Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It has been a long time since I have been on here:)
In an effort to help students understand the process of drawing, I have created a series of images that depict the different steps that I go through in the development of a drawing. In this instance, I have created a portrait in graphite. This is by no means a finished drawing nor is it meant to be held up as an exemplar of a perfect portrait. This is simply meant to be an example of the linear progression of my process in chasing the truth in my subject:)

Step 1 Gesture
Quickly executed gesture. Long angular lines. No thought to the subtle nuances of the 
silhouette. Just trying to capture the basic shape and the general placement of the features.
Treating the shadows as simple shapes.

Step 2 Gesture Refinement

Slight adjustments are made to the contour and the placement of the features. The long angular lines are broken into shorter and more specific angles, but are still kept simple and angular. Some suggestion of line weight (ie soft lines for form shadows, hard lines for cast shadows) is used in describing form.

Step 3 Erase out and describe drawing as a quality of light.

The original drawing is lightly erased out leaving just the "ghost" of the original marks. A "shadow map" of the subject is created. My goal is is to treat everything as a quality of light. All I am doing here is describing shadow shapes. Still no value. Slight adjustments to the contour with continued refinement of line quality in the attempt to describe form.

Step 4 Flat Value

A flat, uniform light value is applied to all shadow areas. The quality of line in regard to the shadow shapes is maintained. Form shadow lines still soft and cast shadow lines crisp. The directionality of my mark making in the area of value is consistent. No scribbling or hatching.

Step 5 Refinement of Value

The development of the value progresses in a series of light hatchings. The pencil should just "glaze" the paper. Building of value is slow and incremental. Constantly comparing value to value. I am asking myself where are my darkest darks and where are my lightest lights. Continued small refinement to the actual shapes of the shadows as the value is explored.

Step 6 Continued Refinement of Value.

Here the geometric feel of the shadow shapes begin to feel a little more organic. Again, the building of value is slow and always comparative.

Step 7 Widening Range of Value.

The range of value is more widely expressed. The halftones begin to be established as the transition between highlights and shadow. Form begins to be described more accurately.

Step 8 Continued Expression of Depth of Value

Here the halftones are more fully developed to firmly describe directionality of light and form. Though the range of value  is widened the range is only 5 steps. There is no white and there is no black. At this point, my goal is to start having a "sculptural" feeling to the drawing and hopefully the illusion of three-dimensionality begins to be expressed.