Complete Drawing Lesson
Quick Reference Guide:

for beginning artists and caricaturists alike, based on the
drawing-on-the-right-side-of-the-brain techniques.

Caricature and Drawing Newsletter for 
June, 2005

This newsletter is reproduced here by courtesy of - 
Once and for all getting you drawing faces and caricatures. Note: in this
particular issue most if not all links point to the member site (password
needed to access). But come back soon - we'll be adding links to other 
sites -- to many other -- other than the member you won't need
a password. :-)


1 June 2005


June, 2005 Communiqué 



Happy Memorial day!

Ok! Hope all of you stateside had a great Memorial Day weekend. In
this part of the world, this weekend marks the unofficial kick-off to Summer.
So what comes with Summer? When I was a kid it usually meant camping trips
venturing all the way to the my buddy Gary's backyard a few doors down and pitching camp there; it meant pickup baseball games in an empty lot, swimming at Shady Oak lake (yes, that's a real lake), and it meant every now and then taking an arts or crafts class (my mom didn't think sports was the only answer to life - plus I'd always really enjoyed them). Sometimes I'd go over to my buddy Mikey Albers house across the street and we'd draw airplanes and battle scenes for hours. There was no pressure to draw for classes or for grades. It was "draw what you wanted" time. For me that meant a loosening up of the imagination - something a kid was supposed to. And did naturally.


Getting that care-free kid feeling back - while you go step by step

That being said, it might seem contradictory to impose a quick list of all the
lessons (again -), but I've received a few requests from students lately about where
the heck to start. It always strikes me that even though the foundation steps
of drawing seem regimented (i.e. you go through them one at a time), they
always work for getting you out of that "thinking brain" -- the brain that demands
the perfect drawing every time, the brain that tries to direct a whole laundry list
of "I'll do this, then I'll do this, then I'll do this, and I'll do them all perfectly" brain.


It's an adventure!

That pretty much leads to frustration and, well, sometimes even anger - expecting
everything to go "according to plan". I'm putting this list up here at the "Made EZ"
site too -- so you can see it again for reference, so YOU don't have to try to
carry it around in your head, and so you don't have to find your password again  (at least not right away :-). Sometimes just reviewing the skills at a glance ruffles up the part of you that knows "this is where I'm weak in my drawing". And maybe you can take a little camping trip "just a few doors down" and get back that Summer-time, bask-in-the-heat, take-it easy-but-have-fun feeling you had as a kid. Game for a little adventure?


My advice: just pick a lesson that feels fun. If you've done it already, fine! Do
it again. Accept whatever it is you draw, and try it again, or move on to another.
The only requirement I'll put on you is this: congratulate yourself for each and
every effort you make. And NO judging.

OK. Here's the quick list again. Repetition will make you a master (yes you'll need your password for most of these - but once you're in, you won't have to mess with it again until you log off.)


Feeling, Sensing, And Learning To 
Control The Conflict: 

Your brain's quiet battleground: getting the feel for conflict ;

Don't think you have talent?
Amaze yourself with upside-down drawing

The First Skill Of Drawing: Lines And Edges  

A) The first step into right brain drawing: recognizing lines a edges -- Pure Contour ;

B) Enter the most mind boggling, brain-bending, breakthrough step in drawing:
understanding the "Picture Plane"

C) Widening your repertoire and stepping up your contour drawing skills: try this
"modified contour" drawing - it's an easy step in sharpening your observational skills

Skill Set Number Two: What's A "Negative Space"?

I thought that's what I was trying to get my head out of!

D) A riddle: in drawing, recognizing what's not there is as important as 
what you can put your hands on.

The Third Skill Of Drawing:

E) Angles, proportions, perspective: What makes those country corn fields and rows look so well organized? So geometric? And how do you draw them? And is that the only place perspective and proportion is at work? The hard truth: it's everywhere. Dive into understanding this tough skill. You will get it and your drawings will blast off.

Light And Shadow (The Fourth Skill)

F) Without light, there'd be no shadows and there would be no good reason to "see", no utility fro our eyes. So why is the largest proportion of your brain - the largest concentration of nerve fibers in your cerebral cortex - devoted to the visual senses? Because sight means life and death and sight means being able to see all God's amazing creations. Learn to see light and shadow at work in your drawings, in your subjects, and in nature. Nothing will add more depth to your creations than understanding the rationale, the pure logic of light.

Focusing: Applying What You Now Know To Drawing The Features Of The Head. 

1) Often neglected but a repository of curves, of shadows, of highlights, start off by learning to draw ears and see how your newly won skills will make your drawn ears pop right off the page. From Dumbo to Dopey to pure aristocracy, every creature from the worm on up has ears. Learn to zoom in on what parts we all have in common -- and draw them with confidence.

2) The eyes are the gateway to the soul it's been said, and they're certainly the focus of any portrait or caricature. Master the details all eyes have in common and you'll learn to see how little differences, little variances from person to person add up to make Hansel look different than Gretel, Chewbacca different than Luke Skywalker.

3) The nose knows. The most perpendicular appendage of the face, from nose-uppity, to pugnacious, to Roman, or to royal, again rehearse your skills and realize "there is a plan"! Noses are for real, and come in all shapes and sizes as well as divide and transition one part of the face to the other. Never thumb your nose again at drawing noses :-)

4) The wildest drawing ride you'll ever take (an overstatement), but it is true: the mouth changes more drastically, to ever more elastic extremes in  both shape, dimensions, and in what comes out of it; and really makes for the perfect artistic challenge once you've progressed to this point. No other part of anatomy flips light and shadow, produces tiny lines and creases and does it all so dashingly as the human mouth and lips. Add to this the fact that few other natural works of art combine a greater convergence of anatomy, emotion, expression, light, shadow -- shades of light and shadow  --  more so than the human mouth. It's truly the instrument that separates us from the beasts -- and can make us just as beastly. Learn that there are commonalities to all mouths and the template will be set: you'll know exactly what to look for when drawing them.

Drawing the Shapes And Masses Of The Head: 
A Home For All The Features You Just Learned To Draw

You rehearsed those four main drawing skills while learning the major (and obvious), features of the face. Now it's time to integrate those features into the overall structure of the head. You need to learn to see the "hidden" geometric forms hidden within the skull (I know, sounds a little morbid: "skull", but all great artists had to learn this :-). But not to worry! There's really little more than learning to see 3 or 4 "primitive forms" that subtly and not so subtly reside there - primitive forms that form the foundation of ALL things. You already know these :-) In a word you'll learn to capture volume in your drawings.

Last But Not Least: Caricatures! 

This is what you came for. This is the book within the book. Two medium sized explanations and one HUGE 120 page in-depth extrapolation. All three walk you through every step of the process: spring-boarding off the foundation lessons, incorporating everything you learned in the specific features-of-the-head sections and the drawing-the-head lessons. You'll dive in to yet several whole other layers of depth and sub-features, very subtle sub-features that is. Sub-features that truly make a face a face. 

You'll also internalize a system that allows you to size up a face  - any face - and know instantly which way to exaggerate: squish or stretch or fatten or balloon or spin, or crunch or redden, or flatten. Once you have an anchor to stabilize your jitters, you'll develop a gut- felt confidence each time you step off in to the improvised unknown of caricature. And it's a blast! :-)

A Final Word

It's my absolute and firm belief that anyone can learn to draw. And it's my further belief any one can take the next step into exaggeration - which is all caricature and cartooning are: again, exaggeration. The key is as always practice. Yes you can learn the foundations of drawing and really truly draw in five intense days. (This is absolutely possible and re-proven time after time.) Where you take it and how able you are to apply those drawing basics is in direct proportion to how fluidly you can call them up. And that again is a product of repetition. Daily drawing sessions: yes, you can improve on 15 minutes a day, but you'll improve that much faster if you can invest more than that. But don't skip your daily drawing sessions just because you can't find 2 hours to draw. If that's the case, repeat after me "15 minutes will do it, 15 minutes will do it!" And it will.





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