Thursday, May 15, 2014

Best of: Beginning Drawing

Here is a quick run down of how my beginning drawing for a mix of majors and non-majors panned out.  I'm always wondering how other people organize their classes so I guess that is why I am now sharing mine.  Unfortunately I wasn't so fantastic at getting a lot of photos so I only have one or two examples of each in class drawing, usually I made up a homework to go alongside.

We started the first day doing blind contours.  The first was of the room (picture 1), the second was of your hand or shoe (picture 2), the third was of how it felt when your tongue went around your teeth in your mouth.  This last one I lifted from an old professor of mine.  Students were looking around like I might have kidnapped the real drawing teacher and taken the class rogue at this point.  Pure terror.  But nice drawings.

Then we moved to extended line drawing of organic shapes, placing emphasis on line weight and finding composition.

Then so they didn't get too line obsessed, (which happened anyway), we worked with the idea of negative space in creating composition.

From there we continued with organic objects and did cross contour studies.  I think this helps in understanding how to apply the charcoal when later moving on to value.  To think about the direction of the edges and planes.  But it was confusing for a bit for them.

Then we jumped into value with subtractive charcoal drawings of well lit drapery.  The drawings turned out pretty well but it was a big leap.  I think because the patterns of light and dark are so abstract at first, students are really anxious that it won't 'look right'.  But it helps push them outside of that thinking into trusting their eyes and locating shape.

From there we went on to geometric shapes and did a bunch of structural, proportion work with bottles and teapots and things.  Then they did an extended drawing which had both a glass and metal object so to observe the way lights and darks disperse in these materials.

For the midterm, they made drawings using conte crayon on mid tone paper, building both the lights and darks.  I made up these really ugly machine like still lifes that I called 'grandpa's attic' for these.  I think we were all sick of bottles and plants at this point.

After spring break, we launched into two weeks of perspective.  First they just made up imaginary boxes in one and two-point perspective.  Then they made up an interior space in one-point and a street corner in two-point to get the abstract idea of it.  Then we did a perceptual one-point of the hallway (no picture of this) and went out and drew the engineering building on campus in two-point.  Surprisingly a lot of students like doing this, I personally am happy when it is over.

From there we moved on to figure.  They started by doing pencil self portraits but I don't have any to post this semester.  Then we spent two weeks with a model, doing gesture drawings with different parameters (15 lines only, straight lines only, zooming into the entire page, fitting the whole pose and touching the top and bottom etc.)  Then we did two two-day poses and students chose the medium.  I forced them to try ink during gesture and some really loved it and continued with it (and some did not).

Then for the last week of classes we went outside and made landscape drawings, medium of their choice, quick or extended.  It was a nice change from the structure of the classroom setting and also the parameters sometimes felt in learning 'representational' drawing.

And for their final, they had to work completely outside of the class on a drawing that had a figure in a space, from life.  Some were quite classic, some were more inventive.


Derrick Quevedo said...

Nice student work! Did you encourage them to look at work of other artists at all? At some point a student begins losing balance when the heroes' and masters' influence takes control.

Aubrey Levinthal said...

Thanks D. I did show them a lot of drawings from other artists, to show the range of what was possible. I agree with your point. Most of mine did not latch onto any influences yet, as mostly non-majors they were still trying to understand the materials and their way of marking and just did not seem ready to look outside of that...hopefully in drawing 2??

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