Most of us doodle. We draw when we attempt explanations and words elude
us. We sketch things to jog our memories later. Some of us draw for the
pleasure of expression.. For those who draw seriously, contour, gesture
drawing, and basic forms are three techniques for developing basic drawing
Drawing is comprised of five component skills involving the perception of
edges, space, relationships, light and shadow, and the perception of the
whole, or gestalt. Everyone draws, and how well one draws is a measure of
how well-developed ones basic skills of perception are.
Drawing well requires all five basic skills with additional refinements. You
develop imagination, creativity, sensitivity, and expression through
techniques and your familiarity with media. The only way to progress in
drawing is with constant practice.
With practice, you can easily imitate perceived edges, space, and
relationships on paper. Duplicating light and shadow requires careful
observation and critical analysis of the direction, intensity, and color of light
and shadows cast by light. Observation also requires intimate knowledge of
the surface characteristics of the object on which the light and shadows fall.
Gestalt results from the development of the other four perceptual skills.
Most renown artists began by studying traditional art. After a foundation in
traditional drawing techniques, experimentation and style freely develop.
Picasso and Salvatore Dali are prime examples of artists with concentrated
traditionalist backgrounds resulting in creative interpretations.
A study of
Picassos preliminary sketches reveals his continued dependence on contour
and gesture fundamentals.
Time your drawings for each technique described in this chapter. Every
three minutes, change your object or your viewpoint. Vary the timed
intervals by reducing times to 1 or 2 minutes. These timed exercises develop
perceptual and observation skills by coordinating your eyes and hands.