Let’s Sketch on Location
(continued from page 1)

Step One
Pick a specific point of what you are looking at. In this first example I am starting with the ear of the passenger in front of me. In drawing your object there are several levels that you can approach the drawing from. You could draw the total ear as a simple shape or you could start with just a line showing a fragment of the ear. Regardless of which degree of detail you decide upon, the approach is the same.

Look at your subject as if it were a photograph that you were tracing. You need to see each line that connects to your original line. Look carefully at line two to see its relationship to line one. In teaching students who have never drawn before, I sometimes ask them to look through clear plastic sheets, and with grease pencils, draw on them as if they were tracing a photograph. In chapter nine of the Vilppu Drawing Manual, I give a basic historical discussion of the process related to drawing the posed figure.

In the drawing above I started with the ear of the seated figure on the left. The numbered drawings on the right and next page show the steps that I went through in doing this drawing while we were waiting for the plane to depart at the Rome airport on one of my sketch tours. The important point in this approach to sketching is that you pay careful attention to the angles of your lines and their attachment to the previous ones. Continuously compare each line by either holding up your pencil horizontally and vertically, or use a convenient line of comparison in the subject itself to help you see the angles you are drawing.

The drawing may look complex, but the process is simple.

Some More Tools
Below is a simple check off list that will help to remind you of the points you should be looking for. In time, these points become second nature as you draw, in the same way as driving a car becomes a normal process.

(In chapter nine of the Vilppu Drawing Manual there is a more complete discussion of the use of these reminders.)

All of the following drawings were done using the basic approach of this chapter.

While doing these drawings, I never knew how much time I had to do them. People, cars and any number of unforeseen situations arise, from curious observers standing in front of you to see what you are doing, cars moving or simply lack of time for drawing. I try to approach the drawing with the attitude that the point that I start with is what I’m after and any additions I can make to it are frosting on the cake. Getting the scale of objects is a critical element in the drawing, so it is always important to keep looking at the lines you draw comparing any object in relation to the objects that it is touching two dimensionally.

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