honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

Correspondence Drawing Class 1

A mail art friend wrote that he wanted to learn to draw over the summer but that he didn't accomplish his goal, so I wrote the following drawing lesson in a letter to him. Maybe someone else will like to see my method?

Correspondence Drawing Class 1

How do you define drawing? I think of drawing like a fluxus script. If you let your eyes do all the thinking and expect realism then you may just have to do some serious pencil sharpening and eyeballing. If realism is your goal, read Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain, do the exercises in the book, and you will learn a lot. If realism is not your goal but you wish to be more expressive and personal in your drawings, I recommend that you create your definition of drawing based on your favorite drawings by other artists. In other words, instead of having a vague ideal what it is to draw find your own personal masters to learn from. Use you brain to focus your drawing practice and get into a rhythm of making marks on paper, cardboard, napkins, in response to your favorite drawings. . . you will do this one-drawing at a time.

fluxus script: Draw a Van Gogh portrait using a hand made reed pen. Fashion the pen from a reed that you find.

After you define your concept of a drawing, then you can figure out the steps toward it. Do you want to draw from live models? Figurative? Abstract? Passionately? Accurately? Boldly? Delicately? Use examples from master artists to fine tune your personal definition of where you want your drawing to go. Collect copies of drawings that speak to you.

Take a print of your favorite all time drawing, carry the print with you for three days, look at it often, introduce it to your friends and tell them why it's a great drawing, then copy it. Next do the same with your second favorite drawing and copy that one. Try to reverse engineer what your master(s) did. In other words, you will be learning from your personal master(s). Copying exactly what they did is the best way to understand what their hands and materials were doing at the time of the drawing. During the time you carry around the drawing do a little research into the artist who drew it. Based on your research what do you think the artist was reacting to? What in your master artist's experience did the drawing come from? After you do 50 of these with the accompanying research you will be able to look at your own life and see what you value to draw and how to draw it in terms of what your masters' reactions to conditions in their lives.

As you are drawing master drawings you might feel inspired to do a personal drawing of something in your immediate environment. If you want to capture something around you I suggest cutting out a little frame 1 x 1 1/2 inches or so and use it as a viewer to simplify your composing eye. If you want to draw people start drawing them blind. In other words, don’t look at the paper as you draw your models. The drawings will look really weird but this technique is called blind contour. Generations of artists have drawn blind contours as part of art courses. Other drawers will recognize blind contours but non-drawing artists and non-artists won’t. I saw a lady selling them at a street fair – coloring around them afterward and calling them aura drawings.

That’s your correspondence drawing lesson for today.

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