Drawing shapes rather than lines is a good exercise.
So, instead of identifying and drawing lines, see and draw shapes. This exercise increases our ability to see this world in terms of shapes.
Start with biggest shapes, then draw medium sized shapes and at last, small shapes. Seeing in this way helps us simplify a scene for a painting. Relative sizes of various shapes in a painting create more impact than the details in it.
No matter how hard we try we cannot compete with nature when we try painting realistically. So, an artist’s real job is to distil the scene and not paint it as it is.
Drawing shapes with conte crayon
See the video below. It is part of my online course “Exercises to improve your drawing skill”. If you are interested in more such exercises, join the course at 50% discount using this link. These discount coupons are limited and valid only till 20th April 2017.
Sketching and drawing correct proportions and doing so without reaching the end of paper can be achieved easily with one simple technique.
1. How many times has your drawing gone out of the paper?
It can happen to all of us unless we mark out the extreme ends of the drawing, to begin with.
2. How many times does it happen that you get overall shape of the object all wrong?
While drawing, do you get engrossed in details so much that you ignore the overall shape of your subject?
“Envelope technique” solves both these problems easily.
Imagine that you are wrapping the subject of your drawing in a plastic wrap or imagine that you have to draw the outer shape of your subject using only 6-8 straight lines.
When you draw the outermost shape of the subject, what you get is an envelope. Depending on the size of the paper you are using, you can draw these envelope lines longer or shorter. This establishes the extreme ends of the drawing on your paper. It helps you see the big shapes and small shapes, it helps you to see the relative proportions of shapes and also establishes the dominant angles in your subject.
Once this is established, there is no worrying about reaching the end of paper, incorrect proportions or fear of rework. After this point, it is more of the same. Go on finding progressively smaller and smaller envelopes till you get all the details of the subject. Draw only straight lines, even if you see curves in the subject.
Remember that no line is final unless you decide to call it final. You are the artist and you have the authority to correct the lines that you drew earlier. Once you feel that you have drawn enough details, make the correct lines darker to finish your work.
This is just like a sculptor who removes unwanted parts of stone to reveal the sculpture inside.
Drawing is more about observation skill than anything else. The more you learn to observe your subject, better your drawings will become.