Many people feel they cannot draw, which is comparable to saying one cannot
write. Drawing is simply a way of communicating graphic concepts and
information. Great art, as with great writing does require great skill, but we
can use basic drawing skills to enrich our working communication in our lives.
Drawing communication also encourages visual conceptual thinking in a world
that challenges all our faculties. Following are some general tips and
techniques for getting acceptable results from your drawing efforts.
In many cases the problems people have in drawing result from poor
and a lack of understanding of
. One should begin by drawing from models; that is, sketch real objects under
observation before drawing imaginary constructions.
Draw what you see
as you see it
and only that, not what you know is there.
We tend to draw surfaces and edges in the shapes we know them to be, but not in
the shapes that we actually view them. In extreme cases, such as children
drawing both sides of a house, the distortion is evident, but it can be more
subtle in adults.
Some of the laws of perception will help clarify what you see. For instance, if
, you can determine whether a line you have drawn is logical.
Don't try to draw a line only once. Sketch in lightly, then make purposeful
lines when you are satisfied with proportion and shape. The light lines can be
erased or just ignored.
Generally, attempt to arrange objects or find a view that satisfies the
principles of composition.
If you have problems seeing and composing the real 3-dimensional world in
2-dimensional flat space, try using a viewfinder.
Cut a 2- to 4-inch rectangular hole in a piece of cardboard or paper. Hold the
finder at an appropriate distance from the eye, select the view, and try to
observe it as a flat plane. Close one eye to eliminate bifocal vision.
Always try to bring the whole drawing "up" at the same time.
Don't render a detail element with the remainder of the sketch only blocked in
or not placed at all. You often find the detail is slightly misplaced, or some
details wind up considerably more precise than others.
Major, controlling lines should be blocked in first with thin, light strokes,
then corrected to accuracy, and afterward drawn with significance.
Start with the lines that will control where other lines fall. Don't start with
Create the major body of a figure before adding detail.
"Profile" lines or guidelines may be used to align details in relationship to
each other and to the object itself.
All parallel lines converge to a vanishing point.
Note objects with parallel lines and visualize their convergence at a
Note where the vanishing point would lie in your drawing environment. Then
establish the parallel lines in the drawing.
The vanishing point for horizontal lines (ceilings, floors, tables) will always
be at eye level in the drawing.
Eye level is the horizon
Measure difficult proportions with the pencil.
Hold the pencil at a consistent distance from the eye (arm's length) and always
at a right angle to the line of vision. Sight a line on the object, compare it
to another distance on the object, mark the pencil with the thumb, and then use
the information to place the elements on the paper.
Draw a straight line by sighting the point the line is to end and keeping the
eye on it.
When drawing a curved line, divide it into segments.
Observe the line and its curvature. Mentally divide the visible dimension of
the line into quarters and carefully observe each.
To facilitate perspective shapes or objects, enclose in blocks or cylinders.
Sketch in a block or cylinder that would be large enough to contain the
irregular object, in perspective. Then draw the object within that block or
Drawing Familiarization Exercises
Complete each of the following exercises:
on white paper no smaller than 81/2 x 11 inches
using a SOFT lead pencil '
preparing a careful drawing ·
considering shadow and light direction.
Two careful drawings, each of a single theatre property, without regard to
background or support. Each drawing must be a different object.
A careful study of a piece of furniture from an ANT'S EYE VIEW. The entire
piece need not be shown, but it should contain radical perspective.
A careful study of one interior wall of a room in which there is a doorway,
meeting another wall, shown at an angle.
Show the objects upon the wall. The entire wall need not be shown.
The following exercises are concerned with fabrics and people:
A careful study of someone's ear. The view should be with the head in profile.
A careful study of fabric of some sort draped over a chair.
A careful study of a full-length sleeve with an arm in it, bent.
All original content protected by copyright © Arthur L. Dirks, Taunton, MA., 2005.