Drawing – Starting From Scratch

Today I went out and made some drawings. I feel as though I am starting from scratch again so this is exactly what i am doing, meaning, I am simply starting with small thumbnail sketches and using only pencil on paper. Keeping it simple. This way I will build up my tolerance and begin on a simplistic level to build up my skill level as well.

The have found the technique of using small thumbnail sized drawings to begin the process of drawing and painting to work very effectively. I learned this technique from master plien air painter John Burton while I was on a one week mentorship program in the fall of 2007. I have been utilizing it ever since.

So, Just as he did, I would also suggest this method for getting started.

Thumbnail technique = quadrents!

First, what you do is simply section your page off into 4 quadrants using your pencil. You can do this freehand. I personally don’t mind if my lines are a bit wobbly, so I just section the page off free hand using my best judgment. I also find, when in doubt i always tend to “go freehand” this way I train myself to work in the moment and this way I also train myself to become much more steady with my hand. As you will notice in one of the drawings posted below I will also turn my sketchbook to suit the format I find works best as I search out compositions to draw. The basic idea is to keep the drawings relatively quick, sketching in the primary elements of the composition. With these drawings I tended to focus on value and shape, much like you would if you were creating a painting. I find this way to be a good way to simplify my compositions and create a nice unity within the composition – What do I mean by Unity – What I mean by unity is that i look at the whole image before and pick out the primary elements of the composition that will bring across the scene before me effectively. I find if I tend to only focus on one part of the composition i miss the “IMPACT” of the scene – The very “IMPACT” that was the reason I would choose a particular composition to begin with.  So…

1. Section off paper into 4 smaller quadrants

2. Focus on doing relatively quick sketches looking at value and shape as a way to create unity

3. Unity = Impact

4. Focus on simplicity of shape and value

Thats basically it!


Andrew Gable

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