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How Sketch Rock

Paul Lewin, Penwith Coast,

43x51 cm (17x20 in) Rock formations, with their stark, craggy shapes and dramatic shadows, are a wonderful subject for studying form. The depth and drama of this drawing relies upon a bright light that picks out the eroding coastline as a series of unusual and abstract images. Deep shadows help to build up a strong tonal pattern that combines with the highlights to give a three-dimensional form with a striking presence.

Donald Hamilton Fraser Dancer

upper body suggest shadows and create a realistic sense of shape and depth.

A repeated line along the arm echoes the constant movement of the dancer.

Donald Hamilton Fraser RA, Dancer Rehearsing Juliet, 46 x 51 cm (18x20 in) Watching dancers or acrobats is a good way to study the human form as it moves. Here the artist has made a sensitive yet elegant study of a dancer caught mid-way through a sequence. The essence of the power in this drawing is in the economy of line that describes the form of the body so succinctly. Areas such as the hands and legs assume a sense of solidity despite the simplicty of line.

upper body suggest shadows and create a realistic sense of shape and depth.

A repeated line along the arm echoes the constant movement of the dancer.

Layout 8é Construction

The layout, or composition, of a drawing should provide a balanced order of shapes, colours, and forms. Use a viewfmder to choose the most appropriate scene and then draw the layout by measuring every feature carefully.

Measuring is an essential element in the construction of a drawing as it provides a scale by which to judge the relationship and proportions of different masses. Objects can be visually measured with the end of a pencil.

selected the most suitable composition

It is often difficult to select just a few elements of a landscape for a drawing, so use a viewfmder to crop the scene in front of you.

Using a viewfmder

A viewfmder made from card (left) can help you select the part of a scene you wish to draw and it can be adjusted to different proportions. The amount you see through the frame varies according to how close you hold it to your eye and how you adjust the two L-shapes. Make a quick pencil sketch of this cropped image if you want to make sure the composition works well.

selected the most suitable composition

Measuring

If you work on a large composition, or from sketches and photographs, you may prefer to establish a scale to measure the different components of a scene. However, if you draw directly from life, try using a "sight size" technique. This involves measuring the size of an image exactly as you see it with the end of a pencil or a ruler. Transfer the measurement on to paper so that the image is an identical size.

layout & construction

Sight Size Drawing Instruction

Materials

Deconstructing an image

A scene such as this group of buildings may at first appear quite complex and rather daunting, but if you can reduce it to a series of simple shapes and three-dimensional blocks in your mind, you will gain a better sense of perspective and structure as you begin to draw.

Drawing a series of buildings from life

Drawing from life can be both stimulating and problematic, so plan your composition carefully and measure constantly until your eye becomes practised at judging size and scale.

IDraw the outlines of these buildings as a series of simple lines on a large piece of semi-rough paper with a soft pencil.

24 The wall in the foreground provides a strong sense of perspective, so draw it as a set of converging lines.

3 Add in the fine details, checking that doors and windows are in proportion to the size of the buildings.

A plumb line - a small weight on the end of a piece of string that gives a true vertical line -is vital if you need to check how straight and balanced a building actually is.

Individual features have been measured carefully so that they have the right proportions.

This wall has been constructed with lines that tend towards one another to give a powerful sense of perspective.

The three-dimensional appearance of these buildings creates a strong sense of depth.

A plumb line - a small weight on the end of a piece of string that gives a true vertical line -is vital if you need to check how straight and balanced a building actually is.

Materials

Individual features have been measured carefully so that they have the right proportions.

This wall has been constructed with lines that tend towards one another to give a powerful sense of perspective.

James Horton

The Bell Tower

This simple pencil drawing has been constructed as a series of simple blocks and shapes that provide the basic substance of the drawing. The main features were all measured before they were drawn on to the paper and developed into more detailed structures once the proportions and balance of the picture had been established.

The three-dimensional appearance of these buildings creates a strong sense of depth.

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