Miscellaneous Exercises

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Hair

Here (right click download) is a photograph of me. Beautiful, am I not? My only flaw is that I am bald. Well... now is your chance to address this shortcoming. Using your best Photoshop-fu, paint some lovely hair on my head. Some things to remember when painting hair:

  • Hair may be separated into its large masses (e.g. a curly, a fringe etc) and its small details (e.g. small, fly-away hairs, the ends of curls etc).
  • The silhouette line of hair, as with the silhouette line of anything, is where its 'signature' is. Silhouettes carry the 'meaning' of a form,
  • Hair wraps around the head. This is most evident when the hair falls over the face, creating cave-like hollows between the hair and the forehead.

Hair may crudely be separated into three regions. These are:

  • The top, where the sprightly crown hair spring up from the scalp.
  • The middle, where the hair is pulled down by its own weight and is more likely to be straight.
  • The bottom, where the hair terminates and is more likely to be curly.

Hands

Next to faces, hands are the most expressive part of the human body. I shall address in class some of the key anatomical features of hands. However, knowing the anatomy of a hand will not necessarily help you draw it. As with the hair, the silhouette of a hand is very important to a visual artist. If you learn how to see the silhouette of a hand clearly, drawing the remainder of a hand is a lot easier. For a lovely collection of hand images, do a Google image search using the search terms "Hands Durer". Durer was an artist who made a special study of hands and who drew them obsessively.

Here (right click download) is a collection of hand drawn using only their silhouette lines. Your task is to 'complete' the drawing. The photographs from which these drawings were derived can be found here (right click download). Don't look at them until you have completed the excersise.

Drapery

In pre-modern art, drapery was a subject of great importance to artists. This had a lot to do with their interest in depicting people in classical garbs (e.g. the toga). Nowadays it is of less importance, but it is still a subject that is worthy of attention. There is a section devoted to drapery in the Pictorial Terms Microsite which classifies various forms of folds.

First download these files (right click download). The zipped file contains a number of photos of naked models. Select one you like and, in Photoshop, place a new layer over the figure. Using only lines, on this layer draw some clothes on the model. One of the important things to remember when drawing drapery is to employ suggested contours when drawing the undulations of the drapery. This topic is detailed in the pictorial terms microsite.

Lines

One of the things to remember with lines is that each line should respond effectively to the thing that is being drawn. Variety of line is not something that comes naturally, which is what this excersise address. Lines are detailed in the Pictorial Terms Microsite.

A small collection of drawings done by artists is here (right click download). The artists I have selected are: Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947), Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) and Jean-Antoine Watteau (French, 1684-1721). These artists all had the most livid line work. Bonnard's drawings were so varied in their lines that he was able to make a colourful painting using nothing but the lines as reference.

Download this file (right click download). It is an odd looking file that has been constructed in order to emulate a pencil line (using textures and a clipped layer. I shall show you how to use it in class. Your job is to sign your name six times: as yourself, as your gender opposite, as a pop star, as a saint, as a criminal and as a scientist. Each signature should be as different to each other as possible. This difference should be with reference to every conceivable parameter: size, direction (slanted etc), line weight, signature size, etc. This signature should be signed, not not drawn. In other words, it should be drawn quickly and in doing so, you should 'inhabit' the signature and make it seem natural.

The second excersise requires you to draw three flowers, again using only lines. The flowers should be of three of the following colors: red, blue, yellow, green, orange and purple (in other words, the three artist's primaries and secondaries). caveat: you must only use a black line, no color. For reference refer to Bonnard, who was able to 'draw' color. Most of you will probably think that this is impossible, but you will be wrong. Drawing (and painting) is a naturally synesthetic activity, with plenty of cross-over between the senses. Hence, a blue can be synestheticly equivalent to a musical note, a geometry be synestheticly equivalent to a state of mind etc. I will explain this further in class.

Lighting

First download this (right click download) pdf and this (right click download) tif. The second file is a simple line drawing of a bowl of fruit.

Lighting is manifest by tone. My lecture notes on tone (i.e. lightness) are here (right click download). However, lighting deserves being addresses separately, being the high-level narrative of tone. This excersise requires that, using only tone, you paint the bowl of fruit using a lighting condition that corresponds to one of the following emotional conditions. I have darkened the background to a mid grey, which is standard practice for a tonal drawing. However, you may wish to lighten or darken this, according to your needs.