Lesson 5 - Adding Depth to Your Drawings

When you look at a landscape that you want to draw, make it easier on yourself and choose to draw only a small portion of the landscape.  It my case this morning, I used the doorway as a view finder to frame a small portion of the land behind my house. 

I arranged the pots to overlap. Overlapping shapes increases the illusion of depth in a drawing. If the objects you are drawing are too heavy to move, just draw them overlapping. 

You can also use the technique of atmospheric perspective to get depth in your drawing.  Atmospheric perspective is when you put more detail into the objects in the foreground of your drawing and less detail in the background.

I finished the drawing by adding shading in 3-4 tones and a few details.  I also did not draw everything that I actually saw. I simplified my drawing by adding shapes in just a few diminishing sizes (in this case trees) to increase the illusion of depth.  

Lesson 6 Seeing + Drawing Shapes Not Things

This week's lesson and drawing practice sessions (only 18 minutes at a time), will help you learn how to see shapes and not things.  Grab  a pencil, and eraser and your sketchbook and open it to a fresh page. Find something you want to draw and place it on a level space in front of you.

This ceramic planter looked like it would be fun to draw and just challenging enough but not too much to send me over the edge.  I also am quite fond of it because I received a flower arrangement in it when my daughter was born almost 22 years ago.

 To start your sketch:

 1. Determine a unit of measurement- I used the width of the front carriage hood from the end to the bow. 

Draw some lines to get your drawing's  proportions correct and compare the smaller shapes to the carriage cover width to get their correct size and add them to your sketch, draw basic shapes for the wheels and other shapes.

3. Now you get to talk to yourself in the language of shapes.  As you start to sketch the finer details of your object say things like this line is curved and and fatter at the top, this line is wavy, etc. don't name what you are drawing. Naming the object takes you away from the right/drawing size of your brain into the left/logical/ none drawing side of your brain.  Start by zeroing in and concentrating on seeing only shapes and draw the  biggest shape you see first. Try to look at the object you are drawing a lot and your drawing only briefly.

You can start with the outline of your object and then add the smaller shapes within the object. If you draw a line you do not like you don't like, just draw another line right next to it, don't bother erasing.

You can start with the outline of your object and then add the smaller shapes within the object. If you draw a line you do not like you don't like, just draw another line right next to it, don't bother erasing.

4. Keep drawing shapes and also add shading in dark, light and medium tones.  Sometimes when I add the shaded areas to my drawing it helps me to form the shapes better.  Keep going until you have drawn most of the shapes and tones you see. At this point your drawing will look like the object you are seeing. If not, just try again another time. You may not complete one "seeing shapes drawing in an 18 minute session, so just leave your object set up and return to it when you have more time or take a photo. 

When you get to the last step in your drawing, you can do a bit of erasing to clean up your drawing or leave it alone.  Also you can use your eraser to erase out highlights or whites.

Lesson 7 Finding Your Point of View

Another tool to put in your drawing tool box that will help you draw what you see, is one point perspective. Perspective seems scary and difficult but I think if I can  explain it slowly, step by step and you practice it you'll be able to use the concept to improve your drawings.

 So, here goes: 

Step 1. - Find your point of view.  Your point of view is your eye level. If you take your pencil and hold it horizontal to the middle of your eyes, then straighten your arm out and point, you will have found your eye level. 

Imagine you are looking at this scene, viewing the chair with the pool.  You are sitting in a chair opposite the red chair you see in this photo.

Your eye level is about 3/4 up the top pillow, where I have drawn the horizontal line.  In the case of my drawing above I straightened the chair out a bit so it was directly in front of me, because that is the easiest perspective to draw when you are learning.

Your eye level is about 3/4 up the top pillow, where I have drawn the horizontal line.  In the case of my drawing above I straightened the chair out a bit so it was directly in front of me, because that is the easiest perspective to draw when you are learning.

Step 2. Draw two lines from the  follow the top corners of the bottom pillow to the point on your eye level line where your lines meet.  The point on the eye level is called the vanishing point. ****Your eye level is the line at your level of vision, and often but not always is the horizon line also.  However, sometimes the horizon maybe higher or lower then your eye level depending on your standpoint. 

Step 3. Look at the bottom of the chair, can you see how the bars that the chair rests on are also going back to the same vanishing point?  Draw those lines meeting at the same point on the eye level line. 

Step 4. Now erase the lines going to the vanishing point that are not part of the chair.  It should look like the top pillow and bottom bars are squeezing together at the back of the chair. You can see in the finished drawing, which I added a bit of watercolor to, that the lines moving back to the eye level line beyond the chair have been erased.

You don't really have any lines going back to the eye level line at the top of the chair, so don't worry about finding it's vanishing point. Also remember if your chair looks like it has depth and realism, even if it isn't in perfect perspective, that's okay. Because unless you are drawing a blue print of something you need to exactly replicate, then if it looks ok, then don't mess with it.



.