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Old 10-18-2004, 12:31 AM
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JayD JayD is offline
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Re: Basic 101:Class1


Paul Cézanne, in writing to a colleague, wrote that all forms in nature are based upon geometric shapes. “Draw these simple shapes”, he said, “and we will be able to draw or paint what we wish since simple geometric shapes underlie all objects.”

Every object, be it you, a Michelin Tire or a tall standing Sequoia has its foundations in geometric shapes: The cube, the cylinder, the cone, and the sphere. They may not be geometrically perfect and sometimes you have to really look to find them but they are there and if you know what to look for you can build you drawing relying on these basic shapes. Knowing this fact can allow you to build a drawing with depth and dimension.

The first lessons in this class are the really obvious but let us not pass them by.

1. Drawing Straight Lines

Materials: for this class, the only materials that you will need are a number two pencil (you may sub in an HB or a 2B but the standard office pencil will do fine) and a sketchpad of your choosing. DO NOT concern yourself with the quality of the paper. Newsprint is just fine. If you want, you could use a legal pad—whatever work for you. Work within your comfort zone and certainly within your budget.

Put away all of your rulers, protractors, rolling rulers and any other tool that might help you to draw a straight line. If you are sitting on a train or a bus or plane you are not going to be whipping out the old T-Square. Always be prepared NOT to use your standard tools.

It isn’t really THAT hard to draw a straight line. I hear people say all the time “I couldn’t even draw a straight line” –there is usually a nervous laugh and then there is that look of longing because you know that they long to take a pencil in hand and do what you can do—draw a picture. The funny thing is that anyone can draw. It may not be of a sellable quality and it may not be exact but anyone can pick up a pencil and draw. Most people who cannot draw have, generally speaking, convinced themselves that they cannot draw either through their own failed experience or through comments of family and peers. We all know the feeling and we have all been there. When you draw a celebrity and you show it to your mother or a sibling and they say “who’s that?”—Well, you know what I mean.

First, decide how you are going to hold your pencil. There are several ways to hold a pencil. The first is the writing position, the second is the under the palm position. Now, practice drawing using these hand positions. Try drawing a series of squiggles, lines, and circles in order to bring these positions into your comfort zone. When you do these exercises DO NOT DRAW FROM YOUR WRIST. WORK EXCLUSIVELY FROM YOUR ELBOW.

(Insert drawings here)

Everyone operates from an angle. It’s a favorite direction for you to draw. Finding the angle that is comfortable for you easily draws a straight line. Using the wrist will tighten up your control and will produce a shaky line. Using the elbow permits more control of the pencil thus producing a smooth flowing line

(Insert drawings here)

1. Start by drawing a straight line across the paper. Now draw these straight lines over and over except each time, before you draw the line, turn the paper and try to draw a horizontal, vertical and a diagonal line. Do this over and over again until you discover an angle which gives you a comfortable feeling straight line.

Do this using the writing position and then do it again using the underhand or cupped position. See if you can note the difference.

2. Take another sheet of paper and this time, again, start dashing off those straight lines as quickly as you can. This time DO NOT turn the paper

Do this using the writing position and then do it again using the underhand or cupped position. See if you can note the difference.

Again, when you make these lines—don’t worry about being careful—this is an exercise—fire them out as rapidly as you can—try to get them straight but don’t worry if you do not—worry about taxes and death—don’t worry about getting the straight line down the first time. That is what practice is for. Which brings me to another point: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!! Make time to do these exercises and you will create improvement in yourself.

Well, this is the end of class 1. I told you this was a basic course but don’t laugh just yet because it will get progressively difficult as we move through the 30 weeks.

Thank you for joining us.

Class Assignment: Read the chapter Eye Level: Foundation of Perspective. If you have already read it great! Take a look at the picture you did for the pre class exercise and see if you can not anything about the perspective of the piece and then locate where you think the vanishing point occurs. If you have questions, contact me.
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