Friday, October 14, 2011

Yes, you can definitely learn to draw.

and it's getting easier all the time to get good instruction, though it is still almost totally ignored in academia.


Some notes from the Georgetown Atelier in Seattle giving general principles.

The Block-in overview:
Learning to work from the ‘Broad to the Specific’ is a reoccurring theme and educational cornerstone of the curriculum I teach. The visual world is full of complexity. Learning to simplify that complexity in an elegant manner is a top educational priority and tall-order challenge. In other words, seeing the ‘big picture’ is much harder then seeing the minute detail. It is a natural tendency to gravitate towards the details at the expense of the broad design; to jump into rendering the eyelashes and fingernails without building the ‘archtecture’ of the figure. Take a moment to view the Bargue drawing below.

Take notice of how the block-in on the left is a simplified or ‘distilled’ version of the further developed image on the right. The block-in on the left not only establishes the proportions and anatomical structure, but also links together the shapes and forms in a designed manner. The illustration below highlights some of these design themes.

It’s important to understand the block-in as much more then ‘simple outlines’ of a drawing or painting. The block-in should contain all Proportional, Structural, Graphic and Rhythmic themes in a work. The rendering or painting process executes the Value, Form, and Color aspects. Think of your drawing or painting not in photographic terms (as a snapshot) but as a construction of a temple where the block-in functions as the foundation and scaffolding. After learning to harness these capabilities working from a single figure, the artist can expand this tool set to organize more complex multi-figure compositions. Caravaggios ‘Entombment’ is a good example of this:

The rest...

It is a lot to learn. In fact, it's a whole language and system of seeing and thinking, a set of mental skills that take only a few months to start, but years, possibly a lifetime, to grow and perfect. Enough to keep my mind occupied anyway.


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