In my previous post A change of pace or taking a step back, I stated that one of the things I hoped to gain from taking a step back from Drawabox was more time to sketch. Well, that hasn’t really happened. I spend some time looking through the art books I have, and this threw off my plans.
I have had the boo The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides for some time, but I’ve never really opened it, until last week. Mr. Nicolaides was a teacher at the Art Students League and the book is basically what he taught his first-year students. It is intended for any artist whether a beginner or someone that has been drawing for years. I am currently obsessed with any class, book, article, YouTube video, etc. aimed at the beginner, so I started reading it.
The primes of the book is that you read a section and then do 3 hours of practice on the material you just read. You are told not to read or work ahead and to do the exercises in the order prescribed. Each section requires 15 hours of drawing, but that permits you to finish the entire book and all the exercises in a year…IF YOU DRAW 3 HOURS A DAY! That is just not going to happen.
I have het to find anyone that has completed the entire “course”, but I’m still looking. Most of the posts I’ve found on the subject get into section 3 to 5 and then there are no further post about it, that doesn’t mean they didn’t complete the course, they just stopped posting about it. I find that interesting. Did they actually stop the lessons, did they not have time to write about it, do they just lose interest?
I really like the material in this book and find it interesting, it is more than just drawing lines and boxes, so it piqued my interest. Right now, I’m still working on my CGMA Absolute Beginner class and Drawabox, so I’m already spending an hour to two hours drawing, I also have a full-time job, so I can’t add another 3 hours of drawing to my day, but I can add a half hour, which works well as the exercises are divided into half-hour blocks. So my plan is to do one block a day. It will take me much longer than a year, but I’m not in a rush!
Everyone says the first exercise is what we now refer to as a “blind contour”, for the most part it is, but Nicolaides writes:
Often you will find that the contour you are drawing will leave the edge of the figure and turn inside, coming eventually to an apparent end. When this happens, glance down at the paper in order to locate the new starting point. This new starting point should pick up at that point on the edge where the contour turned inward. Thus, you will glance down at the paper several times during the course of one study, but do not draw while you are looking a the paper.
So, my understanding of what this is telling me is that when I am drawing a contour I should not be looking at the paper, but when the contour changes direction I am to look down to find my new direction, then look back at the object. In other words, when I am moving my pencil, I am not looking at what I am drawing, but I can look down to find where the next line/contour begins.
So I will start with my three hours of contour line drawings! I’ll let you know how it goes, and how it works out with the other classes I’m taking!