Look at Garbage, Look at Garbage, Draw Garbage
Are you looking at the object you are trying to draw? If you are trying to draw something you found in the garbage, you might be forced to look at it harder then while drawing your favorite knick-knack or coffee cup or . . .
Are you REALLY looking at your subject matter? Look at it as if you just found such a thing for the first time in your life. Look at it as if you just came here from another planet where everything is 2 dimensional, where everyone and everything is like a piece a paper, no profile, turn sideways and disappear.
“Two Looks, One line.” This is a drawing technique that was passed along to me over 30 years ago. I went to an art show in
, and had a chance to chat with the artist. She was speaking of a teacher she studied with when she was young. He told her to look more at the subject and less at the drawing. Carson City, Nevada
When I was in 5th grade, we were in the process of learning how each state had a state flower, state bird, etc. We were working in groups and had to draw all the things. I did the bird of
, the Western Meadowlark. I saw the bird in a book from the library. I was in grade school in Burns, Oregon, I don’t think any birds live there other than black birds and sparrows and I feel sorry for them. Nebraska
Anyway, I digress. My bird drawing showed the state bird perched on a branch with some leaves. One day, after school, the teacher from the next room came in to speak to my teacher. I was cleaning up my desk and getting ready to go home, the other teacher stopped to admire all the pictures on the bulletin board. She asked who did the bird and my teacher pointed to me. The other teacher complimented my drawing and asked how to draw the branch on a tree to make it look like it is pointing toward the viewer. The first thing out of my mouth was, “You just have to look at the branch.”
For years, I thought I gave that teacher a very stupid answer, but later realized it was the very best answer. Look before you draw.
I used to wonder why kids get anxious with their drawing skills around the age of 9. Have you ever watched a child draw? It is mostly from their imagination. Rarely do children look at an object to draw it. About the age of 9-11 children feel a need for their drawings to look realistic and they either figure out that they have to study the object or they give up. Most give up, sadly. The key remained a secret. The parents and teachers didn’t know the key to drawing success to help the child.
Put an object on the table.
Set your drawing journal in your lap.
Scoot up to the table, with the journal in your lap. Scoot so close that you cannot see your journal. Draw the object that is sitting on the table before you without looking at your journal
I know you are going to peek. Every time you peek, you are robbing yourself of a valuable experience. Try this exercise many times. Remember, “Creativity takes courage.” Soon you will get the hang of it and not peek. You will produce drawings that will surprise yourself.
I did not dream up this exercise. I first heard of it when my daughter, Dr. Brandi Myers, was in grade school. Her class had a visiting artist that had the class do this for practice.
Mortar & Pestle