Friday, February 13, 2009
Drawing with a stick
Last night in my drawing class with Luther Broome, he had us draw with a stick dipped in ink!!! It was so much fun! I had never done anything like that before, and even though I struggled at first, I stuck with it, and towards the end of the class, I really started to feel like I was getting the hang of it. He told me to try to capture the pose of the model with the least number of lines, and that really got me to streamline my drawings. Even though it looks like there was no effort involved, in some ways, this was harder than how I usually draw. Usually, I "scribble" a lot, making lots of lines and I really "search" for the pose that way.
For those of you who don't know this, when you draw from a live model, many of the poses the model takes are held for only a short time - perhaps a minute or maybe two minutes. The purpose of doing these quick drawings is to force you to really capture the "gesture" or essence of the pose. When you draw quickly like this, it also prevents your brain from getting in the way of the drawing. I find that it also helps me with proportions. When I do quick gesture drawings, I like to alternate drawing with first my right hand, and then my left hand. I normally draw, paint and write with my right hand, so the left hand doesn't have the same confidence. What I find interesting is that I tend to prefer the left handed drawings! If you have never tried this, I highly recommend it. It really loosens you up!
Below, you can see one of the first drawings I did with the stick, before we sharpened the stick, and before he had me simplify everything. (It was also done on a different kind of paper.) I can see the value and beauty in the way he had me draw, but there is also something very expressive about my original approach. The struggle is much more evident, and for me, there is a truth in that. Think of how life is often a struggle, and yet, when you persevere, it pays off. The more simplified approach has a confidence and elegance that is not there in my more agonized approach. I like them both, for different reasons. Which do you prefer? I am really having fun, trying new things in this class. It just goes to show you that learning new things is always a worthwhile endeavor.