Saturday, September 27, 2014


The thing about doing an average of a drawing a day (actually 75 drawings in 93 days so far) is that after a while you start filtering everything you see through the lens of "is that something to draw?"

A cracked sidewalk (maybe). The floor (no). The hallway (yes).

You start running out of objects; all plants begin to look the same; bicycles are too murderously hard to draw. I would rather stick to objects, because I also want to do a landscape series, and I don't want to run out of landscapes that I've already drawn, and I've decided for mostly arbitrary reasons not to include people or parts of people in this set.

Seeing the world through a filter of art makes you see things. It makes you see how they relate to other things in the visual plane. Perspective becomes less about lines converging at the horizon and more about where things really seem to be (or on the visual plane, where they are) in relation to each other. You have to keep repeating the mantra: draw what you see, not what you know. That trunk is next to that branch, even though that branch is on a different tree 30 feet away. The pot handle is the same width as the pot.  The edge of the roof is nearly vertical. So these things that you know aren't true make the object look accurate. If something is hard to draw, it's just that you aren't relating its parts properly to each other and their surroundings.

Rather a life lesson, that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

I can draw anything

Or better put, I can lay down on paper what I see.

Which is really what accurate draftsmanship is-- the ability to draw what you see, rather than what you know. It's why children's drawings of people always show the eyes at the top of the head, instead of in the middle of the face-- I know that the eyes are on top, so that's where I draw them. I can actually remember realizing that eyes are at the top of the face but in the middle of the head at about the age of 10 and trying to explain it to the art teacher at my grade school, who utterly dismissed this revelation. She didn't disagree, she just made me feel stupid for figuring it out. (This is why children hate art class.)

I've never drawn "anything." I've only ever drawn figures from life. I'm not good at portraits-- my facial recognition software is faulty and I find it difficult to make portraits look like the person in more than a superficial way. Ditto with illustration-- scenes with figures and perspective are extremely difficult for me, not least because my figures come out cartoonish, and I have difficulty placing them in context. Perhaps I need to amend the title from "I can draw anything" to "I can draw anything you put in front of me." A complex composition like an illustration is not in front of me without elaborate preparation.

Of course I used to feel that way about any non-figure effort. I don't draw landscapes, or still lifes. That's "hard."

Except, it isn't. One of the things a daily drawing has taught me is that I really can draw the holy hell out of anything you put in front of me. And the drawings are getting better as I develop the habit of looking at the thing I'm drawing.

100 Drawings- 46 through 50