. In a manner of speaking,k each of us has two minds, two consciousnesses, mediated and integrated by the connecting cable of nerve fibers between the hemispheres. – Betty Edwards

For my drawing today I tried something a bit different. Inspired by the discussion of brains I wanted to draw (from a reference picture in the book) one for myself but today I decided to sketch onto a piece of cardboard and then work over it with a black marker. I think the final result has a nice graphic quality to it.

Picture of the brain drawn with black marker on cardboard