Friday, February 25, 2011


According to the author, Bill Buchman, he says that "line is the most essential, the most powerful, the most abstract, and the most versatile means we have for conveying our responses and ideas.  Line can suggest or describe.  Lines can enable you to see inside and through things."

He talks about the personality of lines = your personality = the way you draw your lines/move your drawing instrument.  Energy = energetic lines; delicacy = delicate lines.

We begin with contour lines.  Contour lines record the edges of a thing while still conveying three dimensional qualities.  How?  By conveying edge contours or surface contours.  So...the first exercise is learning how to determine significant space.

First, take a photograph. 
Then draw the lines along the photo (inside and outside lines). 
Then remove the photo part and just show the lines (this was easy because the lines I drew over the photo showed through on the back as just the lines).

Then, using that line drawing as your guide, draw again the lines of the body you see.  (Since I was using the line drawing made on the back of the photo, the line drawing I make will be the reverse of the photo.)

Another way to work with lines is to do the Straight-Line Edge Contour Exercise.  In this one, we express the contours of the body ONLY using straight lines.  Don't use too many short lines but try to convey the curves in 2-3 lines.

I liked the way this one turned out, and it seemed easier to draw by doing it in short straight lines.  It slowed you down to see the contours of the body better (I think).

The next exercise was the Blind Contour Exercise.  Many of you have done this.  The task is to draw using a model or photo and NEVER look at the paper as you draw.  It creates some odd looking things but it also helps you draw and helps you see the shapes of the body.  (The goal is not to get a perfect drawing - if it's perfect, you cheated and looked at the paper!).

The poor guy at the bottom ended up with three legs - typical when doing this type of thing as you can get lost in the drawing and not know where you are.  So I wet him to test out the new drawing marker I just got - and began again with the right-side up guy.  Not back at all but I did choose a pretty straight-forward pose to work on.

Returning to the large chunky charcoal sticks, I then did the Thick, Continuous Line Exercise.  Moving the stick around from thicker to thinner to make different lines.  Not great so I went back in with a conte crayon and tried it with a smaller stick = worked better for me. 

This guy had a bit of flesh on him and was posing like an archer with arm out and arm brought back towards his face.  I like the energy of this one.

And the last one of the day = another
Blind Contour Drawing.

I got out another of my new water soluble markers (just got them from Daniel Smith) so I included the markers in the shot so you can see what they are called.  I also did a smudge of color and bled it out to show their ability to blend with water.  The colors are really bright but few of them (just red, green, blue, orange and violet).

I see a lot of really crazy blind contour drawings and have done a lot of crazy ones, too, but maybe I just did this one slowly enough to feel my way around the body - like sculpting - to get it looking not too bad at all.

Only one more line drawing exercise to do before we move on in the book to Structure.


Christiane Kingsley said...

Wow, Rhonda! This is fascinating. Once again I am so impressed by your diligence with this type of exercise. I am always too lazy to practice.

hw (hallie) farber said...

Wow--you are good with those blind contour drawings.

jgr said...

Rhonda, these are wonderful!! I especially like the water soluble girl in red and the straight line edge countour. Also thank you for the info about the markers, I always like to hear what my artist friends are using, etc. Have a good weekend, I hope it's warm there.

RH Carpenter said...

Christiane, I'm trying to be diligent with this since I can't seem to be with other things! ha ha

I don't know why I was able to do those without getting really off, Hallie - might have been just dumb luck. I did move slowly.

Jane, thanks! I think those markers are going to show up more in the future - esp. with these exercises. Warm? No, and snow flurries today but not bitter cold, so no complaints today.

Carol Blackburn said...

Great exercises, Rhonda and, it looks like you are having fun with this too.

Celeste Bergin said...

great contour drawings...I like that you are doing all this drawing. Drawing is the foundation to all visual art! Great job!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Carol. It has been fun so far :)

Thanks, Celeste. I agree but sometimes get lazy about drawing.

Caroline said...

You are working so hard Rhonda, thank you for sharing your drawings with us. Keep going girl you are doing so well.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Caroline, plenty more to come from the exercises in the book :) I'm hoping it makes a difference when I get back to portraits and figure painting.

Ann Buckner said...

These are wonderful Rhonda. Each one has its own interesting line(s).

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Ann :)

Irina said...

You did great, hard and interesting work here, so interesting!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Irina :) The only hard part is making yourself do the exercises or the drawing when you may not feel like doing it = like taking classes and being tired and not wanting to go that day :)

Bill Buchman said...

Bravo. Great work! I am so impressed with the dedication and courage you have been pouring into the exercises in my book. Dig deeper, work more from life, work freer, and push your limits to find out more of what you are capable of. Cheers!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks so much, Bill! It's a great book and I recommend it to everyone - it helps to peak others' interest when you do some of the exercises and show them what they are missing!