Things have been going swimmingly in the studio. I've worked through two full segments of the Cours de Dessin, the Cast Drawing and the Portrait Drawing and am now working along with a painting class doing a still life drawing in charcoal.
I took pictures for y'all, showing the progression from blank paper to (more or less) finished drawing. I won't give away all the secrets, but this will at least give an idea that there is actually a process involved and that it can be learned. No magical Harry-Potter "talent" gene required.
Starting April 9, I dived right in to the Cast Drawing. (Wanted to do the skull, but Valentina had already called dibs).
As with any drawing project, it's not about drawing eyes, nose mouth and ears in the right places. It's about putting the darks and lights together in the correct balance to give an illusion of 3-Dness, with the darker darks drawing the eye back in space, and the brightest highlights appearing to come forward.
But first, you start with plotting the points, top and bottom, and left and right extremes first, followed by a careful map of all the significant points. Then you join them up, and voy-lah! a contour.
Then you go through doing the same thing with the values (that's "shading") inside the contour, so in the end the whole thing looks rather odd.
Which is what makes it fun to put in the first values that suddenly transform it from a rather odd-looking abstraction to a thing that starts to look like the object...
and starts making some visual sense.
Then it's just a matter of darkening the darks, pulling back the plane changes to give the three-D effect, emphasising some things with sharp contrasts and dark/light changes, and diminishing others with softened edges and darker shadows.
All of which can really only be achieved once you've got the background in.
It's only with the background in that you can start to see how dark the darkest darks have to go, in order to keep up the right balance to create shadows and bring up the highlights.
On to Portrait Class...