Drawing from the Word
Thougts on Art and the Bible
By Carole Ruffin
So, you’ve got that blank piece of paper in front of you, your still life set up, your pencil poised and ready to draw. But what mark do you make first, and where--and how?? Let’s back up. A blank paper’s often daunting at first, but remember the sketch is not the final drawing. In fact--done right--the sketch isn’t even visible after you finish shading. Here are some tips to consider:
Oddly enough, this has nothing to do with the thumbnail on your hand. Thumbnail Sketches-- or "Thumbnails" -- are small, loose sketches done on paper or sketchbook to plan out your final drawing. The benefits are huge- it's quick, it's simple, and it shows you a snapshot of your composition just like that. Cheese! Thumbnails also ease you into the larger drawing with less upfront commitment. Do several of these using different layouts and pick your favorite to finalize. (For more info on thumbnailing greatness, see my post on thumbnails here.)
Use Measuring Marks
Remember, your sketch is the skeleton of your drawing. While it doesn’t have to look pretty, it’s got to get the proportions right. There’s little worse in the art world than a well-rendered drawing on an inaccurate sketch. If your still life vase is significantly taller than the cup it’s next to it, make a light mark to show the height difference. Compare each object to another for the right proportions.
Use your H or HB pencil for this stage. Less pressure also keeps it light. If your using charcoal, the harder the charcoal, the lighter the stroke.
Heighten the Drama
In drawing, you're always telling a story--make it a good one. Amp up the lighting, pick an unusual angle, and chose an object to feature on your page. Let all the other objects be supporting actors to the one you chose. The composition is your hook for the viewer, so leave a lasting impression.
For more observational drawing tips, consider my previous post on realism here.