Barbara Campbell Thomas teaches at UNCG and has been there since 2003. She is an excellent example of someone who sees when not seeing. Her personality and work has influenced me greatly and I highly recommend looking at her work and blog as well.
Excerpt from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
1. Drawing and the Art of Bicycle Riding
Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see – to see correctly – and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye. – Kimon Nocolaides
The painter draws with his eyes, not with his hands. Whatever he sees, if he sees it clear, he can put down. The putting of it down requires, perhaps, much care and labor, but no more muscular agility than it takes for him to write his name. – Maurice Grosser
Don’t pay any attention to the critics. Don’t even ignore them. – Nicolas Negroponte
You already know how to draw, but old habits of seeing interfere with that ability and block it.
Broadly speaking, except for the degree of complexity, all drawing is the same….You see what’s out there(imaginary subjects are seen in the mind’s eye) and you draw what you see.
The right hemisphere of the human brain is specialized for recognition of faces.
It’s sometimes necessary to remind ourselves that Shakespeare at some point learned to write a line of prose, Beethoven learned the musical scales, and …Vincent Van Gogh learned how to draw.
The Frame, Positive Space, and Negative Space: How they work together
What is negative space? When composing a piece of artwork, we generally work with three elements: the frame, the positive space, and the negative space (also called white space). The frame is the bounding size of the artwork, the positive space is the subject, and the negative space is the empty space around the subject.
Definition: A contour is the line which defines a form or edge - an outline. Contour drawing is the place where most beginners start, following the visible edges of a shape. The contour describes the outermost edges of a form, as well as dramatic changes of plane within the form.
‘Blind contour drawing’ is when contour drawing is done without looking at the paper.
Contours in map making track across a surface linking points of the same height, so are very different in appearance and purpose to the contours referred to in visual art. This type of cartographic contour has more in common with an artist’s ‘cross contours’, which are drawn to describe imaginary lines that cut across the form.
Also Known As: outline, pure contour,line, outlines
RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.
RULE TWO: General duties of a student - pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher - pull everything out of your students.
RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
RULE FIVE: be self-disciplined - this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)
HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything - it might come in handy later.
This blog is to keep us in touch while we are away from the studio. I hope you find it helpful to have a place you can go to when you need or want more. This past first class was a wonderful experience and thank you for being there. Hopefully, we will be able to continue to meet from here on out. If not, still free to come back to this site for help, inspiration, and as a resource.
Overview of Last Class:
- We discussed Contour Line Drawing and we started with Blind Contour Line Drawing.
- Basics: Blind Contour Drawing is when you do not look at the paper while trying to see and draft the outer line that is defined by the negative space that meets the outer edge of the object.
- Tips: Go slow! SLOW! Pay attention to every twist, shift, and direction of the line. Keep the pencil grounded on the paper so that you do slow down. Eventually, you can speed up once it becomes more second nature for you to consistently look at what you are drawing.
- Try looking at the paper after you spend some time doing the blind contour drawing. See if this helps warm you up for moving on to the next thing. If you get frustrated, go back to drawing blindly.
- Create a Vision Board that is a collage of the things that currently inspire you for wanting to learn how to draw and what gets you going visually! Quotes that inspire you, pictures of places you’ve been….etc etc! Go a big or small as you like because this will be something you will want to put somewhere you see daily.
- Start keeping your sketchbook. THIS IS IMPERATIVE. Build the CREATIVE habit now for writing, drawing, making notes, and pasting things you like. Your sketchbook is to be a “sketchbook”, not a “finished piece” book. 8.5 x 11” is good. Smaller is ok. Bigger not so much.
- Write 6 things you SEE daily. Not 6 extroidinary things, but just 6 things you noticed. This is a great exercise for seeing when you’re not seeing and writing when you’re not writing.
- You will need a 18x24” drawing pad for next class. Bring drawing pencils, sharpener, and pink pearl eraser. Also, bring a black/blue/red ball point pens. Sketchbook a MUST!
Ok, i hope this helps and i hope you have a great week! Please feel free to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”—Kurt Vonnegut