Top-Down Drawing Technique

Drawing can be a frustrating experience if we don’t have a fail proof technique. This is one of my favourites, known by many names including the top-down or ‘figure in the stone’ technique. In order to accurately capture the dimensions as well as plot the composition on the page one begins with quick broad strokes to capture the largest general shape first (demonstrated below in orange.) Once we’re satisfied that we have the overall shape as accurately as we can (taking note of angles in relation to one another) we ‘carve out’ negative spaces and angles in a generalised manner too, demonstrated in black pen below. Obviously this is all done lightly in pencil in a typical drawing.

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If we’ve done this correctly, adjusting as we go along until we’re satisfied with the angles, ensuring that our relationships / proportions are accurate, attention can be given to drawing in the details as demonstrated in the image below.

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This technique works with any subject matter, be it still life, landscape or portraiture. For demonstration purposes I drew a simple tea cup on the iPad which I coloured with digital watercolour and shaded with hatching.

If you’re frustrated by drawing give this method a go, and let me know if it works for you. Remember you can improvise as you wish once you have an accurate drawing on paper, allowing your personal style and creativity to flow freely. I deliberately wanted a loose style of drawing as can be seen by my pen strokes.

Cuppa anyone?

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Daily Prompt: Witness


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11 Comments on “Top-Down Drawing Technique

  1. Pingback: Basic Shapes: Drawing Technique – Anndelize: Visual Artist

  2. Pingback: Facial Planes (Portraiture) – Anndelize: Visual Artist

    • It was a valuable learning experience for me too. Thanks Gillian, glad you like it, and thanks for commenting. x

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