Saturday, June 21, 2014

Little Drawing Tutorial, Maybe More of a Tip

Today is the Solstice, my favorite feast day, although I don't really celebrate it beyond noticing it and trying to remember to pause with the earth at this still point after which the days will shrink back into gathering darkness.  So my sort-of celebration was to go to the glorious River Trail and do some ambitious sketches of nature in mid-summer.  People are always asking me how I can do an intricate drawing while on the fly;  and the answer is that I rarely do.  What I do is take notes on the fly, and then finish up at home.  
One of my favorite things to do is to make a general map of the drawing-to-be, indicating general areas.  The drawings above also show another on-site step, and that is making a texture strip.  On the left above you can see a strip of texture going from the clouds down to the foreground of the field.  The only other things drawn in this map are various horizons.  On the right it seemed easier to map out the path and then fill in a few representative textural areas instead of doing a strip, since there were mainly vertical areas.  A horizontal texture strip would have worked also.  These sketches took a very short time, and since I was wearing my bug chaser hat, no bugs flew at me.
Once at home I immediately went back into the drawings and did textures, being sure to use textural lines to show contours of the forms.  I didn't actually do anything to the tiny drawing 2646.  It was  so simple that I was able to complete it while standing on the trail.
I really enjoyed these last two drawings.  On the left, the hill and background trees drew themselves when I extended the texture strip across the whole drawing.  On the right, the trail had become a road, the very road that used to lead the beer truck to the Bubba, a twice-yearly blow out party that the students at the college used to hold secretly.    I happened upon it accidentally today as I  veered off the trail onto the bigger road at one point.  Sadly, the Bubba and all of its clandestine trappings (secret leaders; secret tee shirt printing in the printmaking studio, which we in the art department pretended not to notice, even when our garbage cans were overflowing with beer bottles on certain mornings; complete absence of and lack of supervision by faculty and staff, etc) is gone, along with the happy days before  colleges began to function in loco parentis helicopterus.


  1. gwen, thank you for this. a texture strip - whoa! what a great idea!

    i only found your blog a few weeks ago, and have really been enjoying it... your books were the first i got on journaling, and i think they're still the best.