For my sixth week of learning to draw I decided to start doing some focused exercises to improve my ability to draw realistically. I also continued playing with watercolor and ink paintings and charcoal drawings.
I started by doing some watercolor paper tests. I had tried to use masking fluid last week but it tore the paper when I went to remove it. So this week I splattered and smeared the masking fluid all over a handful of different papers I have. I let them dry over night and did a watercolor wash on them. I again let them dry over night before removing them. None of them tore this time, so I’m pretty sure the issue was the painting last week didn’t dry enough.
With the resulting watercolor paintings I went back throughout the week and inked in the white space to create various forms. I found this a lot of fun so I’ll definitely be doing it more in the future.
I started using a couple classic drawing books, The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. I bought both of these books around 12 or so years ago and basically never touched them.
Edwards’ book is based on a five-day seminar she does so you can fly through it pretty quickly. Nicolaides’ book looks like it would take about six months if you followed his program to the letter. I plan on using both books as more or less guidelines but I do expect to be using exercises from both pretty heavily in the future. The exercises are similar to what Ctrl Paint suggests but there’s a bit more depth into why the authors think the exercises are important.
Edwards’ book has you start out by doing a few baseline drawings and recalled drawings from your childhood. The purpose of these is to have something to look at to see your progress. I’m all about that so I went ahead and did these. She then has you draw some pictures upside down so I went ahead to help you see form and lines instead of the depicted objects. I did these too.
From here both books basically start with contour drawings. In fact Edwards’ book bases this off of Nicolaides’ book. I did a handful of blind contour drawings before I did one very measured drawing assigned in Edwards’ book. She has you use this picture plane to trace on some clear plastic and then transfer the drawing. I skipped that and just took a picture of my hand and then used a prospect to help me draw it on a piece of paper.
I plan to continue working through these books but if I followed them to the letter I’d take up all my drawing time just doing studious exercises and that’s not very fun. So next week I’ll probably spend about half my time on these books and then just play around the rest of the time.