Below Horizon Line

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Figure 2-9. Changes in shapes due to their position above or below the horizon line

(4) There are three types of perspective construction: one-point, two-point, and three-


(a) One-point exists when two dimensions, an object's height and width, are parallel to the picture plane (fig 2-10A).

Figure 2-10A. One-point perspective

(b) Two-point, or angular, is when the object is sitting at an angle to the picture plane. There are two sets of horizontal lines or planes converging toward two separate vanishing points on the eye level or horizon line (fig 2-10B).

Figure 2-10B. Two-point perspective 27

(c) Three-point is when none of the object's surfaces (height, width, and depth) are parallel to the picture plane (fig 2-10C).

Three Point Perspective
Figure 2-10C. Three-point perspective

(5) The Army Correspondence Course Program (ACCP) offers the subcourse "Draw Subjects in Perspective" (SS 0526). This subcourse offers a more in-depth explanation on perspective construction.

b. Structure, the second quality of form, refers to how the parts make up the whole. Some objects are simple forms, while others are more complex. A drawing, whether simple or complex, must be broken down into its most basic forms, and put together in their proper places. Paying attention to structure sets up spatial relationships which are the foundation of other steps of the basic procedure (fig 2-11).

(1) Spatial relationships refer to the space taken up by an object and where these objects are placed in the overall subject. A rule in visual reality is that no two forms can occupy the same space at the same time.

Drawing One Point Perspective

(2) Avoid a two-dimensional look and begin to add depth by drawing through. Drawing through is drawing an object as if it were made of glass. Drawing through (fig 2-12) allows you to see the depth and structure of the object. This method will prevent you from drawing two objects that occupy the same space. It will also help you to understand the spatial placement of the forms within the illustration.

Proportion Drafting
Figure 2-12. Example of drawing through


1. The second step of the systematic approach is proportion. Proportion is the relative size and location of one form to another. When you draw, the size of all forms must remain proportional to each other. Proportion has two qualities: size and location.

a. Size is the first quality. The object appears large when it is seen closer while that same object at a distance appears small. In order to draw a subject realistically, draw objects as they appear proportionally.

b. The second quality is location. The illustrator may draw an exact copy of the object, but it must be located correctly to give the drawing an accurate appearance.

2. Proportion requires the illustrator to measure and compare an object's proportions within the subject area. Train to see two-dimensionally. You must disregard the third dimension, depth, and draw what you see. Some freehand artist/illustrators can do this very quickly, seemingly with great ease. Practice drawing using these measuring techniques: grid, subject rectangle, and plumb.

a. The grid is a series of equally-spaced, horizontal and vertical, parallel lines which form squares (fig 2-13). Use the grid as a guide in sketching the subject's forms in proportion. Plot points of intersection on the grid much like you would do on a map. A step-by-step explanation follows.

(1) Draw a series of grid lines over drawing number 1 (app A-2). To avoid damaging the illustration (or photograph), use an acetate overlay and grease pencil to set up the grid. When the latter method is used, tape the grid to the photo for a constant reference. For this exercise, use one-inch squares (sample, app A-3). Adjust the squares accordingly for larger or smaller photos. Make the drawing twice the size, for example, 1-inch by 1-inch original to a 2-inch by 2-inch drawing.

NOTE: There is a grid with 1/2-inch squares to use with more detailed photographic subjects (sample, app A-4).

(2) Draw a separate grid on a piece of paper (fig 2-13). Draw this grid proportionate to the desired size the copied illustration will be. For instance, make one-inch squares for the original and two-inch squares for the art. Draw grid lines lightly as they will need to be erased later. Enlarging or reducing can be done as required using this technique. Many mural artists use this method to simplify great enlargements of their illustrations.

(3) Next, number on one side and letter the grid on the top or bottom (fig 2-13). This helps to transfer images correctly from one area to another.

Picture Square Grid Drawing
Figure 2-13. How the grid works

(4) Now, copy the illustration (or photo), grid square by grid square until all lines are finished. Lightly draw lines to allow easy corrections. Also, erase the grid lines before going on to later stages of the basic procedure.

b. The rectangle method is the best and simplest for free-hand drawing of proportions. It breaks the subject into a series proportionate rectangular measurements. These rectangles establish the proper height and width of the objects within the subject area. It enables transferring measurements more easily from the source to the drawing surface. Pay close attention to any angular measurements or references in the subject. A step-by-step explanation follows:

(1) Establish the overall height and width of the subject by drawing a rectangle on the illustration or photograph. Use drawing No. 2 (app A-5) for this exercise. Again use acetate and a grease pencil to keep the photo intact. This rectangle should touch the highest, lowest, extreme left, and extreme right of the subject (fig 2-14). Now the subject rectangle is established.

(2) Next, construct rectangles around all major objects within the subject rectangle (fig 2-14). These "object rectangles" show the overall height, width, and location of the objects within the subject area.

(3) Transfer the subject and object rectangles to the drawing (fig 2-14). This can be done freehand, but a ruler or straightedge helps when drawing straight lines. Transfer the measurements from the photo to a drawing surface the same proportionate size for this drawing. Enlarge or reduce the drawing at this stage, as desired.

(4) Using rectangles and angles as a reference, lightly sketch in the linework (fig 214). Erase the unnecessary lines on the drawing surface as the final step. As you become more proficient, you will be able to draw visually without much measuring.

c. The plumb method is the most widely used method for gathering proportional measurements in freehand drawings. This method is also superior when drawing from life. A plumb is any object that is longer than it is wide, having a straight edge. Examples are a pencil, paint brush, or strip of wood. The plumb method involves using the tool for comparing and transferring measurements; either exact or proportional. A description of how this is done follows.

Tools Done Point Perspective

(1) From a consistent spot, hold the plumb (pencil) in your hand. Lock your elbow. Tilt the plumb neither forward nor backward, and keep the point up.

(a) For measuring, look at the subject with only one eye and place the tip of the plumb at one end of an object. Move your thumb until it reaches the object's other end. Compare this proportional measurement to other proportional measurements within the subject. You have now taken a proportional measurement of objects within the subject.

(b) Transfer this proportional measurement to the drawing surface. Continue until contents of the subject rectangle are complete. Repeat this process for the most important objects in the subject rectangle. Next, break it down into its angles.

(2) There are two ways to draw and measure angles. The first is to tilt the plumb to the left or right, matching the angle you see and reproducing it visually on the drawing. The second way requires you to measure two coordinates: height and width (fig 2-15).

(3) Once you have transferred the object rectangles and angles to the drawing surface, lightly sketch in the line work. Again, erase excess lines as the final step.

Figure 2-15. Using the plumb 36

Learning Event 4: DEFINE CONTOUR

1. The third step of the systematic approach is contour. Contours are all visible edges seen around and within a form. Edges are the places where forms meet or change direction. Learn to see these edges and draw them accurately. You can accomplish this through a series of exercises explained in this learning event.

2. The lines you drew in the previous learning events were schematic or symbolic lines. They were accurate in form and proportion, but lacked the subtle contour variations you need to draw realistically (fig 2-16). You must understand artistic terms of looking and seeing. Seeing abstractly is a way of viewing an object as a series of unrecognizable shapes or edges. Seeing this way helps prevent symbols from interfering with what is actually there. There are five qualities of abstract line: length, direction, angle, weight, and quality.

a. All lines have length. When you draw a line, you must show how long it is in relation to other lines on the subject. This is determined in steps one and two of the basic procedure.

b. Direction of a line is either straight or curved. Direction refers to the dominant direction.

c. Angle refers to where the line points relative to the subject. Angles are either horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Again, determine correct line angle in steps one and two of the systematic approach.

d. Weight is the thickness of the line. The thickness is called "line weight." A line may vary from thick to thin, or it may be one uniform thickness.

e. Quality of line (line quality) shows the subtle variations found within the line's length (fig 2-16).

Lines And Line Drawing
Figure 2-16. Comparison of schematic and abstract lines in drawings

3. You can rework the schematic lines you drew in the previous learning events for visual accuracy. These schematic lines are the right length, direction, and angle. Add line weight and line quality (the small variations in the thickness and direction of a line). This is done by seeing abstractly, and practicing.

4. Now go into contour exercises. The first is positive/negative space, the second is blind/modified contour.

a. Positive space is that taken by the object you wish to draw. Negative space is the area surrounding the object. The study of positive and negative space will enable you to better see the shape you are drawing. For this exercise, use drawing 3 (app A-6). On tracing paper, trace the image and draw a subject rectangle around the subject in the illustration. Concentrate on the negative space. Now shade in the area of negative space that touches the object. This completes a negative space drawing. Notice how the object appears even though you did not draw the object itself (fig 2-17). Add appropriate contours as needed. Without contours to further define the subject, you only have a silhouette.

b. Use blind/modified contour drawings to concentrate on the details along the edges of a form. Contour drawings will help improve eye-hand coordination. Make a blind contour drawing by looking at the subject only, and not the drawing until you are finished. An explanation follows.

(1) For a blind contour drawing, pose the nondrawing hand, palm up, in a semiflexed but relaxed position (fig 2-18). Start at any point along the edge of the hand. Do this as if you were drawing the hand with your eyes. Simultaneously, draw the contours that your eyes are following. Make sure the drawing surface is not within the field of vision. This drawing should be done slowly; spend at least seven minutes on it. Remember, don't look at the drawing surface until the "blind" contour drawing is completed.

(2) A modified contour drawing follows basically the same approach as blind contour drawing. The difference is - a modified contour drawing allows you to glance at the drawing's progress every 15 seconds or so.

c. You shouldn't be concerned if the drawings don't look exactly like your hand. Correct proportion is not necessary in contour drawing. Its goal is to help develop eye-hand coordination and make you more aware of the subtleties of contour. Practice and repetition will be the most help with attaining accuracy.

Realistic Line Drawings

5. The drawing is now correct in form, proportion, and contour. It also has many corrections and smudges. Rather than start over, trace the good portions and transfer the contours to another sheet of paper. This will save much time and aggravation, and the drawing will look much more professional.

Learning Event 5: DEFINE SHADING

The last step of the systematic approach is shading. Shading is the pattern of light and dark found on a form. This shading step does the most to create and emphasize the illusion of depth in your illustrations. Shading has two qualities, value and contrast (fig 2-19).

a. Value is the artist's word for lightness and darkness. Learn the two types of value: local value and value patterns.

(1) Local value is the natural lightness or darkness of an object, irrespective of the lighting situation. For example, a white shirt and black trousers have different local value. Additionally, each has its own value patterns.

(2) Value patterns are the shape variations in the natural lightness or darkness of an object because of reflected light. For instance, a cube has three visible sides. If all visible sides reflect the same amount of light, it looks like a flat hexagon. However, the more direct a side is to the light source, the lighter that side looks. The farther away it is, the darker it looks. The tone variations on hard-edged, rectilinear forms have distinctive shapes or value patterns and are simpler to recognize and draw. Value patterns on curvilinear forms such as a tree, an animal, or clothing folds are much more gradual and tonal change is much more complex. An intense light source increases contrast in value patterns. Natural light (the sun) and artificial light (bulb or fluorescent) make the subject appear different (fig 2-19).

(3) Some edges are definite, others indicate a gradual value change. The value patterns on some subjects may at first seem impossible to duplicate, but through practice, they will become "old hat."

b. Contrast is the degree of difference in lightness or darkness between one value and another. Most beginning artists don't emphasize contrast enough in their drawings. Too little contrast will make the illustration appear flat. Illustrations, photos, or paintings with little difference in values are low contrast. Items with much more difference are high contrast. Higher contrast will emphasize the illusion of depth or three-dimensionality in the work.

Line Contrast For Drawing





Figure 2-19. Effect of different light on various forms (Note reflected light and occurrence of soft shadows)

(1) The term "key" refers to the overall lightness or darkness of a photo or illustration. Images containing light values are "high key." Images containing intermediate grays are "middle key" and those with mostly dark values are "low key." Images containing many values from black to white are "full key" (fig 2-20).

Value Line Drawing
Figure 2-20. Value differences 44

(2) When drawing from photographs, choose high contrast, black-and-white photographs as subject matter. Anything else has differences too subtle for the beginning artist to distinguish and match. Stay away from color photos initially. It is much more difficult transposing color to black, white, and grey.

(3) When drawing from life, pay close attention to your light source, intensity, and its affect on your subject. If you are drawing outside, you must draw quickly. Limit yourself to two hours on your subject. The time limit is due to the movement of the sun; great changes occur in shade, shadow, and value patterns for more than a two-hour period. If it takes longer than that to draw your subject, come back on successive days at the same time until you complete the drawing. If you must, take a Polaroid picture for a reference in case you cannot return to the location or the subject changes.


Learning Event 6:

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