Peach_follows (Aug 03, 2008)
I know there are some out there who have never been any good at drawing so here are some exercises to help train your eyes and hands and to warm you up.
It's a good idea to draw on newsprint, a small 9x12 pad is really cheap and shouldn't cost more than 3 or 4 dollars. You can also buy a large pad (18 x 24) for about 8 bucks.
You should also draw with charcoal or graphite sticks. I personally like vine charcoal, because it's softer and less heavy than compressed. Using a stick instead of a pencil is better because you can use all sides of it instead of just the fine tip of a wood pencil.
Exercise 1: Gesture Drawing
Gesture drawing is an exercise than helps you warm up and helps get you situated with whatever you're drawing. It's very simple to do and isn't about getting a beautiful drawing.
Step 1: Choose a subject.
If you have one of those little drawing figures, you can use that, but you don't need one. You can go out into the world and 'people watch' too. You can use anything for a subject, I'm going to use a plant. If you want to you can draw from a picture found on the internet. I wouldn't worry about using lighting right now because you just want to get a basic idea of the subject with a gesture drawing.
Step 2: Prepare your workspace.
Set up where and how you're going to be drawing. It's a good idea to move your head as little as possible when drawing. Get in a position (or use an easel) that is comfortable but allows you to see the subject and your paper while moving only your eyes.
Step 3: DRAW!
Basically when doing a gesture drawing, you want to draw as loosely as possible. It's just to get your arm and hand warmed up and familiarize you with the subject and the medium (in this case charcoal or graphite). So, try to do the drawing without looking at the paper, or without really picking up the charcoal off the paper. Try not to spend more than five or ten seconds on each drawing.
What they should look like(ish):
Step 4: Draw a lot.
It's good to draw as many gestures as possible, it REALLY warms you up.
I really hate gesture drawing. But it is a good warm up exercise.
Exercise 2: Contour Drawing
Contour drawing is quite difficult, but if you are good at it, it can be a lot of fun. It's a process that takes you into every single crevice of your subject. For this you should use a ballpoint pen or sharpie, something with ink constantly running and draws a single even line.
Step 1: Same as above. This time I'm drawing a toy robot.
Step 2: Same as above.
Step 3: DRAW!
For a contour drawing there are two separate ways, one is a regular contour drawing. In a regular contour drawing you basically draw each line, beginning anywhere on the subject (if drawing a person, try NOT to start from the head... it's funner) and WITHOUT lifting the pen follow that line through every crevice you can get. It's best to try not to look at the paper while drawing, it will sometimes cause you to loose yourself on the subject. Which brings me to the second way, blind contour drawing.
Regular Contour Drawing:
In blind contour drawing, you DO NOT look at the paper AT ALL. And you follow your eyes with your hand. This really helps form hand-eye-coordination, because your eyes are basically guiding your hands through the drawing. It's really fun to look at the paper AFTER the drawing is finished to see how it looks.
Blind Contour Drawing:
This was a quick tutorial so if you spot any mistakes or have any questions be sure to ask!
Peach_follows (Aug 03, 2008)
Having gone to art school, I'm very impressed by this. These exercises are indeed an efficient way for one to be more comfortable and more accurate when drawing free hand. Thank you for posting it! 'its nice to see something other than graphics sometimes.
My favorite exercise is contour and blind contour. I have gotten the most interesting drawings using those methods. My favorite subject is my hand (lots of lines and organic shapes).
... Not Ever Again...
I used to hate gesture drawing too, but it really does loosen you up. I'm still not too wonderful with contour drawing myself, hopefully something I'll be able to remedy in the next couple years.
Good tutorial! It'd be awesome to see more of these from you .