Turning Edges into Objects

"In a way, nobody sees a flower really. It is so small, we haven't time—like to have a friend takes time. "

-georgia o'keeffe

OPPOSITE:

drawing by student patricia p. spoor

Now that you can replicate shapes and edges with some success, let's apply that skill to drawing three-dimensional objects. Read through the material in this section completely, including "Problem Solvers" (page 26), before starting to draw.

To find subject matter, collect objects from around your home. Detailed, segmented, articulated tools and equipment from the kitchen, garage, and hobbies are great choices. Leaves, sliced fruit, flowers, onions, and slotted spoons all work well. Radishes with leaves and scallions with roots are highly recommended. Use the illustrations in this section as a guide.

A glance of the eye doesn't move along a shape, observing details; it lands on one spot. A long observation collects lots of information for you— quite literally—to draw from.

Choose objects that mean something to you. For instance, if you love to work with plants and flowers, garden tools may cause you to connect with your subject matter more energetically. However, you need to feel an interest in the shapes you see, not just in the activity associated with the tools you choose.

Stay away from plain, smooth objects or anything that's so complicated that you may be asking for a bad time. Lamps, crystal, decoy ducks, and rounded sculptures seem to be frequent bad choices for beginners. Choosing the best subjects can take some time. Treat it as a treasure hunt!

Separate your treasures into three categories: objects that are relatively flat (brushes, spatulas); those with overlapping parts (scissors, eyeglasses); and those with more spatial depth (cookie cutters). The last group is the most challenging to draw.

Put one chosen object on white paper so you can see its edges more clearly. Arrange it in a way that appeals to you. We've taken to calling this your "beloved" in my class, because the attraction should be strong.

supplies for this chapter black drawing pen 14"-x-17" drawing pad scrap paper

"Don't draw for the end product. Enjoy the process. I'd have so much fun, I'd forget to worry about the finished product, and it worked out much better that way."

-student sherry artemf.nko

Look Before You Leap

"I love that coffeepot. It's from my mother. The stories it could tell! I know the drawing is out of proportion, but part of me loves it because of that. And I love the line and shape of it. " —student t. haffner
"When we discuss the 'beloved' object in class, for me, that object is something that attracts me. Then I enjoy developing a drawing of it—that special enjoyment of the creative process." —student pamela m. heberton

To get the best results when applying your contour-drawing technique to three-dimensional objects, look carefully before drawing, and sustain long lines wherever possible. Digest the edge in front of you; don't just glance and go. Give your eyes time to move along the edge of the object you're going to draw, until you truly comprehend it. Project the shape of that line from start to finish on your paper so you get a brief feel for starting point and destination. When you draw, you can follow the pattern of the line you've projected.

SLOW, DELIBERATE APPROACH

Approach your chosen object as you did in Chapter 1, maintaining your contour-drawing technique. Don't worry about the predictable wiggles and lack of a full three-dimensional look. And before you begin any exercises in this chapter, to avoid reading while drawing, refer to the following Summary of Essentials:

• Continue to draw slowly.

• Use long, continuous, dark lines.

• Sustain lines as long as it makes sense to do so.

• Break lines when necessary.

• Record contours of the objects you observe.

Look for a long horizontal or diagonal line at the top of your object as a starting place. Pick a line you think you can do and/or want to try. Stay with slow pressure; don't lift your hand until it's logical to do so. Think of every edge as "wire," nothing tentative. Any edge that can be turned into line, including the sharp edge of a highlight, do so. Solid, unequivocal black can be used for black areas.

(as along the edge of a slotted spoon). This, and changes in line direction accurately reported, will give you more depth than you anticipated, drawing by student sandy fitzmaurice

"I do a lot of work outside, so I find those tools more interesting than kitchen implements, for example. There's something less domesticated about the clippers and the bolt cutter—something

I'd call a bit vicious. But at the same time, I am very fond of them, and they're fun to draw. Now, when I use them, I see them differently, almost like living things—like fish that have evolved with extreme oddities. I like following their shapes, their construction, putting pieces together." -studentjulia gardiner

Bolt Cutters Drawings

"I chose this sieve because it reminded me of one my parents have—including the peeling handle, which I did first and worked up from there to the metal rim around the mesh. I drew all the wires in one direction first, to capture the dents in the mesh, then connected the crosswlres coming from the opposite direction." —student rita walker copping

"I chose this sieve because it reminded me of one my parents have—including the peeling handle, which I did first and worked up from there to the metal rim around the mesh. I drew all the wires in one direction first, to capture the dents in the mesh, then connected the crosswlres coming from the opposite direction." —student rita walker copping

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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