I never cease to be amazed at how many ingrained habits surface during my drawing classes. No doubt some of you have them too. The habit I’m on about today is putting a strong outline on a drawing once you have finished adjusting a sketch to your liking. I can imagine the automatic thought process- “Yep, that’s right. Now to firm it up and make it proper!”
In class this morning Lee-Anne, my longest standing student, asked “Do you think they have an outliners anonymous?”
Outlining automatically, because you think it’s the right thing to do, is NOT a great idea. If you are after a stylized, decorative drawing then that’s wonderful. Then outline deliberately, because you want to emphasise the lines and not out of habit. However, if you wish to render your subject in traditional 3D then strong outlines are not your friend.
The quality of your lines should vary depending on whether you wish to show a light or dark edge, or make things come forward or recede. Tones that change depending on shadow and light do not need outlines. The change between one tone and another does not need a line to emphasise it. Strong lines tend to make your drawings look flat instead of three dimensional.
Oh yes. Strong lines are also really difficult to erase. Even if you’re sure that you’ve made all the adjustments you need to, chances are you’ll need to change something.
Creatively, negative space is any space or shape that’s next to, but not, the thing you are drawing. Like yin and yang they have to exist together. One of my favourite examples is the word ‘skyline’. It exactly describes the negative shape when we look at a city scape. Instead of drawing the ‘building line’ focus on the sky and draw the skyline. That will make your life much easier 🙂
Oh and while I was playing with Gimp (a free version of photoshop) I did this cool thing 🙂
A long standing student returned to class this term after having spent last term welcoming and enjoying her new grandchild. I had introduced the concept of zentangles a couple of terms ago and she decided it what something she wanted to explore. What a great relaxing doodling technique? Although it’s nothing new – take a look at some of Escher’s work. But I digress…
Frances proudly showed off some small cards with beautiful and precise patterns and designs.
She named each little picture and the photo to the right shows what she wrote on one card. As she made ‘errors’ with her mark making according to the instructions she realised that she didn’t have to follow them if her work wasn’t going that way. “Who says I have to?”
So, indeed! Who says you have to? Who says you can’t? Who says you can’t mix one media with another? Who says your can’t follow your own patterns? Who says you can’t colour outside the lines? Who says you can’t draw?