An online artist friend, who has visited my blog for many years and has been a huge encourager, asked a question in one of her recent comments on this beach post. I thought I’d take a bit of time to answer her questions, which may be of interest to others as well. Here is what she asked:
“…Love your drawings. I look at the complexity of them and wonder if you
start in pencil but it really looks like you dive in with pen –
do you just start with the nearest objects and work back?
I don’t see lines crossing through objects as if added after something else…”
So I’ll try to walk you through a moment in time I wanted to draw. This photo is of my favorite portable drawing chair. I love the arm that hinges up to hold your drawing supplies.
These are the drawing goodies I’m using for this type of sketching: 08 Prismacolor Fineliner Pen, Oil Pastels, 6″ x 6″ Flexisketch book.
Here is the view I had while sitting in our driveway. Randy was smoking my favorite barbecue for the Fourth of July. Please note that I was not intent on drawing or painting the light!! This is important, because you have to choose what you’re after in a drawing. If I was here to draw the light, this would be completely different. I am only after the lines…the lovely lines that meander in and through my life, the present moment, this here and now.
I often enjoy drawing something that is up close to me with some of the things in the background. Sometimes I stick very close to what I actually see. Sometimes I move objects around in order to compose them in the square space the way I want them. Degas was a master at composing paintings and drawings that were off-kilter, or partly out of the picture plane, as if he was viewing them through a camera lens. I love this way of drawing.
I do NOT use a pencil first or at any point in the drawing. I just go right into it with the pen. This is VERY important!! Working with a pen frees you from having to erase “mistakes”. You MUST leave your lines the way they are! No need to go and redraw what seems a bit “off”, or even a lot “off”. Of course, redrawn lines CAN be really fun! But I just let lines fall the way they will and keep on going!
So I start with the biggest shape, which is typically the one closest to me. In my mind’s eye I have zoomed in on the Weber grill, so I start with the fun shape of the grill, not worrying that some of it goes off the page (in fact that is my intent!!) Once I have the basic shape of the grill, I can add a few details, like handles, the vent at the top, etc.
Then I begin to work in the “background”, once again choosing the shape I want to be sure is included in my drawing. In this case, I really wanted our red door to be in the picture, so I had to “scrunch” the background over a bit for this to happen. Once I have the door where I want it, I can fill in the bushes, the garage door lines, the begonia ivy, the steps, etc. I forgot to take more pics along the way here ’cause I get so caught up in drawing. Time just falls away…I love that!
Here’s another view of the same thing, but after the meat has been removed to go cook for a few hours. We’ll be having friends over for our barbecue feast, so I’m grabbing some time here to draw before they come! I moved my chair to give me the view I wanted.
Once again, I draw the big shapes of the grill first. I don’t worry about being terribly precise. I like wonky. Wonky drawings are better in my opinion! And I don’t worry about how much of the grill doesn’t even get drawn! No need to! I love the off-the-page look! It suggests that these things in my life are bursting off the page, have a life of their own outside of my little drawing.
Then I decide that the background shape I want to be sure to include is the flag. So I once again, move the background over a bit to accommodate the flag in my drawing. (Does this make any sense?)
I work my way from the flag down to the bushes and then over above the grill, eyeballing distances between things, but not measuring or making everything perspectively perfect. I’m just after an impression of the moment.
And then comes the color…
I pull out my oil pastels (sometimes I use Neocolor II watercolor crayons) and decide which objects will get color. It really has more to do with my preference, or what I want to highlight. But I don’t want to overdo it. Just a few bits of color here or there. And voila!
I hope this helps, Timaree, and anyone else who might benefit from it! Thank you so much for your faithful presence here on my blog and for taking the time to comment!! I truly appreciate it!!
**And as an aside…this is one of the ways I live artfully. Taking a few moments to trace the lines of my world around me, helps me to see the beauty that lies therein. The pen and the page become a new set of glasses enabling me to see what I really have. Drawing my life silences the clamor in my head for something other than what I have. If you want to draw your life too, check out my Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons.