The final exam in observational drawing is drawing:-) In this case students illustrate the 5 perceptual skills needed to draw any perceived object, person or place from Betty Edwards book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
--The perception of edges using pure or blind contour drawing.
--The perception of spaces using negative space.
--The perception of angles and relationships using the skill of sighting.
--The perception of lights and shadows using the skill of light logic.
--The perception of the Gestalt or whole which comes from the previous four perceptual skills.
Focusing on these 5 skills over the period of the semester helps students build their skills one on top of another. The 5 skills also make a great pattern for guiding critique and student discussion. As I've taught from this book for a number of semesters I've learned that the students' confidence grew most in the light logic study. Based on suggestions from students I moved our study of light logic (Chapter 10 in the book) to week 3 in the semester. I used to teach the book in order of chapters, but now Light Logic session in week 3, also known as Lemon Night, is the point where students just get it about drawing. I bring in a spot light and turn off all the overhead lights and they just look at the single source light falling across the lemon in front of them and with a bit of individual help they actually see and draw the tonal differences of the highlight, midtones, crest shadow, reflected light and cast shadow. Students are then able to apply light logic to subsequent situations and topics, especially edges. Students come into class thinking lines are edges. They learn for the most realism an edge is most effectively depicted by a change in value or color. The above drawing of the pear and orange does not depend on gestural pencil lines to define the edges, instead the edges of the forms are where the color and value meet the gray paper background. In this class the students set themselves a challenge to draw forms using no lines at all.
Concepts from the final exam.
Upper left illustrates cut-off skull proportion from chapter 9.
Upper right illustrates sighting and relationship in size as well as direction and shape
Lower left illustrates relationship of negative and positive spaces as well as light logic
Lower right illustrates most of the questions on the final exam.