Basic Shapes: Drawing Technique


Learning to draw can take years of practice, knowing some basic drawing techniques however will help to render accurate drawings in less time. In this post I will share another effective drawing technique that even new artists can practice with good results. Be sure to check out the Top Down Drawing Technique that I shared recently too. The source image for today’s drawing is from Gary Faigan’s book The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expression. Today I am attempting to depict pain as expressed on the face.

The first step is to reduce your subject (or object) to basic shapes as shown below. A nose, for example, becomes a rectangle with small triangles on either side. The eyes are mapped in with two simple squares.

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Using these basic shapes as guides we then start adding more detailed lines, always trying to keep the elements proportional to one another, taking  into consideration how wide the eyes are in relation to the nose, how far apart etc.

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Once we’re happy with the placement of our elements we should spend some time refining the drawing, erasing where needed to make corrections or using heavier lines where appropriate as seen below. Shading consists of 3 parts, mid tone, darker tones and highlights. Shading is necessary to create a 3D effect. In the image below I have added my mid tone (and just started plotting out my darker tones.)

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The next step is to create definition by focussing on the darker tones. Here I used hatching to define the darker areas.

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I wanted more depth so added darker tones below.

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The eyes needed to be darker yet which I corrected below.

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Now all that is left to do is to add highlights. This creates the illusion that lighter areas are protruding from the face (whereas darker areas are receding.)

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I did this drawing on the iPad while researching facial expressions for my portraiture project. The convenience of iPad drawing suits me when I want to do a quick study like this example.

One thing we will never be able to avoid if we hope to improve our drawings is to draw as often as possible, every day if we can.

Give this technique a try and let me know how it works for you. Until next time, happy drawing!

 

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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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