Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To The Drawing Board



In my last sketching post, I was lamenting my lack of drawing flair. See, I can draw. What I'm missing is my very own michele-type style. A few of your comments on that post were quite insightful I felt, and got me to thinking.


For instance, Catie suggested:

"Have you ever tried just adding a little colour? Like pink to the cheeks and nose. It is so playful and breathes life into an otherwise monotone drawing."

As you can see, I took your advice to heart Catie. I may have added somewhat more than "a little" colour though. Once I got started I couldn't stop myself. When it comes to colouring I turn into a giant kid: the more colour, the merrier... 


I also appreciated the advice Saraccino shared: 

"You are able to see beauty in stuff which is so normal, even trash. This view will give you special insight for sketching. Stop thinking and just enjoy it!"

I think you're right Saraccino. I do tend to overthink drawing. Part of the problem may be that I like to control every little pencil stroke. Letting go and relinquishing a teensy bit of control might be just what the doctor ordered eh?... I'll have to give it a shot.


Aneesah recalled a moment from her own experience. She wrote:

"I've struggled with style since forever. I've been told by a lecturer that I'm too literal... I think that means I don't use my right brain enough. There isn't enough of me in the artwork, more needs to go in the process." 

She also added wisely:

"Style takes time and experimentation."


Wow, it's like that lecturer was speaking directly to me from across the chasm of time... The idea of "being too literal" and putting "more of me" into the drawing really struck a chord. You're so right Aneesah. If I'm just reproducing what's already there (as I've done with the elephant photo above) then maybe I'm investing too little of myself in the work. Perhaps what I could try instead is to practice interpreting the photo rather than just reproducing it verbatim. Then I might see more of myself in it. I might even begin to develop my own style... Hmm, what an intriguing concept!

Thanks for your thoughtful and considerate comments. I do appreciate every one, and try to learn from them whenever possible.

Have yourself a beautiful day.

♥M

41 comments:

  1. Style is not something you impose on your work, but rather it comes naturally with a lot of practice!

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    1. A very wise note. And I do intend to practice more. :)

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  2. In my photo seminars, I always tells students look at the subject - what speaks to you? For instance - if you are looking at a flower - some people (most) will obviously photograph the blossom - but what about it appeals so you? The shape, the color, how it interacts with the leaves behind it and around it? It is your job to show the viewer what interests you about the flower - photograph it from an unusual angle - take it out of focus, if it is about the color etc. Maybe you don't care about the blooms - maybe you are more interested in the soil, or the creatures that live on it - in photography - the camera is literal so the photographer has to make sure the perspective and focus the camera records is theirs and not some generic one imposed on them by the camera and the manufacturers who strive to make cameras that shoot average/good photos.

    I have a whole slew of suggestions I give students about forcing/making a camera see the way they do but mostly it is about knowing what you see or what appeals to you and using the camera as a tool - a means to the end and not an end in itself.

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    1. I like what you say about focussing on details that appeal to you in order to have the piece reflect something about you. That really makes sense to me, Melissa.

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  3. Fantastic! Good work! But I like the meaning of this post and the fact that you're constantly looking for new fields to experiment. Do you know that I feel to have the same problem of you with drawing? And although it's year that I didn't draw anymore, I'm feeling the same need of yours to try again.
    But since I tend to be too precise in drawing in the future I want to try the abstract art and just working with colours and feelings.
    You're great Michele and continue doing like this!

    p.s.: sorry for my bad english! I hope you understood!

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    1. Your english is not bad at all. Can you imagine me trying to speak your language? It would take me a year to write one comment. :)

      Abstract is certainly a way to go. This whole exercise may even be leading toward that... I don't really know!

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  4. The drawing is flat out wow. I love the way you made that bus back off from Mr Elephant. Right there I see one of your great gifts: imagining a better version! Turning junk mail into beauty. Creating a world in which humans refrain from tailgating elephants.

    You are GOOD, lady!

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    1. Actually, it was the contrast between the bus and the elephant that made me choose this particular subject. We seem to have a talent for encroaching on nature, don't we?

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  5. Beautiful Michele!

    Most teachers in Art School told me I was too literal! One of them helped me to develop kind of my own style. He advised me to draw and paint with my left hand while I’m righthanded. The result was akward but it helped me to see what happens when you can’t control all you are doing. I developed a love for taking a small part out of a picture, enlarge it and to forget about the details. It’s just like working with fabrics, you need contrast to make it interest to look at, light, middle and dark. Even black and white sketches can be very interesting to look at by changing the texture of your pencil strokes. Most important part: have fun!

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    1. I'm definitely going to have to try the right hand thing (I'm left-handed). That sounds like a fun and interesting exercise. Thanks Nicolette!

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  6. You kidding? That's awesome already!! I wish I could draw like that.. beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Rafael's Mum. You're very sweet. :)

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  7. I remember my studio art teachers felt that I was too controlling as well. One of the exercises they recommended was scribbling big circles all over paper first to loosen up. Then they recommended drawing more quickly and going over existing lines multiple times in sketch like form till I liked it. I adore that second approach and its what I do now most often when I sketch. I end up with something much looser and I like it.
    I think that just as you said with creativity...it comes from doing right? Drawing style comes from doing as well. You certainly have the talent!

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    1. I definitely have a slow and deliberate way of drawing, so your recommendations to "draw more quickly and go over existing lines" may be right on the money. I'm going to give that a shot. Yay! I'm learning so much from these comments, it's brilliant! :)

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  8. I like your drawing !!! Does it mean that I have no style? Or no taste? I still love it!! and sure, you can still improve (but, who am I to say it? ;-)) ) and,as a conseguence, even I (in judging you!)!!!
    xxxx Alessandra

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  9. Sometimes when I have a drawing (or watercolor) that gets too literal I do a 2nd or 3rd version. With each new attempt I tend to loosen up a bit.

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    1. That's a good idea Christie, thanks so much!

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  10. Your art is only going to be as good as your materials... use grown up color. Use paint. (Oil or acrylic) You will have less control over the paint at the end of a brush than the color at the end of the pencil... so it will help you to get free, and produce less of the tiny details. (A photograph can be art, but you are not making a photograph.)
    Your drawing is super, you have talent, that's for sure.
    Hugs!

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    1. That's definitely something to consider Terri. I will certainly think about paint once I wrap my head around what to do with a pencil. :)

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  11. Lots of fabulous insight here! I think your drawing, and colouring are amazing!

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  12. That drawing is so beautiful! And it's wonderful to see your thought process as you work-- such a lovely post.

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  13. Your elephant is wonderful! You did a lovely job!

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  14. Bravo, Michele. I love seeing you continue to practice and humbly receiving input from readers. Way to be a learner!

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    1. thanks Charissa! I'm enjoying reading these great comments too. It's a pretty cool way to learn!

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  15. Such interesting feedback and advice here - I think your drawing is beautiful. Keep experimenting - you'll find your voice and style.

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    1. I agree Felicity. I think it will take time and experimentation. Which is good!

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  16. I, too, am loving this whole discussion & feedback thing going on. :D Learning a lot from the comments, too. Well done Michelle!

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  17. Oops *Michele (please excuse my spelling ^^).

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    1. No problem Aneesah! I'm learning so much too. Some people are rich with information and ideas. It's so fun!

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  18. Beautiful drawing.

    Something to think about, do you even need a drawing style? When I see your recycled artwork, I think that's your style. The amazing collage image you made of your son is your style. I think part of our style goes hand in hand with the medium we like to use.

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    1. Wow there's a question. I could do a whole blog post on what you've brought up in this comment... In fact that's not a bad idea at all... :)

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  19. Wow, I love this post! That picture... wow...Boy, you really can draw... and colour! I'm more than a little envious of those wonderful skills. All the rest, I think, will probably just come! Did you see the video by Ira Glass I posted in my last-but-one post? It's all about doing a "huge volume of work" and I found it really inspiring!

    I love the way you incorporated people's comments into the post, it's so interesting and people came up with such great comments!

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  20. i love your drawing!
    {and that you liked my previous advice}
    i totally adree with zakka life's comment.
    a torn-paper elephant made of junk mail, maybe?

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  21. While I don't draw, there are times when I feel my creative work [whatever it is at the moment] is too controlled. Just now reading your post it echoes my own thoughts about my creative endeavors.
    Sets me thinking.
    Thanks, Michele, for posting today.
    hugs

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  22. Wow- Michele! You have a great talent for drawing! I think developing one's own style is one of the most difficult things in life to do. It's just easy to do it like somebody else! I am still on that journey, but I have found two things that work for me 1- keep looking, looking, looking at art (or whatever interests you) and really find out what styles you like. then 2- copy them. Literally try to change what you are doing and emulate a different style- do this enough times, and what comes out is truly, uniquely you! (Kind of like reading...read, read, read enough and then the ideas that you speak are uniquely yours, because no one else will have fed themselves the exact same diet of ideas). Hope that makes some sense! Really, though- you are off to a great start! That elephant is gorgeous (and the part about getting carried away with the color- that's it too- just get lost in it!)

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