A Drawing A Day

Hello everyone,

Ever since I started working on the free “Introduction To Drawing” content, I’ve been thinking about the best way to communicate the concepts of drawing. How to hand it over.
So, there are the articles that verbally explain what you need to be thinking about when drawing and why. Then there are the videos with demonstration of the content of the articles. There’s quite a bit of free videos on the site as well, the “Common Mistakes” edition, the “Work In Progress” episodes, the cut down versions of all the 13 Lectures, but it still felt to me a bit disconnected.

Another thing I really wanted to be understood is, that most of the drawings by far anyone does, are studies. As the name implies, these are opportunities where the artist undertakes his study of the human form. By default this means a stack of messy drawings geared towards discovering the next gem we are ready to see. Perhaps a line sitting exactly where needs to be. An example of nice massing. An expression of body language that leaves no doubt about an internal life of the figure. These discoveries are the building blocks of the visual language we are learning. You absorb these visual expressions and when you own them, you use them to create your “clean” artwork that will be exhibited. Naturally from time to time there will be a study that can be accepted as finished artwork. That would contain so much aliveness that the messiness will not matter. But that is up to each of you to decide what is an accomplished drawing and what is a quiet discovery.

So thinking about the disconnection – the not “enoughness” of the examples demonstrating Figure Drawing as I intended – as a peek over the shoulder, plus wanting you to look for the gems in your studies, I have decided to post a drawing a day. Perhaps I should say “A Study A Day” as most of them will be studies. These will be random drawings I did the same day or just a few days ago. They will be showing what I am preoccupied with. They may be just posts by themselves (especially if the time is short) or they may have a bit of a commentary (my preferred option) particularly linking by example into the “Introduction To Drawing” or even into the Figure Drawing Course lectures. Occasionaly they might be show in a form of a video where I can also draw to clarify the points. I have created a new Category called “A Drawing A Day” and each post will be numbered so they are easy to find if you want to refer back to a particular drawing. I will attemp to post the drawings at around the same time of the day so the publishing can become a daily cycle.

So there it is. Now, I am also hoping that this will encourage you to post your drawings and get from your fellow subscribers a feedback that will benefit everyone reading the posts. And remember: There is no such thing as a bad drawing.

Tomorrow.

Free Online Drawing Lessons

Hello everyone. Great news!

The first part of the new Free Online Drawing Resource is now ready. Introducing extra material has changed the website design and layout a bit, which means things have slightly moved around. I believe, the new navigation will be easy to use. I have placed the warning of nude content on the first page that loads (animated intro), and viewing of the Disclaimer is now optional as a pop up window. Clicking on “Learn To Draw With” and/or “The Ultimate Figure Drawing Course” are links to enter the site. All the pages now have a navigation bar at the top for quick access to everything.
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The “Home” page starts the free education section of the site. In the column on the left, below your testimonials are also the links to all the articles and video tutorials of the free “Introduction To Drawing”. This also gives a visual sense of the structure of these tutorials. The links in orange are live and have content.
Screen-Shot-2014-10-06-at-16.35_woptIn the last article (“Drawing Step By Step”) I have published the list of the planed free online drawing lessons. As you will see on the site, the list of these articles and video tutorials has slightly changed. The change, however, is not in content. Only in form. If I felt some of the topics were related or even dependent on each other in terms of learning to draw, I grouped them under a single topic. So everything you asked for is still there, or coming soon, as it has been announced.

In the same article I also said it will take some time to compile all the lessons, articles and videos. However, the first of the 5 groups of tutorials is ready and so I chose to release these, so those who want to, can start. The rest of the 5 groups will follow progressively.

In the menu bar, the “Learning” tab is for the free “Introduction To Drawing”, and the “Courses” tab is for the paid Figure Drawing Online Course. The “Free Stuff” tab has the free stuff not belonging to the “Introduction To Drawing”. Among these are the “Common Mistake” videos, the cut down versions of the 13 lectures and “Work In Progress”.

I have also decided to stop selling the “Lecture 0 – Where To Start” as many of the concepts it contains are now explained (or will be soon) in the free “Introduction To Drawing”.

The website is up and running and I am still testing all the links, so please, if you find something not working, let me know. Enjoy!

Ohhh, yes…and there’s another bit of good news coming in a couple of days. ;–))

Drawing Step By Step

Hello everyone,

I have a few announcements to make. First of all, I have received a huge number of requests to present some learning material on the very basics of figure drawing and drawing in general. I have given it some thought and decided that adding a lesson here and there isn’t exactly what you have in mind or what will help either. So I am in the process of changing the design and structure of figuredrawingonline.com

Apart from the Figure Drawing Course and the free videos that are already there, the website will also have a fairly comprehensive free introduction to drawing called “Drawing Step By Step”. This will be in a form of both, articles and videos. This introduction is designed to take anyone wanting to learn to draw through pretty much everything there is to know about drawing. On the way it also clears up a few misguided popular beliefs and myths.

I have divided the free information in the following 5 categories. For those who are just starting or know little about drawing, it is probably a good idea to read / view the info in order as it is presented. If you are after bits and pieces here and there, the navigation should help to get you there fast. Ok, here are the categories and content:

1/ “Approach To Drawing” gives you an insight into the concepts of drawing.
This includes:
1.1 – There is no such thing as multitasking
1.2 – Drawing is Communication
1.3 – Copying versus Creating
1.4 – Grasping the Complex
1.5 – It’s all in The Realtionships

2/ “Basic Set–Up” gives you a run down on materials, equipment and the space you choose for drawing.
This includes:
2.1 – Materials – paper, drawing tools…
2.2 – Environment – where you do your drawing

3/ “Drawing Basics” is where drawing starts with recommended ways to draw.
This includes:
3.1 – Why Standing?
3.2 – How to hold A Pencil
3.3 – Throw that Eraser

4/ “Drawing Practices” will give you practical tools and “How To”s on anything that came up so far in all the lessons above.
This includes:
4.1/ Is That a Circle?
4.2/ The Straight Line
4.3/ A Cube, not a Square
4.4/ A Ball, not a circle
4.5/ A Cylinder, not a rectangle
4.6/ Basic Perspective
4.7/ How to Steady the Hand
4.8/ Imagine it and See it Everywhere

5/ “Drawing – The Magic” delves into creative devices you can employ to achieve results. These will be demostrated mostly through figure drawing although there will be examples of landscape, urban drawing and still life as well.
This includes:
5.1 – The building Elements – line, plane, mass and countour lines
5.2 – Flick that Light Switch
5.3 – The rule of the Mass – weight, thrust, orientation

You can see I tried to think of all the basics. Even things that seem as simple as “How to hold a pencil” can cause you work much harder than necessary to achieve results.

So, still a fair bit to go, it is a lot of material to write and a lot of videos to shoot, edit, encode, upload, link…. you get the picture. I will probably release the new site when I am halfway through preparing the new lessons and tutorials so that you don’t have to wait too long and finish the rest while the first already available half keeps you busy.
I am still keeping the intro page of he website with the rotating images – I think it is good to see what is within the reach, but the next page to progress to is the Home page. Here is a screen grab of part of the home page:

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Images from the Exhibition and After

Most of the exhibited drawings are listed on the Sculpture And Stone website. The images below are about the general space and feel of the exhibition.
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Doing a stone carving demonstration the following day after the exhibition opened using Carrara marble and Sydney sandstone.

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The Stone Piece Nr1 – “Deliverance” Part 2

Welcome to the second part.

When I got to the stage of roughing out the head I could not get past the bearded man. I tried several times to adhere to the clay model, but the stone itself was imposing its solidness and stature and was turning into an old man. As I was carving a few pieces at the same time I was able to leave the man alone for a couple of days. When I returned to work on him, the assumed course did not change.
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Finally I gave in and decided to go with the current. I had lots of help on the way:

IMG_7753_weboptIMG_7755_weboptAfter that I interrupted the work again to finish carving another piece, but when I returned, to the man and seeing that he will not change his mind, being so determined to come forth I continued in good faith that he know what he’s doing. And from then on I did not try to alter the expression.
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However there was one more alteration I did not foresee. The flower pattern.

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Now that the clay model was so much different from the stone piece I have decided to keep it instead of recycling the clay for the next stone piece. I used a product form a US company to metal coat it. But more about that and the final pieces in the next part.
To be continued…

The Stone Piece Nr1 – “Deliverance” Part 1

Hello everyone,

With my exhibition opening this Friday (22 August 2014) I start to present the artwork here for those who can’t attend the opening in person.
Part of the aim of the exhibition is to add an educational angle. This has been requested by the Gallery. It is to provide some insight into traditional sculptural techniques.
For this reason I have kept all the work that usually gets discarded once the artwork is finished. So here it goes:

A sculpture can be created in three ways.
1/ By careful planning, great preparation and extensive study. The result is decided and the stone carving stage of the creation is just copying the preconceived form.
2/ By “freeforming” – a process where nothing is certain and the sculptor finds the form by carving the stone.

Whilst the first approach builds a good foundation, it kills the flow. And while the second approach has a great flow, carving stone is hard labour, takes a long time and is expensive. Not many can afford the time, effort and expense to see if it works.

I work using the third method, which is the combination of the two above. In a partnership. I like to know where I am headed, I like to know and understand the form to a point where I am saturated with it and mostly don’t have to rely on preparatory drawings or clay models.

Then I regard the stone. I form a relationship to it. I invite it to share the journey. To have it’s say. And then I pick up the chisel.

These days an imposed restlessness rules any occupation. It is a restlessness of productivity. Things have to have great value and have to be accomplished immediately. And so, often even artwork can be infected by demands of the “more and faster”. However we, the artists, are in luck because that which needs to be expressed can neither be rushed nor ruled.

The sandstone carving I want to start with here is a testimonial to the above.

“Deliverance”
I had some stored up imagery that was on my mind when thinking of carving this particular block of stone. The choice was of course limited to an extent by the size of the block. Here are a few sketches working out the volume of the stone.
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After that I did a few anatomy studies. You may notice how the design slightly changes with the restrictions imposed by the size of the stone.
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The next stage was to transfer the ideas in the drawings into the 3 dimensional model in clay. Once I decided to do the clay model I made sure it is approximately the same size as what the volume of the stone would permit – approximately 55 cm (21.6 in).
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The clay model worked fine. Pleased with the expression I set out with great gusto to carve the block. It was too heavy to lift on a stand so I carved it on the ground often kneeling down.
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When I got to the stage of roughing out the head I could not get past the bearded man. I tried several times to adhere to the clay model, but the stone itself was imposing its solidness and stature and was turning into an old man. As I was carving a few pieces at the same time I was able to leave the man alone for a couple of days. When I returned to work on him, the assumed course did not change.
To be continued..

Figure Drawing Workshop

Those of you living in and around Broken Hill might be interested to know I will be teaching a Figure Drawing Workshop on Saturday 28 June 2014 at The Regional Art Gallery. If you’d like to brush up your figure drawing skills and clear up any challenging areas this is a good opportunity. To reserve your seat, contact Ian Howarth at the Gallery.

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Magic Persists

This happens every time a course is nearing it’s end. And every single time it finds me unprepared.
Usually I focus the first half of the 8 sessions to get the basics, to allow everyone to absorb the simple concepts. This not only creates a great foundation to build upon, it also allows students to experience almost instant success.
After the 4 sessions I am infusing the decision making process with a start of creative process. This will build a bridge to cross over from copying what we see to using what we see as an expressive tool to make a visual statement. I ask the students to make adjustments to the pose if needed. By about the second last session this process takes hold and amazing things start happening. Pure creative magic. And every time it finds me unprepared.

Here are some of the students work from last night:
IMG_7015_weboptObserve in the image above the freshness of the expression. This is, I believe a 1 minute pose. Since there is no time to get lost in the details a beautiful leap forward happens in terms of massing. This drawing is not anatomically correct but the body parts in relation to each other are in perfect expressive harmony. You can feel the model’s tension in the pose where muscular strength is applied to hold it. The thrust of the upper body creating a counter weight to the legs hinging on the pelvis. The rhythmic change from the rib cage through the neck to the skull is hugely expressive. You can hear her saying: “I can hold this. you just get on with it.” Beautiful!

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This one above is a great example of a foreshortening problem correction. You see the moment you place something on the paper, regardless where on the body you start, you have set out the proportion for the drawing. Everything else that follows is ( or at least supposed to be ) in correct spatial and proportional relationship with what’s already there. If you don’t do that, and you like to look of the second part better, you have to erase the first part to make it work again. So drawing the whole body while rendering only a part of it is essential.

The student here had a foreshortening problem with the upper body. The pelvis was nice so I took that as the proportional set out. That was the given size, position, thrust and mass of the pelvis which was not to change. Now to make this body to lie down I related the rib cage, including the connection to the pelvis via the external oblique and rectus abdominis, then the shoulder girdle with the upper arm and finally the head to create a single body. Regardless of the likeness (or lack thereof) to the model, the body parts properly related to each other give back a human body in a readable position where the spatial plane and basic gravity applies and thus makes the body feel real. The only thing tricky about foreshortening is that while you do the above process, at the very same time you also have to do the proper sequence of overlapping. This is a spatial description of which body part is in the front of the others and therefore overlaps them. The rest fall in place by itself.

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The other part of the magic that happens is that the students, by now developing enough confidence to achieve what they want in the 10 minute pose, have enough space left to experiment with developing their very own style. That’s why I never ever talk or teach or suggest anything about “correct” proportions. This is one of the very pitfalls of contemporary art teaching. “The figure has to be 7 or 8 or 9 heads tall” – rubbish! The figure has to have the exact proportions YOU, the artist decide you like. Nothing else matters. You are the one holding the pencil. You are the one taking the responsibility for your creation. No misguided art critic / teacher can ever tell you what is it YOU like. Only YOU can.

You can see in the drawing above that once there was an acceptable level of massing and relational harmony, the pull towards expression was unstoppable. It had to happen. The soul needs to speak. And one way or other, it will. It’s just so much nicer when it happens through art!

Massing and the basic Structure

This comes back again and again in the class. The moment you forget about massing and the underlying structure, the drawing goes to pieces. If you follow the structure path first, a 60 seconds pose is long enough to make a drawing. If you abandon massing and focus on detail, no amount of time will be enough to make the drawing work. This is the underlying rule in figure drawing that needs to be observed and practised. Nothing happens in figure drawing without massing.

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Masterclass Continues

Here are a few more images from the classroom.
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Below are some of the short poses, one and two minutes. I bet you wouldn’t say these students are only learning to draw. Fantastic stuff.
IMG_6707_webopt IMG_6714_webopt IMG_6716_webopt IMG_6721_weboptAnd here is an example of a 10 minute long drawing.
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Masterclass is now part of a Bigger Picture

Just a quick update for those wishing to reach the masterclass.figuredrawingonline.com website and get a weird result. That’s because the address gets redirected.

Why?
The initial Masterclass in figure drawing has been extended into a full blown Sculptural Course consisting of three parts. The former Masterclass teaching realistic figure drawing is the first part, Figurative Sculpture in Clay is the second part and finally the Figurative Sculpture in Stone is the third part of this unique course offered at an incredible price.

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The figure drawing is now closely related to sculpture and so I decided to move it in. Not all the links work as yet, but at least everyone can have a look and get the information.

As you will discover browsing the site, those who wish to participate only in one or two of the parts but not all can do so. The only requirement is that they have a workable knowledge of what the course they are leaving out teaches. This is a simple precaution to avoid holding up the class. There is so much ground to cover and so much to learn. So check it out. You can still use the old address or you can go to:  www.sculptureandstone.com/education.html

Student excellence

We just had our second session of the Masterclass last night and the progress the students made was fantastic. Last week we did the Where To Start introduction to the course by practising simplifying complex forms into simple geometric shapes. That way one can actually think of them and make conscious decisions about their size, shape, position and orientation in space. That was pretty basic stuff.
So then last night, the second session, we dived into the anatomy of The Rib Cage and The Pelvis big time. If you haven’t done any purposeful learning of figure drawing, there’s a lot to process the first time you hear this stuff but everyone landed on their feet and just check out these three drawings of the same pose by three different students. Huge, huge progress. No wonder everyone is having a good time. Can’t wait for the next week’s session to witness the wonderful creative surprises everyone comes up with. Who said there are no perks in teaching?

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Masterclass is up and running

Just a quick update, on the Masterclass. As you may know Masterclass is now offered in Broken Hill and it has a great success. The class is full with 10 students and with extra couple of people coming in just for the life drawing part of each sessions with no tuition.
We started on Wednesday learning the very important Where to Start part of the course, which is really the three basic rules of figure drawing upon which the rest of the knowledge can be successfully built. Everyone is charging ahead with an unbelievable speed. I know it often doesn’t seem that way to the students, but if you can read the signs, you can see how amazing their progress is.
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Broken Hill Alert

For those of you living in the Broken Hill region, please note, the Figure Drawing Course will start at the end of January 2014. If you want to have your say in the day of the week, starting time and start of the course itself, go to the Masterclass page and email me your choices by Monday, 13 January 2014.
The number of students is limited to 10 per class so that I can spend enough time with each of you. Those of you who came along to the demo session in December know what’s in store for you and how exciting drawing gets. So if you wish to do the course, grab a seat. See you all very soon.

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Work In Progress Continues

Hello everyone,

We continue with the second episode of this new series about figure drawing workflow. The part of the process I really wanted to share, is working out the composition. A kind of “go with the flow” process where one doesn’t have to worry about how a body looks in a certain position. The whole sum of the lectures I sell are geared towards this point. The lectures provide the knowledge of anatomy while teach how to go about massing, planes, plane breaks, how to find and observe landmarks, how to use simple devices like contour lines and so on. They help to build a visual library of the human body one can then use to create.
So here is the second free video. Enjoy!

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Work In Progress Free Video

Hello everyone,

I’m working on a figurative composition which will end up as a quite large (70cm x 100cm) pen and ink drawing in a style similar to the ones you can find here. It is going to be fairly complex, involving a number of figures. All of these will have to be designed and developed in terms of anatomy and expression.
001_work_in_progressSo I thought it might be useful to show you the process I use which will also demonstrate what I called in one of the earlier blog entries as the “flow”. Here it is:

“Once you have absorbed all that can be had from the beginners course and then you follow through with the advanced course, the place I would like you all to get to, is having so much knowledge stored up that you can entirely concentrate on the creative process. This doesn’t mean you get a highly polished anatomically correct drawing every time you put your pencil to paper. The place I am talking about is being able to be in the flow. Being able to rough out your composition and change things on the fly without having to worry about anatomy, massing, perspective and all the elements of drawing.
The tremendous power of this type of work is that it shapes and refines your own style. I repeat this because this is so important: This way, you will develop and refine your OWN STYLE. No more copying. You have to realise that in the whole wide universe there is only one copy of each of you. Nobody, NOBODY! can draw the way you draw as long as you develop your own style. That style is unique and cannot be copied. The internal energy of your stroke (developed in time) of your view and your aesthetics (arrived at through your very own life experience) can NOT be replicated. And that, is called Figure Drawing.”

So here comes the first free video in this series. If you have any questions, just post them as comments.

New Prices, Lecture 000 is back

Ok, so after much deliberation and even more feedback from you all here are the latest changes to the lectures for sales.
First of all I have abandoned the discount voucher system as it was causing too much confusion. I have just adjusted all the prices instead. The new pricing is as follows:
Separate Lecture for download – AUD $30.00 each
Separate Lecture received in mail – AUD $30.00 each plus postage and handling
Separate Lecture DVD edition – AUD $35.00 each plus postage and handling
Whole course for download – AUD $349.00 (saving of $41.00)
Whole course DVD edition – AUD $455.00 (saving of $56.00) plus postage and handling
I’m sure this is a good news for you all who are thinking of getting the course or part of it.

The second change is about the Lecture 000 Where To Start. This was initially created because you requested a introductory lecture to the course that sums up the figure drawing principles. For some time now it was a bonus lecture for those who bought the whole course. Many of you requested it to be for sale again especially as it was a bit less expensive and it offered a safe insight into the course itself.
Well, it’s back and it is offered for the same price it always was, AUD $20.00 and you can find it here. There is also a link to it on the home page where the discounts were. I’m sure this too is good news.

If any of the links don’t work on the website, please, let me know so that I can fix them. Thanks to you all.

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