Underdrawing means just what it says: putting a preliminary drawing under another that will go on top of it. Underdrawing can be employed with any subject, and is especially handy to use as an artistic safety net. For example, all of you who worried about how to avoid drawing curving handles in earlier (Chapter 2) exercises (or how to draw straight handles on tools) will feel more confident about such challenges when you know about underdrawing. To take advantage of this technique, sketch a straight line in pencil as a reference line to guide you when you draw a handle or other symmetrical item, then work right over it with pen, and simply erase your pencil underdrawing afterward.
Apply this sketching technique as accuracy insurance for more complex drawings. Lightly sketch the structure of a bowl, bottle, or other object, then check the sketch on a vertical surface for accuracy, to ascertain its symmetry before putting your detailed drawing on top.
Bottles, just like people, come in various sizes and shapes. Adapt this basic structure by changing the height of the neck, the width of the base, and so on, as needed. The degree of angle or slope between parts can be changed according to specific bottle contours.
2 Sketch a vertical plumbline through the middle; extend the vertical above the cylinder to double its height.
4 Narrow the cylinder around the top vertical extension, and voila: You have drawn a wine bottle.
Rummage around your home and gather about eight simple symmetrical objects of differing sizes. Recyclables are great, since surface appearance won't figure into this. Cylindrical shapes such as yogurt containers, canned goods, beer bottles, drinking glasses all work; add spheres, such as tennis balls. Make a nice funky grouping.
We use symmetrical objects because their simple shapes make the exercises easier to practice; however, these rules also apply to drawing asymmetrical shapes.
using your x-ray vision
Make a group of three to four objects and place them at an easy viewing distance.
Try for a variety of heights; overlap at least two items slightly. Lightly sketch one item right though the other as though they were made of glass. Don't erase anything; all your lines that search out shapes should show. How do you know what shape to make when you can't see it? Carry through the shape you can see. Just like the carry-through on a baseball swing, start it, then let the momentum carry the line along. Swing through on the curvature of the shape. Carry through along your straight lines.
Beginners tend to contract shapes just before they disappear behind an overlapping shape, as if to squeeze what we can't see back into sight. "Drawing through" helps you to capture the actual shape more accurately, then, for a finished drawing, erase what you don't want to show.
Cylinders of different heights, combined with a sphere, make a good grouping both for practicing drawing symmetrical items and for dealing with the shapes of unseen edges and contours.
These images benefit from the plumbline technique, and most of all, from viewing them at a distance on a vertical surface or wall. It's only from that position that symmetry issues can really be evaluated, student drawings, from top left, by pamela m. heberton, anita st. marie, rita walker copping
Was this article helpful?