How to prove to yourself that you can draw.

Today’s assignment may feel daunting but I can almost guarantee that you will surprise yourself. It’s simple. Just copy this drawing. Don’t turn your head, just copy this as you see it (you can click it to see a larger version in it’s own browser tab if you need it):

picasso_UpsideDown

When you are done, turn your paper around and check out how it went. You can see the proper drawing by clicking here. My guess is that you will be surprised that your version is much closer to the original than you thought it would be.

Why did you do this?

By turning the picture upside-down, I am attempting to break the link you have in your head that certain lines = eyes, mouth, legs, etc. You look at this drawing as a series of lines, noticing where one line begins and ends, where other lines join and taper off. Instead of drawing a “man in a chair” you are connecting this series of lines together methodically, without pressure. You start making associations like:

breakdown_01

How much space is there from the top of this shape along the left before there are lines that come out? This isn’t part of a chair, it becomes a series of geometric shapes.

 

breakdown_02

Are there four lines that shoot up from this shape? (there are five, actually).

Once you are making these sorts of observations, you are looking at the drawing abstractly, you are not seeing a CHIN, but seeing LINES, and how they relate to each other. Instead of drawing your interpretation of someone else’s TIE, you are putting dots on a shape.

You are looking at what is actually there, and you are drawing that, not allowing your imagination to get in the way and draw lines you practiced years ago. And yes, it is a trick to get you to realize that drawing what you see in front of you (whether it’s a drawing or a person or a place) means breaking down the problem into a series of shapes in a space and how those shapes relate to one another.

If this exercise seems familiar, you may have picked up DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN at some point in your life. It is one of the first lessons the book teaches and it will not be the last one that I use in this course. That book is very good and worth taking a look at and is a similar approach to what I am trying to do in this course. Science has since disproven much of the “right brain, left brain” theories out there, but the thrust of these lessons is the same.

There is a logical way that you can approach drawing. We will figure that out over the next 28 days.

ASSIGNMENT!

  • Copy the drawing above (turn your sketchbook upside down so it is the way it was meant to be seen). Go show it off in the Facebook group.
  • Head back to the Urban Sketchers Facebook page and dig around to see if there is any artist there that particularly jumps out at you. Is that the bar for where you would like to go?

 

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1Drawing of Upside Down Picasso done
2Find something on Urban Sketchers that inspires you