Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Improve your drawing - Part 1

Here is a method to improve your drawing that covers two subjects...type construction and warm up scales.

The Warm Up..Who ever bothers to do this? Wrong..
No athlete ever goes into competition with out warming up – drawing is no different.
You are using muscle groups, finger dexterity and eye-hand coordination. Everyone who has ever studied music or played an instrument knows how 'sticky' your coordination is at the beginning of each session. After a few scales and arpeggios things begin to come together. I have adopted the same reasoning towards the quick improvement of your drawing ability. The exercises shown here are adaptations of those used in learning how to write, indicate type and drawing. There must be a gazillion books on drawing but not too many ever discuss practice strokes or the warm up. The practice strokes are analogous to the scales in music. Think about will work if you are not in a hurry.

Here is a vintage cut from the Palmer Method lesson on repetitive practice for good handwriting.  It sounds nuts but if you work on learning to indicate a type face it will help your drawing considerably.
You get a two for one deal on this one as making notations in your journals will really have a neat look.

Learning how to indicate type (as it was called in the “good ol' days”) not only will give you an appreciation for the beauty and thought behind typeface design, it will help you in your note taking or expression in your journals or sketches.

Here is Adobe Caslon. I've shown examples of others as well and I suggest that you carefully compare the subtle differences between the faces – look at the lower case g's.

Mark out on a sheet of paper several groups of horizontal lines about 1 inch apart.  Set down a series of squares within the line in which you will copy each capital (upper case) letter. First draw the outer edge of the letter and then the inner edge. Just the outlines – do the entire alphabet – letters, numbers, and punctuation. This practice exercise will hone your ability to discern very subtle differences. Good for your drawing..!

 Now..sharpen a pencil to a chisel point and single stroke the serif forms so that you get a nice neat letter.

Use this reprint from an old Speedball pen handbook for the stroke sequences.(click to enlarge)

This is the start of learning a new and improved eye-hand skill with the added cool ability to charm your friends with an actual vintage effort in calligraphy.  My instructor in illustration at the Art Center School, Joe Henninger, wrote all of his letters with this nice neat hand.

This scratchboard illustration of Joseph Morgan Henninger was done by John McCormack for a beer ad in the '50's. (partial view)

No comments:

Post a Comment