The very first exercises on the DrawABox website is to help you learn how to draw, again. The first lesson on the website is to take you back to the beginning, the very fundamentals. It covers topics such as drawing from the shoulder, drawing straight lines and perfect ellipses, and the very basics of perspective. This post covers only the first part of this entire lesson, which is about drawing from the shoulder and straight lines.
Just note that not all images are completed in succession as I would regularly return to an earlier exercise just to practice and reinforce a skill. The time it took me from start to finish was actually quite a number of days. Somewhere along the way I realised I had started resting my hand upon the paper fully whilst drawing. I fell back into old habits. You regularly see me returning to certain exercises just to practice drawing from the shoulder and lifting my hand from the page.
Most people never got taught the “correct” way of drawing, at least when it comes to art. Primarily one must draw from the shoulder, whilst most people will naturally draw from the wrist and elbows.
This first part of this lesson was to practice drawing straight lines from the shoulder. Like many others I found this experience particularly difficult and strange – I just kept falling back to drawing from my elbow. To be honest I was never able to not draw from the shoulder exclusively, I always ended up with a mix of elbow and shoulder.
I decided that I would need to practice better control with my lines. This would probably involve speeding up my drawing; drawing too fast means a loss of control whilst drawing too slow would mean wobbly lines. I also recognised that this practice was so far only teaching me to draw straight lines from the left to the right – so I would need to practice various lengths and angles. I also noticed that when drawing further away from my body I would lose control, and my lines would tend to splay and separate towards the ends.
Once you have learnt a bit more control with drawing straight lines, the next step is to learn to refine those lines. This brings us to the Ghosting Lines exercise. Place two points on the page and pretend to draw a line between these points (thus ghosting the line). After ghosting one or two times, without pause draw the actual line. This should help you achieve a much smoother and more confident line.
At this point I reflected upon my progress and decided that I had a tendency to slop up at the end of the line. I need to practice accurately hitting the ending position. Compared to the superimposed lines I have greatly improved my ability to control speed and accuracy. I found that hand sliding across the page gave greater stability, but could cause smudges. I also gained much better line control.
Extending upon the last part of the lesson the goal is now to make basic shapes with straight lines, namely planes. No not airplanes, but squares.
One of the first things I realised after completing a couple pages was that I had mis-read the instructions a bit… To be more precise I had shipped a whole paragraph! The lines that go from through the centre points were meant to be completed in perspective… Of course I had just assumed that they were from the centre widths each and every time… Opps. I did keep wondering why we weren’t doing them in perspective…
From this exercise I learnt that I would have to really practice ghosting lines from multiple angles. I knew I would also have to practice more confident lines by varying my speed and accuracy. I also realised that I was rushing my practice too much; trying to complete the homework pages as fast as possible. Rather I should focus on each line individually, trying to achieve each line’s neatness to the best of my ability. You can see a huge improvement from the 3rd of May to the 10th of May’s practice pages just from slowing down and focusing more.
So that’s the progress for lesson one, part one. This took me over half a month to draw just a few pages! Though these lessons are less about quantity and more about quality.