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"You have to summon upjour courage to do things jou don't think are going to look right. But jou 're seeing it, so jou have to put it down on paper."

-student kim nightingale

To translate a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional drawing, develop a strategy that gives you a mental/visual run-through of how you'll approach the challenge. With a gesture of your hand over the surface of your paper, you can replicate the general space your drawing will occupy, to get a preliminary feel for its general shape and dimensions. Notice how aspects of the shape connect. Look over the object, taking in its shape, deciding where you'll start and generally where you'll go. To enter the drawing, pick a long line you can follow. Take small pauses throughout as you decide your next moves.

"One of the things I learned was to just keep going. It was frustrating because I'm doing a leaf outline, and not seeing itjet. I would say to njself Just forget about it! Just wait until the end. You can alwcjs do another one, or start over again. "

-student tracey m. robinson

GETTING LOST

Line quality is highly significant in contour drawing. If you goof and get lost, don't give up, and don't point out your goof by crossing out. The bold confidence of the line is broken more by crossouts than by an inaccurate line. Once you're finished, you'll be surprised how little a few mismarks will matter—what is seen at viewing distance is different from what you see at "doing distance." Instead of calling attention to an inconsequential slip by crossing it out, your strategy is to calmly pick up at the right place and keep going. If you are nervous about continuing, remind yourself that it's only a drawing. You can always do another!

TEDIOUS RELATIONSHIPS

Don't feel compelled to draw the same object until you "get it right." This should be an ideal relationship, so just let it go if it wasn't your true beloved. Substitute an object that you like better, and start over with new energy. You'll find that some objects will stimulate you to work in a more focused way.

BENDS

Your drawings of machine-made objects won't look like they came straight out of a catalogue. They'll look slightly animated, perhaps distorted. At this point, just concentrate on seeing, recording, and maintaining the contour line. You can add more accuracy in the next chapter.

DIFFICULT PARTS

If you see something you know will give you trouble, practice that portion on scrap paper until you feel you've learned the shapes a bit. Spiral shapes, like corkscrews, are prime candidates.

"Everjthing seems difficult a t first. That feeling vanishes as I just draw. "

-studentjulia gardiner

PERSPECTIVE

Beginners often use the word "perspective" to indicate their concern with giving dimension to objects. But perspective is not an issue at this point, since you won't get much spatial depth from contour drawing anyway, although you might get more than you expect.

NEGATIVE SPACE

When you draw a slotted spoon, for example, the little space shapes created by the cutout slots are called negative spaces.

Check out the illustrations on these pages to see how often it's the shape of what's not there—the negative space-surrounded by what is there, that adds, or even attracts, the most interest.

"I finally understood that the negative -space shape helps me draw more accurately because of the shared contours. "

-studentjohn f. x. peloso

OVERLAPS

Objects with overlapping parts seem to give beginners amazing powers of X-ray vision. Superman may indeed see traffic right through a highway overpass as he flies by, but we need to draw only what we are able to see, not what we know is there. We know one blade of a scissors exists under the other, but we see only part of that blade-and that's the part to draw.

SO-CALLED MISTAKES

If you don't get it just right, you can learn from that glitch, storing up the sight and feel manually of what you'll avoid next time. Every line teaches you something about how to draw. Keep in mind that drawings rarely conform to the artist's vision. Artwork has a secret life of its own. You're in for constant surprises when drawing. You may not be able to recognize what is in your drawing at first, simply because it isn't ever quite what you anticipated.

"When I stood up and saw it, I was like, I just can't believe that came out of me!"

-studentjamie keever

Nagetive Space Drawing

An object's empty spaces—such as the openings in this scissors handle— are negative spaces. If you can draw the shape of a negative space, you can draw the positive one better, since they share common edges. Shapes of negative spaces also exist between objects, although they are often not as precise. The space between objects becomes charged the closer they are to one another. Edges of the paper, untouched by the pen, are remote and devoid of drama by comparison, drawing by student barbara kops

An object's empty spaces—such as the openings in this scissors handle— are negative spaces. If you can draw the shape of a negative space, you can draw the positive one better, since they share common edges. Shapes of negative spaces also exist between objects, although they are often not as precise. The space between objects becomes charged the closer they are to one another. Edges of the paper, untouched by the pen, are remote and devoid of drama by comparison, drawing by student barbara kops

preview how you'll approach the drawing before you touch pen to paper. Draw the "over"—the "on top" part—first. Then draw the "under" part around it, leaving out the area that can't be seen. Note where the line has to stop to avoid the X-ray pitfall, drawing by student al roberts preview how you'll approach the drawing before you touch pen to paper. Draw the "over"—the "on top" part—first. Then draw the "under" part around it, leaving out the area that can't be seen. Note where the line has to stop to avoid the X-ray pitfall, drawing by student al roberts

Re-Viewing Your Drawings

Reptitive Line Drawings

break before you break

Take breaks—not in the middle of doing a small drawing, but afterward, and between drawings. Break as often as you need to recharge your energy. Remember, quality, not quantity, is the point.

When a drawing has repetitive angular shapes, as in this plant, the eye follows those reference points, stimulated by the rhythm of the drawing, which seems faster and more animated. Rounder shapes literally have fewer reference "points," and therefore give a more flowing, peaceful impression. Don't be concerned if an exercise drawing runs off the page, such as the leaves at the top of this plant. As mentioned earlier, it simply means that the artist's concentration is focused on line, just as it should be. drawing by student

|oan simonelli

When you've completed two or three objects, put your page of drawings up on a wall and study them. Did you:

• Maintain the contour-drawing technique, going slowly, using pressure?

• Draw a recognizable object?

• Draw what you saw, not what you knew was theref

If you had some success with the above objectives, even if limited, give yourself credit. You're headed in the right direction. Check in on your fellow beginners to see how they did. Pick out work you like and see if you can identify why you like it. Are there objects you enjoy looking at, not only because they are accurate or recognizable, but simply because you enjoy their shapes and movement?

Spontaneous placement of objects on the page creates movement and pattern that becomes more visible from a distance. Negative spaces created between the objects (which are the positive spaces) take on greater significance.

drawing by student pamela m. heberton

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