Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Drawing Demonstration - Part II of a Series.

This image is courtesy of http://www.copyright-free-photos.org.uk/

This lesson is aimed at people who long to draw well but have always struggled. If you are an experienced artist, it probably reiterates stuff you take for granted. How to draw a horse --Part 1 shows more on drawing horses.

Last week, see here, I covered the first part of drawing, choosing the starting point. Actually, it seems such an insignificant thing, but it is really does make or break the success of the final drawing - before you even start!!

Continuing on, I want to show how this image above would be approached.

Position on page:
Looking at it, you can see that in the photo the horse's mouth almost touches the lower edge. The gap between is small, but acceptable. If it is closer, this would form a tangent with the page edge and must be avoided at all costs. In drawing, this gap must not be made any closer, and a little greater would be okay, as long as it does not affect the balance of the picture. By this I mean, sometimes it looks a little strange if all gaps between the object and edge are too similar. Looking at the other gaps, we have the ears close to the edge but not too much. In fact, this is a very acceptable distance. Similarly, the gap on the left edge is acceptable between nose and page edge. Also, all gaps are proportional to page size. The larger the page, the larger the minimum gap should be. It's a question of what look's right. This is all quite basic stuff and will become second nature after a while, but it is surprising how many people overlook it. So, if you wanted to draw the horse as is, and not as part of a larger picture, the above is relevant to be aware of, before starting.

Start to draw at the nose and mouth! Why? - because this quickly establishes the gap distance between the two smallest gaps and the edge of the page. Now you only have to be aware of not drawing too large that the ears touch the top of the page. If you need to it's okay to draw a faint straight line across the points where the gaps should be maintained. Now make a very light sketch where you quickly and roughly (yes not accurately is okay at this stage) draw the whole image. Quickly is the key here. At this point your drawing should look something like this sketch.

I hope it's not too difficult for everyone to get to this stage. I did this on paint so it's not really the best to show you, but the idea is at this stage to get a rough sketch (Important -- sketch in very light medium soft pencil, hb or 2b) to prove it will all fit inside the gap lines. Note the straight lines I included here, front of nose, under mouth and above ears, which are just to guide the sketch to stay inside the required area.

If you got even halfway close to this stage, you will most likely have an outline which will allow you to definitely fit all the final drawing accurately on the page. The final drawing may not look as good as you'd like depending on how you tackle the next stage but at least it will be all there. Many people have problems achieving this much.

The next stage. So now you can start to study the shape of the horse in more detail. You need to begin again at the starting point we had decided on, the nose / mouth area. Look in detail at each little nuance of the shape. Comparing my sketch above and the photo, the nose areas look as below:

It looks similar but there is some refinement to do. Work slowly around the sketch that you have made and refine the shape according to what you see. Try to break the shape into smaller shapes. In the above there are three distinct shapes from the top down to the point of the mouth beginning. What I see them as are as follows:

1.An almost straight line (white of nose). It's curving ever so slightly downwards along it's length and accentuates at it's end.

2.At black section start, a small curve like an almost opened letter C.

3. Another similar C curve, more on it's back and slightly larger.

As I draw them, as I add each one, I am constantly comparing it's position and size in relation to the last shape, and also I stand back after each one is drawn to do a doublecheck of the overall shape I am creating, before I move on.

If you drew these three shapes and arrive at the mouth, what do you see. This is like a junction. Three lines meet. One, the upper lip (hard to see in photo - but still needs to be drawn) goes straight across and slightly up at the end. In fact straight across is not entirely true and straight lines are to be avoided. There are very few straight lines in nature, and this line is slightly up curved. Avoid straight lines unless you are drawing buildings. Look and you will almost always see a slight curve.

The other line is down and around in a wide U shape but very wide U shape. As you draw it, compare it's size and direction against the overall sketch and the lines you drew already. The width of the U is no wider than the combined length of the two curves you drew for the black part of the nose. This is the kind of size comparison I do all the time in my head. Continue around the sketch drawing in similar fashion. Adding the detail you find, along the way, and removing unnecessary sketch lines.

This is how I would proceed in creating the drawing. As you gain experience you can omit the sketch part if you like. But if it helps, I sometimes do one, where I absolutely have to fit everthing in a certain place. It depends on the drawing.

That's about it again and I hope it has helped explain some of the thought processes in drawing.
If anyone is improving at drawing from reading this, let me know.

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