Lesson 4 Suggested Homework
As in previous homework, if you have not attempted the earlier stages, try them now - this set of homework builds on previous exercises.
Remember also that just because another person's diagram looks obvious and simple, doesn't mean it is simple to draw yourself - drawing, like music and sport, is a physical skill that you need to experience with your body, your hand. Somehow it becomes possible to process through physical action, and to develop a feeling for these ideas.
1. Combine geometric forms into one scene from imagination - Rectangular Prisms, Spheres, Cylinders. You can also try more complex variations on these: Cones, truncated cones (ie tip cut off), frusta (truncated pyramids, squashed cylinders, squashed tapering cylinders, elongated spheres, eggs, flattened eggs. Or any of the previous forms with a corner or end sliced off, or intersecting with another form. With each type, try to draw each intentionally - which is to say don't try for one form and accept another form that came about accidentally - try to find out why the form came out differently than you planned.
2. Organic forms - try to create volumes built out of the basic forms. Clouds, drapery, a belt could all for the inspiration for interesting organic forms. You can also look for formal simplifications of figures, as in the other diagrams at right.
There are no rules about this except to attempt to occupy depth on the page - to create three dimensionality in the forms and the space around them by using what you know about the basic geometric forms.
I also suggest being mindful of making your subject, whether observed or imaginary, not so difficult that you become overwhelmed - try to work into greater difficulty, and if you become overwhelmed go back to doing something that you feel better able to handle.
At the same time, it is a good idea to always look for subjects that are genuinely interesting to you, that challenge you enough to be fascinating.
Therefore there is a balance to be struck.
Playing with modifying, simplifying or entirely making up forms without reference, can be really fun - alien, evocative and expressive forms are possible.
Softened Frusta, building from torso out, with the legs next since these are the areas that we have focussed on and also because this is an excellent strategy for creating dynamic, three dimensional figures that stand up. You can follow this 3D block in with checking 2D accuracy of relationships by cross referencing with horizontal and vertical alignment, projecting edges and checking half way points. Remember to find centre lines, cross contours and angles across.
For longer studies, you will be able to mark the valley plane breaks between subforms, and develop the hierarchy of lines to describe the form in more detail, which leads us to the study of Anatomy as described below.
Anatomy studies of the leg and hip like the the linear diagrams at the bottom of the notes to Lesson 4 Ecorche
Reference for these studies can be from the life drawing resources section or other photo reference you might have, or from drawings or paintings by the masters, as in my sketches shown here. Working from life is also great, perhaps the best of all if you can organise it but don't underestimate the value of copying masterworks or taking your time to understand and make a 3D looking study of a photo reference.
Another great activity to attempt is to take a life drawing in which there was some aspect you were not quite sure about and make a study investigating the problem area. You can even colour the drawing to match the colours in your ecorche figure to connect the two in your mind more clearly.
Extension activity (see images below): use light from the eye rendering with three colour pencils (a light, mid tone and dark pencil as used in class) to give the forms even greater presence on the page, as in the drawings below - the hand is done from life while the the figures are from photo reference. In both cases the lighting was not the same as the rendering I used, which forces one to think in terms of how planes are facing the viewer and avoids the trap of passively copying tone.
Remember, try to leave your darkest lines on the horizons until the very end - feel out the forms as much as possible before making the final, definite statement of the horizons.