Monday, May 29, 2017

Now For The Critique

My niece has just started to draw

--so I suggested she try to draw white objects and drawing from life, not photographs.
Her drawing of a spoon.

I am going to post copies of my niece’s drawings. Remember, these are her first drawings. 

Working from life gives you a very different point of view. Yours.

In art only one point of view matters, the artist’s or yours.

When drawing try not to move around a lot. You will naturally want to. We all want to see what is around the bend. This will give you access to more of the object, but as you move around, you will find inaccuracies and distortions creep (or leap!) in your drawings.

This is what happened here.

When drawing the oriental spoon, Niece tried to draw more of the bottom than what she was seeing. This is natural, as your brain knows that the spoon need to hold the soup. She was also distracted by the pattern that was on the bottom. She brought the pattern up onto the side, where it is more easily seen. We tend to focus on patterns so she might not even realize that the pattern is confined to the bottom. She also shows a bit of the white which she would not see in the spoon at the angle she has drawn it. It is always tempting to add what we know, but restrain yourself to what you are actually seeing at the moment. 

She has also drawn the bottom of the spoon completely flat. While we all know it is flat, it has to be to rest easily on the table, we DO NOT SEE IT THAT WAY. At the angle she is drawing, we see not the flat bottom but a slight gentle curve. 

The sides are a bit wider than the bottom and we can be deceived by that curvature.  Both sides are the same height, we know this in our heads, but what do we see? Because we are looking at the spoon at then angle, what we see is that the back side appears to be taller than the front. In our heads we know this is not so, but THIS IS WHAT WE SEE. 

Sorry did not mean to shout, but look carefully. Because we are looking slightly down on the spoon the sloping side closer to us appears smaller, as it slopes away and down from our vision. The opposite side because of the angle appears larger because it is sloping up and away or outward. We actually see more of this side. Also it is well lite and appears lighter. The side closer is sloping down and under and is darker because of the shadow cast by the upper edge. This surface has both a cast shadow and a contour shadow. Which is why it is so dark. The spoon is actually a uniform porcelain white. We also see contour shadows on the handle which is concave. There are also highlights when the lamp is glinting off the smooth porcelain. We also have strong lines where the top and sides meet. These can be softened. You only see a slight blur where the contour shading begins. A minor detail, the handle at this angle is a little short. I suspect that niece turned her head a little.

Does this mean this is a terrible drawing?

No. We can all see what it is. Most people would be amazed at how accurate it is. It is a fairly accurate drawing of a white porcelain Chinese spoon. Very good for a first try. But a good critique gives the artist something to think about and strive for. Knowing niece. I know she can do better and will with experience.

Drawing is like any other skill. It takes time to get really good at it. Time and a lot of practice!

We learn to draw by drawing.


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