Scribbles on the Wall: Lessons Along the Way

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Using the lines you already drew in direction NE as reference keep glancing at those lines as you are drawing new ones to match up the angles , draw the ramp on the right side. Remember: Beware of the tendency to droop the bottom line.

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No drooping! Complete your two-layered foreshortened ramp building by drawing the horizon line above the building, positioning your light source, and shading all the surfaces opposite your light position. Using your reference lines to angle the cast shadow correctly in direction SW is really simple when you are drawing buildings; just extend the bottom lines.

Beautiful job! In variation num- ber one, I experimented with tapering the vertical sides inward. I was pleased with the results. You try it. However, in your version, draw it nine levels high. Now, draw a nine- section-high version, alternating the tapered sides from inward to outward. How about try- ing a tall version with alternating thin and thick layers, tapering three segments in, three segments out, three in, etc.?

There are a thousand possible variations of this interesting exercise. In variation number two, I experimented with alternating the foreshortened layers into a rotating step building with ramps, doors, windows, and some peculiar foreshortened cylin- der attached to the side. It looks much more complicated than it is. Simply start with a very strong and sharp foreshortened square. Keep in mind that the very first foreshortened square you draw is the template reference point for all the lines you will be drawing for the entire picture.

With this strong beginning, enjoy the process of duplicating my variation number two, one line, one step at a time. You have enough knowledge and skill now to draw this one on your own without me having to break it down into steps for you. By Marnie Ross Marnie Ross has applied her budding drawing skill to this rendering of her church.

This lesson was inspired from my teaching tour through schools in Australia many years ago. During my school visits, the students introduced me to a wide array of exotic Australian pets. One student let me hold his pet koala, another a pet echidna, a frilled hooded lizard, a duck-billed platypus, and even a baby kangaroo. Then, of course, I just had to teach the entire class how to draw these wonderful creatures in 3-D by using the Nine Fundamental Laws of Drawing. In this lesson we will draw a caricature of a koala.

After the lesson, I encourage you to go online and research three photos of real-world koalas and draw them as well by using the skills we are going to learn now. Very lightly sketch three circles in a row. Continuing to work on the first cir- cle, use more curving dashes to fill in 4. You lines around the outside, creating can use texture to shade an object. Draw scribbles around the third circle. Keep 5. Place your light source in the top scribbling more circling lines around and right corner of your page, and add a around the shape to create a messy-looking few more rows of spikes to the left ball of dryer lint.

Continue to explore this idea side of the shape. Now, time for the start 8. Lightly sketch in the ears. Lightly slope down the shoulders. Begin with a light circle. This creates the illusion of a light reflection off the shiny nose. You will Draw the bump at the bottom of the ear. Or I can draw a few lines on a page and point to it. Now take your finger and lightly trace the helix, concha, and tragus in your own ear.

What do you know? Look back at the furry ball you drew at Repeat this ear structure on the right ear. Notice how you created the soft feel of fur as com- pared to the sharp feel of the spike ball. Draw the soft, furry texture around the outline of the koala. Emphasize the undershadow under his chin and in his ear under the top helix line. Go ahead and draw a crowd of them! Enjoy yourself. Use a lot of overlapping and size to push the other koalas deeper into your picture.

Creating this push and pull of objects in your drawing means you have successfully achieved the delightful illusion of the third dimension, depth, in your picture. Now take a look at my sketchbook page for ideas on drawing a koala crowd. Notice how their ears and noses are in real life. Using the important concepts from this lesson—texture, shading, and overlapping—draw another koala with smaller, more realistic ears and nose.

Scribbling to Writing in 6 easy steps

Suzanne Kozloski used the important principles from this lesson for her more realistic drawings of koalas. I often tell my students that musicians warm up by playing scales, athletes warm up by stretching their muscles, and we artists can warm up by drawing several simple basic shapes, a few stacked tables, some overlapping spheres, or a delightful bowl of cereal!

Draw two guide dots horizontally 2. Connect the dots with a across from each other. The foreshortened circle is one of those pivotal shapes that can be used as a foun- dation to create thousands of objects. Similar to the importance of a foreshortened square, enabling you to draw boxes, tables, houses, and so on, the foreshortened circle enables you to draw the three-dimensional curved surfaces of cylindrical objects: a bowl, a rose, a cub, a hat, a jellyfish.

Practice drawing six foreshortened circles in a row, using guide dots, like I have here. Draw the body of the bowl.

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  • Draw the horizon line. Shade the bowl with blended shading from dark to light, creating a smooth blended surface. Look at how the small bit of blended shading inside the right corner of the bowl has an enormous visual effect in creating the illusion of depth. This small blended shad- ing detail will be very important for you to transfer when you are drawing the rose, the lily, an orchid, or any flower.

    This tiny detail of a small overlapping line that defines a fold or a wrinkle will have a huge visual effect in enabling you to make the rose petals appear to be curling around the bud in three dimensions. Draw a vertical 5b. Draw two guide dots. Draw three-quarters flagpole. Draw the vertical 5e. Curve the near bottom edge 5f. The bottom of the exercise.

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    This teeny tiny dash flag is a bit farther from your will make or break this draw- eye, so you need to distort it, ing and holds an enormous curve it more than the top edge. It uses overlapping, placement, and size simultaneously. Draw three-quarters 5g. Okay, that was pretty of a foreshortened circle, 5h. Draw the two but this time curve the cool. Draw the vertical thickness 5k. Curve the bottom of the 5l. Push the back line up, away from lines from each edge. Make near part of the flag. Remember that dis- You are following the curved line tortion is your friend here.

    This exercise will be directly transferred to the rose. Draw another flagpole. Draw the two guide dots, and draw the three- quarter foreshortened circle curling toward you. Begin spiraling the foreshortened circle inward. Complete the foreshortened circle spiral. Stretch out the ends, and always curve the mid- dle in close. We will also be discussing this when we draw water ripples in a later lesson. Draw the thickness of the vertical sides of the flag. Curve the bottom of the near edge of the flag a bit more than the curve you have drawn on the top edge above.

    Push that back line up, and curve it away. Draw the all-important peeking lines from each of the inside edges. This is definitely the BAM moment of this drawing, the one instantly 5s 5o defining moment when a drawing suddenly pops into the third dimension. Draw in some very dark nook and cranny shad- ows. Generally, the more little cracks, crevices, nooks, and crannies that you can pour some shadow into, the more depth you create in your drawing.

    Complete the blended shading. Good job on your patient cooperation in drawing the bowl and the three separate flags. We will now use the techniques you just learned to draw a rose. Draw a foreshortened 7. Draw a guide dot in the 8. Begin to spiral out the rose bowl, and add a stem. Keep spiraling, and keep Complete the spiral at Draw the center thickness of these spiraled foreshortened the center of the petal.

    We are almost torted shape that will form the at the BAM moment. Draw the next outer Draw the remaining Draw in the very dark, peeking line. There very small, nook and cranny it is—depth focused on our shadows. Notice I even beautiful rose. Place the light source in the top right, and blend the shading on each of the curved surfaces opposite. Draw a few thorns on the stem, and draw the leaves. Try to draw this six-rose bouquet on your own. If you really like this six-rose bouquet lesson, check out the twenty-minute video tutorial on my website, www.

    We confidently drew the cube and several variations of the cube. In this lesson we will conquer another building block: the cylinder. Draw two guide dots for 2. Draw a foreshortened circle. Draw the sides of the your foreshortened circle. Curve the bottom of the cylinder, making sure to curve the bottom a bit more than the corresponding curve at the top.

    This bottom curve uses two key drawing concepts, size and place- 5. To draw the back two cylinders, ment, simultaneously. Complete the foreshortened circle. Draw the sides of the second cylinder. The right side tucks behind the first cylin- der, using overlapping, which creates the visual illusion of depth. Curve the bottom of the second cylinder. Be sure to push this line up and behind the first closer cylinder.

    The natural tendency is to draw this line connecting to the bottom corner of the first cylinder. You can see where I put a line placement guide dot on the left side of the near cylinder. Begin the third cylinder with two foreshortened circle guide dots off the top center right of the first cylinder. Draw the foreshortened circle. Notice how my second row of cylinders is a bit smaller than the first cylinder. Complete the third cylinder using overlapping, size, and placement. Draw the horizon line, and position your light source.

    I like to begin my shading process by darken- ing all of the small dark nook and cranny shadows. Complete this drawing of three cylinders. Add cast shad- ows, opposite your light source, using blended shading. Make sure to use a direction SW guide line to place your cast shadows correctly. Lesson Bonus Challenge Okay, now we are ready to start applying our drawing lessons to the real world.

    Go into your kitchen, and find three soup cans, three soda cans, or three coffee mugs, all of the same size. Arrange the objects on the kitchen table in the same positions that we have just drawn them. Sit down in a chair in front of your still life. Notice how the tops of the cans are not nearly as foreshortened as we have drawn them.

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    This is because your eye level is much higher than where we imagined it to be in our picture. Push yourself back from the table a bit, and lower your eye level until the tops of the cans match the fore- shortening that we have drawn. This is a glimpse of two-point perspective that I will be getting to in a later lesson.

    They expand; they open up to near full circles depending on where your eye level is. Understanding the Nine Fundamental Laws of Drawing will give you the skill to draw objects you see in the world around you or that you create in your imagination in any position. Now grab nine cans or mugs varying sizes are okay. Position them in any way you want on one end of the kitchen table. Sit at the other end of the kitchen table with your sketchbook and pencil.

    Look at your still life. Feel free to place a box under your cans to raise them to a higher, more foreshortened perspective.


    As you draw what you see, you will recognize the words that you have been learning in these lessons. You will begin to discover how these Nine Fundamental Laws of Drawing truly apply to see- ing and drawing the real world in 3-D in your sketchbook. Here is an important point: In every three- dimensional drawing you create from your imagination or from the real world, you will always apply two or more of the Nine Laws every time, without exception. In this lesson we applied fore- shortening, overlapping, placement, size, shading, and shadow.

    The skills we will be practicing in this drawing are over- lapping, foreshortening, blended shading, shadows, and nook and cranny shading. While practicing these skills, we will also push the envelope and expand our understanding of the Nine Fundamental Laws of Drawing. Look at the les- son illustration on the previous page. However, take a closer look at the lowest cylin- drical tower.

    It is much smaller than the surrounding towers, so according to our understanding of the laws, it should appear farther away. This is an example of how some design laws have more visual power than others. The lowest smaller cylindrical tower appears closer because it is overlapping in front of the other much larger towers. Overlapping will always trump size.

    See a Problem?

    Look at the two hovering cylin- ders. The larger one could be closer or farther away. Now in comparison, look at the smaller hovering cylinder over on the left. Because it is overlapping the other tower and casting a shadow, we can determine it is closer. If I had drawn the center hovering disk a tiny bit in front of a tower, or a tiny bit behind a tower, I would have given the viewer a context of where the disk was, thus eliminating a confusing optical illusion.

    We will learn more about how to position your objects to alleviate depth ambiguity when we draw clouds, trees, and two-point perspective cities in later lessons. Draw a large picture frame, taking up an entire page of your sketchbook. Using guide dots, draw the first foreshortened circle. Draw more foreshortened circles, some large, some small. Draw a few more foreshortened circles positioned slightly out of the frame.

    These peeking towers have a nice visual effect. Draw vertical sides down from the lowest foreshortened circle. When you are drawing full scene pictures like this, it is always a good idea to detail in the lowest objects first. Because the lowest objects will be overlapping every other object in the picture. Another scenario would be if you were drawing a flock of birds in flight. The bird positioned highest in the frame might be drawn larger in size and over- lapping other smaller birds lower in the frame. In both scenarios, overlapping still trumps all the other Nine Laws. Continue drawing the vertical sides down for the lowest row of towers.

    Concentrate on overlapping, drawing the important peek- ing lines down from each and every foreshortened circle. Extend the erased foreshortened circle a smidge—just enough to ensure that it is over- lapping behind or in front of the other tower. Complete all the towers, moving from the lowest in the frame to the highest. NOTE: There is one small problem you may encounter as you are drawing the towers. A simple practical solution to this is to place a small piece of clean scratch paper over the com- pleted portion of your drawing, place your hand on the scratch paper, and draw the next row.

    Then pick up the scratch paper and repo- sition it higher. I use this scratch-paper-shielding technique in every pencil and ink illustration I create. Begin your nook and cranny shadows at the top, and work your way down using your scratch-paper shielding. You want to avoid smearing your drawing during this detail phase.

    Avoid smearing! This is a fun challenge. You have learned how to draw the cube, cube variations, multiple layered-cube buildings, and towers of tables and, most importantly, how to apply the drawing compass directions: northwest, southwest, northeast, and southeast. You will now use these skills to draw more real-world objects. Draw a cube very, very lightly. Draw a guide dot in the 3.

    Draw a very light vertical line middle of the bottom line of up from this guide dot. This will the cube, on the right side. Connect the front slopes of the roof. Notice 5. Using the lines you have already drawn as a how the near slope is longer than the far side. The near part of the roof is 5b below. This is a problem many students longer to make it appear larger and to create the initially have with this lesson. To avoid this, illusion that it is closer to your eye. Draw the far side of the roof by matching the slant of the front edge.

    When I draw houses, I have found that slanting the far edge of the roof a little less than the near edge helps the illusion. This is just a peek at the visual illusion of two-point perspective. I just wanted to whet your appetite for new, chal- lenging drawing lessons! Look at how fascinating it is to see the house lined up with drawing compass direc- tions NW and NE and to see how they merge into a disappearing vanishing point on either side of the object.

    In fact, you have already been effectively using this advanced two-point-perspective science in your three-dimensional drawings without even knowing it! Now, take a moment to think about this: You have already been effectively using this advanced two-point-perspective science in your three-dimensional drawings without even knowing it!

    Surprise, surprise! A good analogy to this idea is that I can type on my laptop, yet not have a clue as to the mechanics of how a computer actually works. You can safely drive a car without understanding how the engine works. Similarly, you can and have!

    Encourage scribbling and drawing

    When information-overload anxiety hits beginning students, they naturally get frustrated. They experience failure and accept a com- pletely false assumption that they are void of talent and therefore do not have the ability to learn how to draw. The truth is that learning how to draw has nothing to do with talent. You have experienced this firsthand with these lessons. Immediate success ignites delight, enthusiasm, and MORE interest. More interest inspires more practice. Moreover, learning to draw can dramatically increase your communication skills—which can in turn have an extraordinary effect on your life.

    Draw the horizon line above the 8. Using the lines you have already drawn in house, and position your light direction NW as reference, sketch in light guide source. Clean up your drawing by lines on the roof for shingles. Draw the direction erasing the extra guide lines. SW guide line on the ground to add the cast shadow. Darken in the undershadow along the base of the roof. The darker you make it, the more you will recess the wall under the roof, pushing it deeper in the picture.

    Complete the simple house with shingles, drawing the near shingles larger and reducing the shingles in size as they move toward the far side of the roof. Draw the windows, keeping your lines parallel to the outer wall edges. Same idea applies to the door. Draw the vertical lines of the door matching the vertical lines of the center and right side of the house. Go ahead—bushes and shrubs are fun details to add. Add thickness to the window and door. Complete the drawing with shading. Nice work! You have drawn a nice little house on the prairie. Try drawing this mail- box yourself.

    Begin by transforming a cube into a mailbox. Again, notice how the near edge of the mailbox face is longer than the far edge. This is another example of how size creates depth. Draw the post and mailbox details.

    Go with the flow

    Look at how the dark undershadow pushes the post under the mailbox. Complete your three-dimensional mailbox with more details. These small details—the postal flag, the handle, the street address, and, especially, the texture of wood—finish this drawing nicely. Consider texture as being the icing on a cake and your drawing as being the cake. Texture adds the visual feel of the By Michele Proos surface to your objects: the fur on a cat, the cobblestones on a street, the scales on a fish. Take a look at this book; it will take your breath away! However, I realized there was such a high volume of educa- tional content in this drawing that I decided to make it into a full lesson.

    A win-win scenario, I get to wedge another one of my favorite lessons into this book, and you get to learn how to draw more intricate houses. Using your direction SW line 3. Keep your eyes checking the house up to this step here. Draw the vertical line for the near corner of 5. That line you have just drawn is now your the house, and draw the bottom left side with reference angle line in direction NW. Use this a line in direction NW. Draw the far left vertical wall. Draw a guide dot in the middle of the bottom of the wall. Draw the vertical guide line up from your guide dot to position the peak of the roof.

    Draw the peak of the roof, making sure the near edge is noticeably larger than the back edge. Complete the roof with a line in direction NE. Erase your extra lines. Using the lines you have already drawn as reference direction lines NW and NE, lightly draw in guide lines for the shingles. Add the door, windows, and garage. Complete your brand-new house! Draw in the shading, shadows, and very dark undershadows under the eaves.

    The sidewalk and driveway are drawn by strictly following your direction guide lines! Look at how much faith I have in you! You are well on your way to draw- ing houses with only a few guide lines. You are way out on an independent limb here, so you might as well sketch in a few trees and shrubs, and why not? For thirty years I have gotten flack for always encouraging my students to trace pictures. I encourage them to trace pictures from superhero comic books, Sunday comics, magazine photos of faces, hands, feet, horses, trees, and flowers.

    Tracing is a won- derful way to really understand how so many lines, angles, curves, and shapes fit together to form an image. Think of any of the great artists, painters, or sculptors of the Renaissance—Rafael, Leonardo, Michelangelo—they all traced pictures to help them learn how to draw. Each one of them unhesitat- ingly responded that tracing the drawings of master illustrators helped them truly learn how to draw during their high school and art college years. By Kimberly McMichael Student examples Look at a few student drawings, and compare their different unique style with yours.

    You each followed the same lesson but had slightly different results. Each of you is in the process of defining your own unique style and your own unique way of inter- preting these lessons and the visual world around you. This lesson will highlight a simple yet important line: the S curve. After you finish this lesson, I want you to take a walk around your home or wherever you happen to be. This exercise will help you become aware of how important S lines are to our aesthetic world. Transferring what you learned from 1.

    Begin the first lily 2. Tuck another smaller S drawing all those foreshortened cylinders with a graceful S curve. Draw the pointed lip of the petal. Draw the bell of the flower by tapering the sides down. Tapering is another one of those very important ideas that you will start to notice everywhere now that you are aware of it.

    A tree trunk tapers from its base to its branches. Draw the curved bottom of the bell. Curving contour lines define the shape and give it volume contour lines will be described in greater detail in the next chapter. The near part of the bell is curved lower on the paper. Draw the seed pod in the center of the bell. Draw more S curves to create the tops of the leaves. Draw the bottom of the leaves with slightly more exaggerated S curves.

    Notice how I used a bit of curl from the rose lesson to tuck the tip of the leaves behind. Determine the placement of your light source, and darken the nook and cranny shadows. This is the moment when the drawing really pops off the page in the third dimension. To complete the shading, use your blending Stomp to gradually blend the shading from dark to light across the curved smooth surface of the flower. Add a few more lilies to cre- ate a delightful bouquet!

    E-mail me a copy too www. Draw a few of these, and then create a dozen of your very own unique variations. Take a look and keep inspired to draw, draw, draw every day! Contour lines are especially important when you are drawing the human fig- ure. Arms, legs, fingers, toes, and, well, just about every part of the human figure involves the use of contour lines.

    Contour lines wrap around a curved object. Is the object moving away from or toward your eye? Is the object bending up or twisting down? Does the object have wrinkles, cracks, or a specific texture? Contour lines will answer these questions and many more by giving your eye visual clues regarding how to perceive the object as a three- dimensional shape on your paper.

    In this lesson we will practice controlling the direction of a tube with contour lines. Using the drawing compass direction NE as a reference, draw a light guide line in direction NE. Draw a guide dot to position the 4. Draw the vertical foreshortened circle end foreshortened circle end of the tube. Using the line you have already drawn in direction NE as reference, draw the thickness of the tube.

    Draw this line from the very top edge of the vertical fore- shortened circle. This is an application of the drawing law of size to the tube. These lines will eventually merge together at a distant vanishing point, which we will get to later in the book. Curve the far end of the tube a bit more than the near edge.

    The law of size not only shrinks things as they move away from your eye; it also distorts images. Thus, the far edge is more curved than the near edge. Notice how these contour lines curve a bit more as they move away from your eye. Complete the contour lines. Continue to curve them more as they move away from your eye. To create the illusion of a hollow tube, draw the inside contour lines, following the outside far edge of the initial foreshortened circle.

    Determine the position of your light source. Using the curve of your interior contour lines, add shading to the inside of the tube. Draw the cast shadow with a guide line in direction SE. Shade the tube with curving contour lines.

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    See Our Classes. The elastic makes a nice, taut line. It proves that you can draw with anything. Floyer is paired with Duchamp, but her art, though often described as Duchampian, is funny and sometimes painful in ways Duchamp's never was. Francis Bacon shares a room with Damien Hirst. Pain, mortality, a life of suffering - I wonder what he would have thought of Hirst. As Bacon had it: "Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.

    Bacon could only really draw with paint, which was his strength. Bacon's drawings are idle, sometimes brutal jottings, and all the better for it. Hirst's drawings here were produced after his own sculptural tableaux. One drawing depicting his fly-and-cow's-head vitrine, A Thousand Years, is dated , another The one I like best is dark and forbidding, as grim, flyblown and smelly as A Thousand Years itself.

    Beuys' drawings - often very beautiful as well as strange - are pored over as much for their symbolic mysteries as for their formal qualities. He is paired here with David Musgrave, who has made numerous highly worked drawings of a strange stick figure. Repeat a form or a shape often enough and it begins to take on a life of its own, but Musgrave's figure just stands there, not knowing what to do. Musgrave also draws surfaces themselves - sheets of creased and dirtied paper, and paper with tape stuck to it. So obsessively worked are these that they are almost indistinguishable from discarded sheets of failed drawings.

    Only they're not. Somehow, they are the real thing, real drawings. Peer into them for long enough and the image of Musgrave's stick man is there, hiding in the murk, as though he were about to come to life. Drawing can be like writing: some days you push the ballpoint sluggishly over the paper; the next it races, vain and slippery. It can register a face or a state of mind, something solid or an abstraction. It can be a stick-man walking. Like all decent drawing shows, this one makes you want to draw.

    Details: or www. Topics Art. Reuse this content.