June 4, 2019
As many of you know, I teach beginning drawing.
Most people are intimidated by the very idea of drawing. I break down what I believe to be the fundamental building blocks of drawing and introduce them in a friendly, step-by-step manner.
Once a person gets a feel for lines, shading, shadows, value and contrast, along with the idea of drawing what you see and not what you think is there, the world opens up. Move into color and perspective, add a bit of composition, and it's time to pick a favored medium.
These fundamentals apply to painting, drawing, pastel, art quilts, rug hooking, intarsia (wood inlay), or mosaic, to name a few mediums. These fundamentals are what help make a subject appear 3-dimensional on a 2-dimensional surface. Learning how to manipulate and master your chosen medium is a whole different endeavor.
There are many, many books, classes, and online sources of exercises and instructions covering the fundamentals. If your artwork isn't where you want it to be, go back to the basics and brush up on them. It's worth the investment of time.
The photo for this post is of my drawing box. It's a fishing tackle box that holds everything I need for drawing with graphite. One of my early instructors had us use lead holders. I appreciated how they did not get shorter with sharpening so I bought several and loaded them with different leads. I used a system of thin black (electric tape) or cream (masking tape) strips to identify the lead hardness. They are arranged from left to right, soft to hard, black to cream.
There are different size blending stumps, a white plastic eraser along with a kneaded eraser, a stylis, an exacto knife, a mechanical pencil for tiny details, a pencil sharpener for the wood pencils, a lead pointer, a template useful for eyes, tracing paper for protecting the drawing surface from the oils on my hands, a ruler/straightedge, extra leads and assorted other graphite pencils. I don't have much use for the photo-blue pencil anymore, but it still lives in the box.
It's compact and complete.
The spark for this post is yet another application of drawing fundamentals. I've been reading books on rug hooking and am once again struck by the universality of fundamentals. The assorted authors write about getting the initial drawing correct, making sure the lighting source is consistent, adding shadows, effective uses of color, how value and contrast are the heavy lifters, and use of borders and lettering as design elements. I had noticed this in art quilt books, too.
I always expected to see references to these fundamentals in books on what I consider traditional art mediums such as acrylic painting or watercolor, so it surprised me to see those terms applied to rug hooking and art quilts. Perhaps it shouldn't have, but it did.
All things, art included, are better when built upon a solid foundation of understanding and applying the fundamentals. Back to basics!