Drawing Lessons, Assignment 1

Originally uploaded by Tymcode
I’m tired of not being able to draw. I can sometimes do a decent sketch when I sit and stare at the thing thanks to some teachers using Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in my youth. And I dimly recollect some lessons on perspective from a drafting class in junior high school or something.

But what I really want to do is to be able to draw something that is not before my eyes. I also want to learn the rules of shading. It doesn’t need to be anything amazing or really even complete; I just find I have need of this sort of thing from time to time. Like when I fake 3D in photoshop — I can “tilt” and “bend” a piece of paper using transform tools like Scale, Perspective and Warp. But it doesn’t look right without the shading, and I don’t know where to hit it with the Dodge and Burn tools. Sometimes I just want to include something hand-drawn in my collages to add a little depth and interest.

In fact, if I could just create a compelling sketchbook I’d be pretty happy, the way people are happy when they create an altered journal. I remember seeing my friend Michelle P. Kern’s sketchbook at a party. I was fascinated by the suggestion of real things rising unexpectedly out of the page here and there, the text and images creating this landscape rippling with ideas, each unrealized and not fully-formed but hinting at a vast potential. Guillermo Del Toro’s sketchbook for Pan’s Labyrinth is a great example of what I mean, especially if you speak Spanish.

I can’t really take any formal training right now, but my friend Jane Wynn, a former art professor at Towson University (near Baltimore), has offered some sort of casual distance tutelage that I can’t refuse. Her first assignment was to work on drawing various values in shading using a ballpoint pen and no finger-blending.

Fortunately I can sort of remember how shading works in a cylinder, at least for one angle. I hope someday to not need specific rulesets like these; they don’t scale well. So my wife furnished me with a handsome Moleskine sketchbook and while on a plane from Las Vegas to San Jose I took my first stab.