Corinne maakt

My drawing and painting life

How face drawing practice helped me drawing these animals

For a while now, I’ve been doing a lot of face drawing, and because of that focus I let go of doing other subjects. Also I worked on some of my courses, of course, making demonstration pieces. As the course I taught during March and April was on animals, I did make some animal drawings earlier this year, mostly practice drawings. But after that, I got into preparing for a course focusing on color – so I stopped the subject of animals altogether.

My main course of the day (as it were) has been faces for two months. Well by the middle of June I was getting a bit fed up with faces, I felt I needed a break or more diversity in my daily practice. Before that I had been doing a lot of face drawing, so it felt okay to step away for a bit.

I had just learned an interesting practice technique from the Close Up course by Annie Hamman. She calls the technique ‘fast and furious drawing’. The idea is to be quick, not think too much, use only straight lines and go go go! Well, I loved it. I have been doing it quite a bit and while doing it have adjusted it a bit to suit my way of working. I may do a real ‘fast and furious drawing’ on one day, really drawing quick (whole piece under 10 minutes, sometimes even under five minutes), and really only quick straight lines. I’ve found the tool to go with it (a Koh-I-noor holder for graphite sticks), that is slightly heavier than a pencil, it suits the feel of ‘fast and furious’ for me.  The fast and furious is a technique meant to pick up on emotions in the reference, and may not show much detail, may have big mistakes in one drawing, and hit a likeness in another. Lots of failure in a series, and one or two really good drawings. I like it SO much.

Since I did it for the first time, I’ve found that I want to repeat it, slow it down (but still only straight lines), go back to faster again, try different tools and different papers, add color (do it in colored pencil for instance). So from one idea I moved to the next; but always faces! I found wonderful photos to try this on. This brought me a technique that has more than just the fast and furiousness, and I call it ‘flick drawing’ or ‘quick flicking’ (I don’t even know if that’s an English word, ha ha).

Anyway, after having done this for a while, I wanted something different and decided to try animals again. I found a beautiful photo of a squirrel and tried the quick flick method on it. In graphite with the KIN tool. Yeah – I felt so good. It felt like all the drawing practice really paid off, even when not drawing a face. Isn’t that cool?

Jun12_Squirrel_flickFFdrawing_crop1

Squirrel, graphite tool in sketchbook

After doing it in black and white I felt like doing it on colored paper. And yes, another fun experiment that went really well.

Jun12_Squirrel_flickFFdraw_color

Colored pencils on yellow craft paper

I find that all the practice, all the quick drawing, the speeding up and slowing down, has helped me being more confident in general. I know all drawing helps to improve your skill, improves your seeing ability, improves eye-hand-coordination. I’ve been practicing seeing shadows and lights, so that paid off on the first drawing as well.

Is it the perfect drawing? Don’t know. Probably not. But it was perfect for practice.

Same goes for the next drawing, in color. It felt easy to do, color choices and choice of lines came almost natural, the thoughts why to do this or that came quickly. As an example of how this went, I was drawing the animal, making use of the color of the fir at first, flicking a colored pencil across the page. Then I saw it needed more darks. And my thoughts went like this: “Let’s make this darker in the shadow, let’s use a blue to see how it works against the color of the fur, oh cool! I’ll put it there as well.” and so on.

I’ve been working on color for quite a bit over the past two months, preparing for my course. Working with colored pencil, oil and soft pastels. Thinking about the types of color, how we are affected by them, how color can help seeing perspective/depth and so on. And also studying how artists use color in their drawings and paintings. Choosing examples of color effects I chose paintings to use in the course, for participants to copy (or follow in a more general way). Another thing that guided my choices was that I wanted to have different subjects this time. So the lessons would involve: abstract and linework; landscape; still life; an animal painting (Franz Marcs Blaues Pferd I) and one or two faces/portraits. So there was one horse (I studied several before the lesson) only.  For some reason, in a way, all this drawing and studying seems to have trickled down into my conscious and unconscious mind and comes out when drawing. This makes me happy.

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