- Lesson Details
In week one, instructor George Pratt will lecture on the importance of silhouette and visual landmarks in art-making. You will learn to focus on the design and the arrangements of information while composing any artwork. George will teach you the idea of shape welding. Then, you will be introduced to the materials needed for pastel drawing.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
Transcription not available.
the importance of silhouette.
It is one of the most vital tools in your tool belt, and it's all about
making your objects be self descriptive without you having to work so hard
to describe things for your viewers.
Let's check it out.
The importance of silhouette can not be overstated.
It's vital to our understanding of shape and readability, clarity with our images.
And I wish that someone had actually explained this to me when I was in
school, because it would have shaved tons of time off of my learning curve.
I did figure it out.
I was a line guy.
And when I finally sort of understood what I was doing, I, even though
I was using a line, I was thinking in terms of silhouette, like
almost like cookie cutters and
had someone even just use the simple word silhouette in my education, it would
have like, changed everything for me.
So let's, let's dig in.
Can you tell me what this is?
I get a lot of different answers.
It's, it's an interesting shape.
We're not sure exactly what it is.
It could be like a, well, I don't know.
I mean, it could be anything really.
We don't have enough information, right?
So the silhouette, so this silhouette is not self-explanatory.
Let's look at a different view of the same object.
So let's look at a different view of the same object and see if we get
better clues from the silhouette.
How does that help?
So it could be an upside down lampshade, could be a big bowl.
It could be well again, we still don't have all the information that
would make it really clear to us.
So let's look at yet another angle.
Now it becomes clear.
So it's a coffee mug.
Having the, you know, the silhouette should be self-explanatory.
That doesn't mean that every silhouette should be a profile,
even though that's a lot of the examples that I'll show you, but what
you want is the, the object to be self descriptive and so that your reader,
the viewer, doesn't have to work real hard to figure out what it is you're
trying to tell them or show them.
So there's our mug.
Here's another, so here we have another, another silhouette.
And again, this could be a lot of different objects.
It could be a vase lying on its side.
It could be, I get lemon or lime a lot.
Again, we just don't have enough information.
So let's, let's look at another angle.
Well, it could be a rubber stamp.
It could be again, you know, you just don't know.
That's - so that's sort of key there.
It's like, you know, and if you find yourself working on a piece and you're
having to like add tons of detail, and, you know, like really render everything
so that we can actually understand and see it, maybe you're working too hard.
Maybe, maybe that's not the best angle to show the figure or the object or whatever,
because it's not, self-explanatory.
Let's look at a different angle of this.
It's a rubber duck.
So one of my heroes, Mark English, constantly says don't
draw a duck from above because it doesn't look like a duck anymore.
Choose, choose your angle with care, you know, because it is vital to our
understanding as, as viewers, our understanding of what it is you're trying
to say, what you're trying to show us.
So here's another image.
This one I pulled a photo and I asked, you know, can you tell me what this, this is?
And I do get a lot of correct answers, but they're guess is, right?
So it's, it's a pig.
And let me go back one, let's see if it lets me.
So it is like it's, it's, we're able to figure it out based on, you know, whatever
it is we've got in our head, you know, it could be also, you know, a lot of other
things, I kind of almost see a profile of a person looking down and stuff like that.
So is this better?
And yes, this is a profile, so yes, it's a profile of a, of a, of a
pig, but it's so instantly readable.
Jaime Wyatt thought so.
Here is a shot, I've broken it down into simple elements.
I've turned it into a silhouette of an Andrew Wyeth painting.
And what's interesting about this is there's no information here, right?
It's a silhouette, it's just a solid black shape.
And yet we get enough information to understand the posture of the body.
It's, it's a figure laying down, it's facing away from us.
And how do we know that?
By, because of this foot, it's not facing us.
It's turned away from us.
There's this beautiful little connection here.
Here's the head and the hand coming out.
She's, she's laying down.
So now let's add two other values here.
And very simple, right?
We could've just put just done bands, but those two silhouettes two value bands tell
us more about where this is taking place.
Now we see this sort of rhythmic line of the white shape, which is behind the black
shape and also sort of in front of it.
So this, just this shape alone is giving us lots of information
about depth but these help.
We still aren't sure exactly what these are.
It could be, well, she, maybe she's laying on a beach and that's
the ocean in the sky, you know, the horizon line and all that.
So we're still not a hundred percent sure what's going on, but
these things read very effectively.
Let's add a second value to each of these things.
So we have two values.
We have a light and a shadow and how simple that becomes.
Now we have lots more information about the volume of the figure
and what's happening here.
And even here, right?
So this is a pillow.
She's on white sheets, pillow, and a sheet, you know, the bottom sheet.
And then we have a wall and what I'm assuming maybe is the ceiling.
It's a very, it's a very low room but you know, this, this breaking point here tells
me that there's something else going on.
It's not just a wall that goes all the way up.
So here's the full painting which you'll see is yes, he's going in and
he's got all this beautiful texture.
He's got, you know, these warm and cools we're now, you know, now we're
getting into color, which is, you know, warm and cools, negative, positive.
We've got colorful grays happening.
So we have these neutrals that are helping to turn form with, you
know, the warms are coming forward.
The cools are receding and it's giving us all the extra information
we weren't getting before.
But go back to that breakdown.
It's that simple.
The image is this simple.
This is the, these are the real building blocks of picture making.
We get so caught up in what things are and how we're going to like detail
it or not detail, whatever, but this is the real building blocks, this
stuff, you know, that's the big stuff that you really should be seeing.
And considering when you're putting together your, your pictures, because then
you don't have to work so hard, right?
You can actually focus on the texture of the beauty of all this stuff,
without having to all of a sudden solve a ton of different problems
that you shouldn't have to be solving.
So here's another silhouette.
Stuff I pulled off the web, right?
So we've got this guy sitting here.
Whoa, hey, we've got this guy sitting here and there - what can
you tell me about this person?
What do we know just from this limited amount of information
that we're looking at?
How old is he?
Probably, you know, I'm thinking like in his thirties, maybe.
Where is he?
Well, look at that chair.
That's like a, that's an office chair.
So he's probably at his office.
Could be at home, but I don't know, you know, that many people that lounge
around at home and, you know, in business chairs and, and suits and ties with like,
you know, business shoes and all this.
What do I, what else do we know about this guy?
Well, he looks really successful, right?
And he's definitely a businessman, the suit, tie, the loafers and
he feels there's confidence sort of radiating from this guy.
That's an, that's a lot of information from almost no information.
It's giving us lots of important clues without having to like beat
us over the head, you know, or, or - through detail, try and convince
us of what it is we're seeing.
You just read it.
There's another one.
Soldier, family, people walking dogs.
This one is interesting.
It's - if you take the harness off, this is a hard read, but
you put that harness on it.
He's got a cane.
It's like, oh yeah, got it.
That's enough information.
They've given me the clues.
I totally need to understand this image.
And a visually impaired person with a cane and a seeing eye dog, service dog.
And again, these were all, you know, profiles, which they don't have to be.
But it it's just a sort of underlying the, the power of silhouette, like, you
know, dear, duck, rabbit, fox, you know, go through the list here, cow, turkey.
I mean, these things are just instantly recognizable.
That is a lot of power.
That's a lot of, of - that's an incredible tool for you to use in
your tool belt to make your pictures.
And it's one of the most effective ones that you'll ever have.
What's actually going through my head.
What I'm looking for that helps me keep proportion or even distort
proportion through the use of landmarks.
And these are decisions that I'm making like instantaneously,
like just like microseconds.
I'm just looking at the way things are lining up to other things.
And that helps me sort of understand where I'm placing
my marks with, with confidence.
And it may seem complicated, but it's not, it's just actually something that
arose from doing tons of gesture, drawing tons of life drawing, drawing on the
subways, drawing, you know, drawing.
And it was through this sort of comparison that I was able to sort of arrive at this,
at this method of drawing for myself.
What I see with students is they're not comparing, they're not actually really
looking and part of, you know, studying art, studying drawing and painting and,
and all the aspects that go with that is what you're, you know, what I really
teach and I keep sort of underscoring this with a lot of my students
it's not about just training you to draw the figure correctly
and this and that and whatever.
It's about training you to, to see in a different way.
To like start looking at the world in a whole different perspective.
It's training you how to actually see.
And so we'll go through this and while it may seem kind of crazy, like, oh my God
he's like, I can't believe.
And, you know, and understand I'm not holding things up.
I'm not doing site size or like, you know, well, you know, is that
higher or lower than the - it's just I'm looking and I can see, you know,
these things that I'm talking about.
And as I said, they're instantaneous.
And not, and you know, I'm not running through every one of them every
time it changes with every pose.
These, these landmarks, but it's a, it's a system that I use, visual system.
And then I, I hate the word system because it's not something that's
quantifiable in a way like where I'm like two plus two is going to equal four.
That to me just doesn't really happen in our, you know, it's the, the beauty
of art is that, you know, two plus four could equal a thousand if we want it to.
So anyway, so let's check out this little presentation I put together
and let me discuss how I see life and, you know, drawing from the model.
So here's the presentation on landmarks.
And the first thing is we have my model here and, you know, there's shapes.
I'm going to also, I'm also going to talk about shapes at near the end of this, but
because they are part of landmarks, but so here I have my model and if I look, look
how high the shoulders are to his nose.
They're actually higher than the nose, they're coming way high.
And a thing that students do constantly is they will fix that
without even thinking about it.
They will raise that head and they'll straighten that figure
up because they're not actually looking at what's happening there.
Now look how high that ear is.
That tells me a lot of information about the angle of that head, when
that head turns, these things change.
And again, students fix that.
They're not - it's and it's not like, you know, I mean, they, they're just
not aware that they're doing it.
It's because they're not really paying attention and looking at
what's going on with the figure.
So that ear is - look how high it is to the forehead.
Now the bottom of the ear's roughly in line with a brow.
In this particular pose, this is everything that
you're seeing is this pose.
It changes with every pose, right?
The shoulders are in line with his chin.
Again, students would fix that.
They've raised this head, they put it on a neck, you know, and it's like, they
changed the entire posture of this figure.
So the gesture gets wigged out because they're not really looking at one how
these things are sort of lining up, where that head really sits on those shoulders,
but also the shapes that this is creating.
Abstract, positive, negative shapes, which we'll get into near the end.
The side of his head lines up with the inside of his arm.
And again, you know, it looks like, wow, he's like, he must be pulling out this
ruler and checking all of this stuff.
It's - I'm really not.
It's just, I can see that it's like, bam, there it is.
It's, it's obvious to me.
And it's like, but it's the stuff I look for that helps me just sort of like put it
together, you know, again, micro seconds.
The back of the head lines up with a bicep, connects to the forearm.
The shoulder lines up with the outside of his thigh over here.
Where, where his, where his knee connects.
This his right side lines up with the outside of his thigh over here.
The inner shadow which now, I'm just helping me actually work the form, right,
lines up with the knuckle of his thumb.
And that can change.
It's not that big of a deal.
You know, but it's just something I see.
His eye lines up, the crook of his wrist almost here.
The shadows are, they began to cross here at this angle.
That shadow comes down through here.
His arms follow along this line of his, of his his belly.
This is the actual curve of the head, right?
Students fix that.
They change that constantly.
They'll tip the head up.
They'll turn it.
They hate three quarters.
They love profile.
They love head-on.
And they'll fix that, even though they're looking at something like this.
It's, it's amazing.
The actual curve of the shoulders.
This is an interesting sort of S curve, the way this pulls through here, along
his, his, his, his thigh and his knee.
So here I'm throwing in positive negative shapes, and it's, I've included the
background back here so it doesn't make a ton of sense, but it does outline.
Show me how this is holding up with positive, negative.
I can push it.
That's just the foreground element.
If I put it all to kind of, let's see.
So this is his figure silhouetted.
So it doesn't have all the information we need.
But it allows me to see the cookie cutter shape of him.
And if I get a, if I get an interesting shape and if I get the
shape right, if I, if that's the intention, I can drop the elements
in here and it should pull together.
Now I've added just the value of the shape of the, the, his robe.
And man, it gives us a ton of information about how his
hands are working and his arms.
Now I add these little background elements in, in playing with value.
Now we're starting to get depth out of this figure, out of something
so simple thinking in terms of like the Andrew Wyeth image that
we saw, the the woman laying down.
We can play with the values of these things and they'll still hold up.
And this is just the shadow shapes, playing with the shadow shapes and
how these things become a group.
This is all one group.
And it locks together and gives us a ton of information
and holds him together for us.
And then we have the, the shadow side over here.
We have the shadow kicking back off of the figure, but
something so simple locks it down.
And then we add those other elements that we've been playing
with and it just pulls together.
So it's, it's seeing these big shapes, seeing the silhouette.
It's the - what, what, what I call shape welding, grouping of
shadows, pulls, all of this together in a really simplistic way.
Yes, I can go in and, you know, we want to detail it, we want to like work that
volume and all this kind of stuff and put, put all that eye candy in there that makes
it so, you know, so rich, but the real bottom line, nuts and bolts is this stuff.
The simple, big stuff that everyone seems to struggle with.
Cause they're not paying attention to the big stuff.
They're not working the big things.
puzzle shapes that are happening with, with with a quick life drawing.
So this silhouette of the figure here, you know, it holds itself and then
we have, excuse me, then we have the smaller shapes that give us a little
more information that the ear in line, you know, how it lines up with
the eye, but just this, this here
turns that head gives.
It gives it volume.
The shadow kicking forward is a nice counterpoint to the shadow on the, you
know, to the shadow side of the face.
And in this, you can see a little bit of the, the core shadow.
I wasn't trying to do like this, like fully rendered finished drawing here.
This was, you know, probably five, ten minutes or something, you know?
So just major blocks of information, get it down quickly and then move
on, but get enough information to understand what it was I was seeing.
What I felt was important about that particular pose.
So something that I will demonstrate when I start drawing is a thing again, that
I think is really important, which does go back towards this idea of silhouette.
Is this is just drawing the light shapes.
So I'm grouping light shapes and the - what the background of these images, what
we, what is basically the darkest dark is just the paper and it's a toned paper.
Like what's behind me here and, but just drawing the light.
Forget about shadows, forget about, you know, this whole, you
know, bringing the light and the shadow together and working them
and this is, again, these are like, I think they're probably
15 minute drawings at best.
They may be shorter, but it's like, think about just the shapes.
It's just the shapes.
And so I'm obviously very aware of the shadows.
But I'm not going to actually draw them.
What's making shadow shapes is the positive, the light itself, the shapes of
light create the negative shapes of dark.
And then, you know, you can reverse that process, which I don't
think I have examples in here.
Maybe I do.
You can reverse that process too drawing just the shadow shapes,
illuminates the light shapes.
So, and what we're thinking about and what I'm trying to kind of get across to
you is that these are like puzzle pieces.
You know, these shapes are puzzle pieces and you want them to just,
they just want to interlock.
So, but it's all about design, right?
If I get in here and fracture all of this, if I break this stuff up and no
longer is readable for what it should be.
And I see that with students consistently they, they, and I'll, I'll have to
demonstrate how I see some students drawing and it's like, they they're using
like these short strokes and one, they're not really looking that hard at the model.
They, they look and then they just start drawing and it's like, no, you
should be looking more at the, at the figure and less at your drawing
and it's fine to go back and forth, but there's the information that's,
that's what you need to be referring to in order to make this work.
And, but they get in there and it's so, so what, what, you know, what
I have discussed is this idea of learning how to see in a new way.
And part of that is when they're doing this, these strokes, right, what's
happening immediately and they're, and they're also seeing like, oh, oh, nose.
Oh, you know, and it's like, the first thing that pops in her head
is like, I know what a nose is.
I'm going to draw a nose and it's like, yeah, but you're not drawing
that nose, that arm, that foot, that head, you know what I'm saying?
Cause they were all different and you know, there's all these formulas,
you know, and you go online, you can find all these formulas for how to
draw ahead, how to draw the foot, how to do this, how to do that.
And it's like, yeah.
There are formulas for that.
But you know what?
That's like, that's like, Joe foot.
It's a foot.
That's not my foot.
It's not your foot.
It's not the model's foot.
It's this icon, icon of a foot.
It doesn't really, other than a representation of a foot, that's
really not, you know what it's about?
It's about really seeing the differences of all the different kinds of feet there.
So, But they, once they, once they go to that place, I know what a nose
is, you know, what they've done is they're seeing things and the minute
you start seeing things, one you've attached a name to it nose, right?
So you have to forget the names of things.
Forget it because the name - you've turned it into an icon at that point,
and you're not looking anymore.
So you've got to forget the names, but the minute you start seeing just things what
you've done is you've already fractured your image before you even began.
You're not seeing the whole figure, the holistic sense of what
this is that you're looking at.
And that's why, you know, you'll have teachers have you draw things upside down.
I'll take this image and turn it upside down because now, you know, yeah,
you could still intellectually say, oh, I see a nose, but what happens
is you flip it upside down all of a sudden it's like you're seeing shapes.
You're seeing the bigger picture now, and that's why it's so much easier to copy
something if you flip it upside down, because you've disassociated what it is.
There's, they're fragmenting and fracturing the figure as they're drawing.
And so, so yeah, it never seems to add up, right?
Because they're not looking at the big stuff and if you get the big stuff, then
you can like, oh, it's like you, okay.
You want to be Mr.
hIgh, high detail, whatever fine, you know, but if you don't have that,
it doesn't matter how anal you get with the drawing and the needle,
you know, the little noodles and the, the little, the tear ducts,
and that's just not going to, it just doesn't come together.
It's not a holistic solid drawing and you'll find it's one of these things you,
you hear it a lot, you know, less is more.
It's such an easy thing to say, and it's, you know, and it's become, you know, it's,
it's this thing everybody says, but, you know, but, but the fact is it's true.
Given I tell my students, you know, given enough time, every
single one of them should be able to copy what's on the stand.
That should be the, like the most basic, you know, base
level skill they should have.
They should be able to copy that because that's just a matter of sitting
there with enough time and copying it.
I mean, you know that you should be able to do that.
Everyone should be able to do that because it's just transference
of information directly down.
I mean, yeah there's skill involved.
Don't get me wrong.
You know, there's motor skills that need to be finessed and worked at in
order to actually, you know, do it really well, but you should be able to
look at that and get it down, you know, but man, it's like mind blowing I see
students that are, they have trouble with just copying something
and getting a, even a halfway reasonable facsimile of something.
You know, when I was a kid, I didn't get instruction.
I didn't get instruction until I got to art school.
And even then it, it wasn't complete, you know, I had to, like, I had
to figure a lot of things out.
So I did what.
you know, without knowing, you know, through no, like, you
know, special genius on my part.
I was, love my comic book characters and artists, and I copied that
stuff endlessly, you know, which is what the old masters did.
When you became an apprentice, you copied and you copied, and
you copied, you learned how to see and how to transfer information.
And I see so many students come into my classes that haven't done
that type of thing, you know?
And so they're there and they haven't done, and it's really interesting and they
haven't even done a lot of life drawing.
They're doing a lot of stuff out of their heads, but they, but they're
not referring to any real information.
And so anyway, the big stuff is, is vital in these lessons about how to
actually see are really important.
So let me, let me keep going here with these, just drawing the light, which
is what I have behind me as well.
So these, these can go incredibly quickly.
And what I'm using on these are new pastels.
They're a square stick.
They're not conte.
That's a whole different animal, which is really gritty and stiff.
These are like butter.
Now you can get some that aren't like butter, which means they're really old
and they shouldn't be selling them to you.
So I always like pick up stick and I break it, I break it to see,
does it, does it break easily?
That's a good piece of new pastel.
They come wrapped.
I don't ha - oh yeah.
They come wrapped in this plastic wrapper, which is totally
designed for the retailers.
As if the retailers actually use these things, they don't, it was
just, here's the bar code, which doesn't even have to be that big.
And you know, my buddy, James Martin, and I keep talking about how we want,
we want to take a trip to Mexico where they manufacture these and find the
guy whose genius idea was to wrap these in plastic with glue so you have to
practically destroy the stick to get to the, for the people that use them.
You know, we want to go down there with a baseball bat and find this guy and,
like, explain to him not to do that.
But see how easily that breaks?
But the beauty of these is that they're squares, hard edge, and I can use it
like a chisel in here and you will become - the more you play with these,
the more comfortable you will become with the pressure, the sensitivity
you need and what I call - so there's, there's hard and soft, more pressure
that you're applying to stick.
And then there's also, but I'm not drawing on the flat, I'm
drawing on the tip of the diamond.
If you look, if you looked at it, head on like, okay, it's but if I
rotate it, it's a diamond, right?
I'm on the tip of the diamond it's on alongside, but it's the edge of where
the two sides, the two flats meet.
And then there's what I call, you know, the pitch and y'all part of it, which is
if I apply pressure to the top and move, I get in a hard edge, but the back is soft.
The way light rolls over forms.
These are incredibly effective at imitating light, at drawing
light because it works the way light does, this is hard and soft.
It can, they're, they're incredibly sensitive.
So we will get into that and I'll do a little demo of how to manipulate these.
So, but still these are done fairly quickly, right?
And I'm thinking about the pressure I'm applying on the left or the right?
The, the, the, the top or the, what I would consider, I guess, the
bottom, you know, top and bottom, and you're not holding it like a pencil.
You're holding it sorta like a knife in a way.
So you can see like how simple these - I'm shape welding light.
I'm putting all these light forms together.
And even though we have, wow, where's the edge.
Where'd that lead go?
Well, our minds are really adept at filling in the blanks as viewers.
Here's that calf coming out, the foot turning underneath here, I guess I
need to be pointing with this thing.
You know, where did this go?
Well, here's the calf.
Our mind immediately can, can put the, the, the missing information
in here or, you know, it, it, it, the other thing is it doesn't even
need to, like, we get it, right?
Again, you can see the silhouette here, you know, even though there's
not a ton of information, but there is a sense of volume given the, the
way I'm grouping light and shadow.
Well, the way I'm grouping light, shadow is a, is a an
aftereffect of the shapes of light.
The light designed the shadow shapes.
So again, same thing, right?
The light defines, the positive defines the negative.
You can see it over here really simply, you know, these large masses
and then a brighter mass under here, but still just drawing light.
We get, we, we get the knee.
There's that pop on the knee.
Here's the hand.
And you notice I'm not getting really anal and crazy about it.
Oh my God.
I got to draw your finger.
No, what I'm doing is seeing the big shapes, right?
And the more you begin to study shape, shape, shape, hands, feet, everything
becomes so much simpler for you in order to describe and draw all of
these different parts of the human body, because you're not looking at
fingers and toes and noses, you know, you're looking at shapes and the
shapes are very obvious and simple.
So you've got to, like I said before, you need to forget the names of
these things and look at the shapes.
The shapes are vital.
So here's some more,
and again, these are like puzzle pieces.
You know, they, the shapes have integrity.
The positive and negative shapes have integrity.
They have a beginning and an end and they work together to define the whole figure.
So these are like literally, probably, I don't know, one,
two, three minutes each figure.
And it's on a sheet 17 by 20 - what are they?
22, 17 by - 17 and a half by 22 sheet horizontal in landscape.
And I can just draw across it almost like animation.
And these are done really quickly, you know, it's like, boom, boom.
They're doing, you know, I have students doing gestures, but I'll set up and
do this just for my own amusement while they're doing this other thing.
But can I, you know, in the, in the challenge, the challenge I give
myself is can I describe the figure?
This simply, you know, sometimes it doesn't work.
But most times it does.
And I'm just, man, I'm just keying on to light.
What are the light shapes?
Boom, boom, boom.
Put them in there.
And they do, you know yes, but there are simplified versions of the human figure,
but man, it's all about that gesture.
I'm getting the gesture of these figures and they actually give
me a pretty sizeable amount of information through a simple process.
This is done with a roller, but it's that same idea of just, just doing the light.
So here it's just these, I'm using a, I'm using a brayer, speedball brayer.
And, and I love these because it gets at the heart of what we're talking
about, which is it's all that shape and these don't let you go, oh, I've got,
oh, there's a, there's a fingernail.
I got to draw the finger.
You can't do that.
I just won't let you do that.
So it's all about shape and it's the same thing, it's on this paper, you know, that,
that we're gonna work on today and it's just shape, but I'm just, just drawing
the light, just playing with the light.
There's another one with a roller, but, and I, and the reason I bring
this up is that this what we're talking about, the idea of silhouette and
in the shape welding, the grouping of light and shadow applies to every
single instrument you can pick up.
It all works the same, all about seeing.
So here I've just drawing the flip of that, just the shadow shapes,
which is much more sort of like what we all think of as drawing, right?
We're drawing, you know, that stuff, because that, that
creates the positive parts.
And see, it's, it's an interesting thing because like here I'm, you
know, and again, I was, I am and was a line guy, but lines Actually
don't really exist in nature.
It's a thing we use, a convenience that we use to help us describe things.
But if you zoom, you know, in nature, you know, there's lines here, there's
all these cables in the studio.
And it, you know they're lines, I would draw them as lines.
But if I got down there on all fours and looked at those things
close up, they're not lines.
They're like tubes, right?
Or if I go see if you see a ditch, you know, a scrape in the ground,
it's a line, but if you get up on it, it's, it's a trench, right?
So these things, so this becomes this convenience that we use to outline
things so that we can describe them.
But light does a great job at that.
Shadows do a great job at that.
And then you can be really selective.
About where to place a line.
So it's not just totally dependent on line, which is a, which is an
artificial sort of descriptor.
You know, here's one done with the, with the roller of a, of a figure, a gesture.
And you can say like, just some simple lines.
This is a, an exercise I give students where it's like, let me count them.
So there's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
so eleven, they got eleven lines.
You guys, everybody gets 11 lines.
You can't make a line longer than four inches.
And how can you describe the figure as effective as pos, as effectively
as possible with that number of lines?
That's what this was about.
So it's like, but done with these things.
So it was like, oh, one, two - and your, and the students will actually come up
here and they'll, they'll make a mark.
So they're counting their lines and it's like, all of a sudden,
every line really counts.
You can't just sit there and willy nilly like, oh man, I can do this forever man.
And many do, right?
It's like, no, no, you got 11 of these things.
What are you going to do with them?
Where do they really need to go?
Now it gets tough.
And then I have them - so here it is.
I forget how many lines this one is.
And then it's like, well one, two, three.
That's been cropped.
And then I have a deal where, so we did this and then I said, okay.
So I, I did mine.
And then it's like, but I gave him one, two, three, four, they got five.
So they probably had ten black lines with the roller, with the brayer
and they got five white lines.
So, what can you do?
You know, every, every, every line's important and it's not going to
be a complete picture, you know, it's not going to be like the
most amazing thing on the planet.
That's not what it's about.
It's about seeing, and it's about getting to the point, right?
Instead of let me just sketch around forever ever, you know, this thing that's
coming out of the digital age, let me fart around until the cows come home and
I'd stumble on this really cool thing.
Yeah, you shouldn't be stumbling.
You should be thinking about what's - what is important about this?
You know, what, what is the point?
Why am I drawing this in the first place?
What's the point?
Well, so get to the point, you know what I mean?
So there that's the one I did.
There's another one.
So one, two, three, let's see, one, two, three, four, five.
And then I think because I was sucking, I said, hey, everybody can have one
extra line cause I needed an extra line.
But same, same, same assignment sort of process.
And again, and it really, you know, this thing sort of this, this,
these sorts of, of you know, ways of working really crystallized
this idea of like the importance of
the line, you know, the, or the shape that you're building, the importance
of getting to the point, the importance of what is it that is important about
this, this pose and how do I actually effectively convey that to a viewer
in the easiest possible way without getting bogged down in detail, right?
Putting the cart before the horse.
What's the important stuff?
That's what this is all about.
Again, you know, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
Might've been eight, eight to ten.
I don't know what, what I gave her.
I wish I had, you know, had written down what these are.
And then one, two, three, four, five, six lines, something like that.
That little ear.
I don't know if I did it with a roller, if I came in with a brush and went, you
know, so, but just, just that mark with this, that sells that whole head, right?
Just light on an ear, indication of light on an ear.
I mean, I didn't draw an ear.
But, but our mind says here, and that's the thing.
It's like so much of like, it's like going to the horror movies, right?
The really good horror movies.
I mean, there's all kinds of horror movies, right?
You have, there's lots of them that are like, boom.
It's they're just, they're just like screwing with you by having
things pop out, like at the fair.
And that's, that's the cheapest, cheapest way to do that.
That's like such a, such a low bar, you know, it's like, yeah,
you could scare anybody that way.
We do it at home all the time.
I do it with my kids, you know, they hate me for it, but it's like, but the
really good movies, like let's say Alien.
How many times did they really show the alien?
And did they, and how many - later of course they did, they
brought it and trotted it out, but that wasn't Ridley Scott.
But they made you like wonder and they gave you just enough to hang yourself
with, they gave you just enough to scare the hell out of you - for you
to scare the hell out of yourself.
Because the, the alien that you construct in your head given what little
information you have is way better than actually showing you all of the alien.
It's a, and it's a great thing.
It's like, it's a subtle thing, but it's a powerful thing what we're
doing, or at least what I do, what I, what I really strive for, is how do
I give people enough information just enough, right, that they fill in all
those blanks, because the, the, the monster you create is so much better
than any monster I could ever create.
It's just you know, cause it's going to be personal to you.
So I give you enough information for you to construct and create
your own world out of this thing.
So we're intimating information, we're giving you breadcrumbs, right?.
And it's just enough.
Like why do I got to sit and beat a dead, beat a, beat a horse to death
to try and explain this thing to you.
Like, I want you to actually be a participant in what I'm saying
in the story I'm telling and whatever, or in the work itself.
I don't want to be, I don't want to force feed people.
It's like it's giving people credit, you know, for some, for
some intelligence here, right?
It's like, right,
you're - you have a mind that you're bringing to this.
I want you to see what you want to see, you know, so it's
information, right, that we do.
Here's one with you know, I had the, the male model in there with his
robe and this one, I actually went to town and added because I'm using
black and white acrylics and I put the two together to get my, my, my gray.
And I put that in and see it's, it's its own sort of shape too, right?
But again, these are shapes, you know, shape welding, grouping those shadow
shapes, grouping the light shapes.
And the more you do that, the more drawing and painting and everything
becomes so much simpler and so much more to the point, it's so much more
subtle and sensitive to the - to the changes that are happening on
the, on the, on the human form.
And every object that you see, you know, like here, this is just a quickie.
I took processed shots of a pastel I did not too long ago.
And you can see, like, I'm sort of, I am throwing sort of that the, those
landmark ideas do, do, do, do down, but I'm not, I'm not setting up.
I don't have a grid I'm not like tracing anything.
I'm not, you know, I'm just, but I'm seeing big shapes here.
And then I just dove in and started bringing temperature and some light in.
Now I create a big shape of the hood, which helps immediately,
automatically helps define that arm even more and just keep pushing my,
my light shapes and my shadow shapes.
Mostly the light shapes.
That's the finish.
What I have to begin with for gesture drawing are - and the other tool can
be used for this as well, but these are Caran d'Ache, neo color one crayons.
The thing that, you know, the minute you, I don't know about you, but the
minute I hear crayon immediately, I'm thinking of Crayola and these
are a whole other breed of crayons.
So when I, when I hear the word crayon immediately, my mind goes to me, five
years old, playing with Crayola and then me 40 years old with my kids, playing
with Crayolas and being really uptight and anxious and like sort of upset with,
with how they work or rather don't work.
So these neo colors there, they have a number two also, which is water-soluble.
I live in Florida and the water-soluble ones when, if I'm outside drawing, they're
melting in my hand, drives me insane.
They're just, I have color all over the place, but the ones are not,
they're just straight up wax crayons, but again, on a whole other order
of sensitivity and, and quality.
So you can hold them any way you want.
But if I, if I just even lightly, you see that I wasn't even,
I wasn't applying pressure.
I just dragged it across, even something as simple as
that shows up the sensitivity.
But if I, you know, but I can also get really deep.
These are incredibly sensitive crayons.
It's not like drawing with a candle, which is like basically, you know, Crayola.
So this is the stuff I use these for, for gestures drawing with I'm
doing more line work, you know?
Cause I can, I can work really quickly, you know, they, and they get.
Everything that I would, then I can ask for as far as line sensitivity
and, and thick and thin, hard and soft, they're just, they're gorgeous.
The other thing that we'll be using a lot of, and you don't have to use
these two something I use, I love them.
But the real crux of this course is Prismacolors' new pastels.
The beauty of new pastels, my understanding anyway is cause a lot of,
you know, a lot of schools are, are sort of, some schools are banning the use
of pastels in classrooms because of the particles in the air, the dust in the air.
And because you know, you are working with, you know, cadmiums and,
and cobalts and things like that.
My understanding is that new pastels are actually designed with a heavier molecule
so they don't float around in the air.
And, and they, and you're not absorbing them through your skin
in the same way that you would with soft pastels and things like that.
I, you know, when you're, when you're going to go buy these and don't, don't do
it and then not buy the one you, you did this to, you know, but I go and I test
them and see how easy that was to break?
I test that because that means it's a good one.
If it's hard to break, it's old and you don't want to buy that because
it's not going to draw very well.
And here's, so here's sort of what they look like.
I mean, right now we're going to start with just - so that's how I
test to see if I, if they're good, but don't, don't do that and then
don't - and then not buy that one.
That's that's just rude.
So, I do break mine anyway, because I want control over the shapes and
the lines that I'm putting down.
If I have a giant stick, well, I'm not, I'm not drawing lines
that are that wide, right?
And I'm not drawing on the tip.
I'm not doing pointy lines anyway.
So I break them and I'll do that here too.
I've already broken some.
This is - so we're going to be working really with the beginning
with two, just two sticks.
So you have light Naples yellow and sepia.
And if you can't get sepias, then get burnt umber works and van Dyck brown.
Those, those all three can work for your dark.
Don't do black, black is too dark for what we're we're messing with.
And so again, what I love about these is the fact that they're square.
And, and as I mentioned before, too, these are not conte crayons.
The conte is really gritty.
You can feel it when you're drawing with it.
These are whole other order of sensitivity.
And you might have to get them started.
See how that's - there we go.
And now, so that's just me laying on the - if you, if, if I was looking at
the end of one of these, what we, what we would see - let me get a new page here.
What we would see would be
it's a badly drawn box, but that's that's looking at it head on.
And so I'm not - what I'm drawing on and then if I look at it, you know, let's say
you can see they're not the greatest for lines.
Like the really precise, really precise stuff.
what we're drawing on is where the diamond is the diamond.
I'm not drawing on, I'm not drawing the, the flat, right?
If I laid it flat, it's a weird, it's sort of weird, but what I'm doing
is rolling up on the tip where these things meet and drawing off of the edge.
And then if I apply pressure, let's say over here or over here, I can
control the edge, the hard edge.
And then let's say I'm pushing on this one.
This would be the soft.
That is not receiving pressure.
And I would get
I can reverse that too, in the same stroke.
And you, you become, the more you play with these, you become incredibly
sensitive to that and I can even like roll up on the tip, right?
So the more you play with these, the more you work with them and think
about, you know, what you're seeing up there and you'll see me demonstrate
this, but you'll be able to work the full range of what these can offer you.
And you can even do like, what Mark English was basically
calling like dry glazes.
Let's see, they have beautiful colors.
And this is, they have a huge range of color.
These are just ones I went and bought in, you know, in it's sort of anticipation
of what I may or may not do here.
But let me - see how use it was to break?
I can like very lightly just drag it's like I'm adding a
glaze of color over that, but I'm not even moving this, you know?
And I can get deeper with that.
And if I have, like, here is what is this black?
Just to show you
Black is black, you know, compared to the subtlety of that sepia.
And there's, there's a place for this for black.
I mean, you know, like anything.
Sometimes I may want to hit up the hair on, on one of the drawings just
to kind of kick it out, you know?
And that'll be like this punch off the page, kind of solidify that head a
little bit, but I don't do it very often.
It's just every once in a while, it's like, man, I wanna, I want to hit that.
And again, you know, this plastic is just an irritant.
They used to not have that.
And then it took the retailers forever to like, cause they're,
they've got numbers on, they had it.
So they would sit and write down the numbers and, you know, it did, it
took a long time, but it's like, man, but now it's like, it's all about the
retailer and not about the end-user, you know, which, which really sucks.
And again, so like I could even take the Naples yellow light and
I could like lay a glaze over even black, you know, pretty cool.
The other tool that's pretty vital just to have it is a needed eraser here.
The beauty of a kneaded eraser, as opposed to an eraser is that you
can shape it and form it though
it is - right now it's a little stiff.
If I, if I keep working it, it gets more and more malleable.
And the beauty is I can like, you know, if I want to draw with it, but I can like
sit here and press it and create basically like you can see it's getting really loose
like a wedge, like a, like, almost like a shark fin, but that allows me to like,
come in and say, whoa, I just want to pull out a line, a really tight hit, you know?
You would have to go over it cause it's, these are, you know, or I could like, you
know, be more bold and pull stuff out.
And then you just work at work that, that pink back, back into the, back into
the ball and it vanishes like magic.
A little highlight on the hair, you know?
So those are the tools.
The paper that I'm working on right here is smooth newsprint, which
I prefer over to the rough stuff.
It's just something about, you know, the funny thing is I was never a fan of
pastel because, because of the gritty quality of it, it was like, for me, it was
always like fingernails on a chalkboard.
It was like, ah, you know, but working on smoother paper and working with the
new pastels was a whole different animal.
And so I don't mind getting a little dirty that way.
I don't, I don't mind getting dirty when I'm doing printmaking stuff, but
something about the pastels was just - put my teeth on edge, but I'm over that now.
So it, I don't mind getting dirty with it now because I liked the
results that I get from doing pastels.
Now, my approach of pastels, in art school, they had us working with pastels
and they were, we were using like Rembrandt soft pastels, stuff like that.
And they didn't really give us any instruction in it.
It was like, you guys need to have these pastels and you're going
to draw this, this still life.
And it's like, okay.
You know, so we're over there.
Just know they just didn't give us like that kind of info, you know?
So you were like, you know, it's like, you know, boom, here's the deep end, figure
it out, enjoy, you know, like, oh my God.
So I was looking at Degas and Burt silver.
And they guy would use, you know, he would use these strokes
and stuff and build it up.
And I, and I was reading too, where he would like, you know, coat the paper with
turpentine and work wet and then, and then build on that, you know, and cause
it would help hold the, hold the pastel.
So again, there were a lot of reasons why I just never embraced pastel and then
I started working with the illustration academy and Mark English, who I said,
you know, develop this, this sort of process for his students at the Art
Students - not Art Students League - at the Kansas City Art Institute because he
saw they were not seeing the whole figure.
And he was like, man, I got to figure out something that will force them to deal.
And, and that involved the use of silhouette and this one process that he
works with and the Illustration Academy uses, which I won't actually show you,
but my process is an offshoot of that.
And it's sort of my, my way of handling pastel, sort of bouncing
off of that I sort of develop my own
version of that without going through all the steps that we have students do
in that, which I've been asked not to do.
So, so here we are.
And so, but I just want to get that plug in there because Mark
English opened up pastel for me and he was unbelievably good at it.
And watching him work was like always a joy and
being able to draw with him from life, which we would do three times a week
during the academy is, was like one of the high points of my career, just to be well,
just to be in the same room with the guy.
And watch him work is always - was always a school in itself, but also
just just a privilege, you know?
So those are the tools.
And I will show you also, let me, let me just grab a sheet of the paper.
So this is the paper that I use and the paper is instrumental to my love
of working with these materials.
It's a smooth paper.
It's Needham makes it, and it's a, an environmental text it's but it's smooth
and it's easy to see that its toned.
It's not, it's not super cheap.
It's not super expensive.
I think, you know, if you, if you break it down, it's like for a sheet like
this has maybe 25 cents, that's not bad.
And I'll usually buy cases of it and I'll sell it to the students at cost.
So but again, you know, you - when if you go buy pastel paper, it's
this it's almost like sandpaper.
It just drives me insane.
I'm just like, oh my God.
It's like, why?
I get why I guess is which is to hold as much pigment as possible.
But it just seems, you know, anathema to the, to the beauty of pastel.
you know, this smooth paper it's just a joy to work on.
Let me put the color, let me put the color away.
So, and the black.
So it's just beautiful paper.
It just floats, just floats on there and then seeing it's
right now what you're seeing,
if I put down - I usually see it's on top of newsprint right now.
Newsprint has its own texture, which is actually coming through
the paper here a little bit.
So what I work on a big stack of this stuff and it, and it's real smooth.
So it's smoother, it has a less texture than that when you're working
on a whole stack of this paper.
But so that that's, those are the tools.
So more than likely, unless you go to a place like Mac papers, a place that
sells like a big distributor of paper and in Florida, I go to Mac papers which
has now left my, the town I'm in and it's in Tampa and some other places.
So, but I, and I have to special order this paper and it's, and again, it's
by the sheet it's not that expensive, but you can't just buy it by the
sheet and you have to buy a thousand sheets of, and they're huge.
They're, they're actually two of these together.
They're big sheets and I always order a case and I have them cut it in half.
So I ended up with 2000 sheets of this paper, which is awesome paper.
So, but you may not want 2000 sheets of anything and you may not - or you
may not even be able to get this paper.
So there is an alternative, I personally don't like it as, it's not
the same thing by far, but we have used it when we couldn't get this.
It just doesn't give you the leeway of, of like rubbing and playing
and the way this paper does, but that would be, it's Strathmore,
they make two toned papers.
There's a great and a tan and it comes in a big pad 18 by 24 pad.
They make smaller pads too, but you want 18 by 24.
And you can buy those by the pad at just about any art store that
carries paper supplies, pads, sketchbooks, all that stuff.
So, but that, that is an alternative that can work.
It's just not as versatile as this stuff.
So your first assignment for this course is basically get the tools.
Now, like I said, you don't have to get these, the Caran D'ache, neo colors.
I personally absolutely love these crayons and I don't, and it's like, I use them
for gesture drawing, but what I really use them for is sketchbook drawing.
So they are part of my typical arsenal for sketchbook work that I do all the time.
I don't always draw with these.
You know, I guess I'll make mention of this.
Like you should be keeping a sketchbook for yourself no matter,
you know, like this is a pastel course, but you should be keeping a
sketchbook for everything that you do.
You should just be keeping a sketchbook.
And what I do is I have an entire arsenal of supplies that I use
that I get that I lug around.
And yeah, it doesn't get old lugging around yet it absolutely gets old
lugging it around, but it's that I'd rather have it and not need it
than need it and not have it idea.
So I've got this roll of stuff and I've got these in my bag.
You know, you name it I've pretty much almost got it.
And so these are part of my typical kit that I carry with me everywhere I go.
And, and certainly I don't have to carry the whole thing.
And I've done that.
There's, there's a couple of colors I really love like this,
this particular green color is like my go-to for a lot of stuff.
And I also just love these two, you know, the ultramarine and whatever this is.
And then, you know, but see, but the thing is, is I get out there
and it's like, man, I would love to do, just do some serious crayon
drawings like Harvey Dunn used to do.
And he would actually carry a limited range of color.
He would have a yellow ochre and a blue and a green and a red well,
he might've had a brown too, but anyway he kept it real simple.
But it just, invariably, I get out there and I'm like, oh
my God, I wish I had my reds.
I wish I had my, you know, whatever, you know, so, you know,
it's worth getting the case.
So you don't have to have those, but I would suggest you get them and try them
out because I think you'll love them.
So go out, get, get the rest of this stuff.
Definitely like you need kneaded erasers.
You're going to need the new pastels by Prismacolor.
Nothing else really works the way this works.
So, you know, there's Alphacolor.
There's you know, soft pastels.
There's Caran - god, I've only talked about it three times today,
but you know, the conte charcoal, I mean, but they don't work like this.
These are different.
So you need these and you don't have to go buy a whole set,
just get Naples yellow yelow
and sepia or burn - burnt umber or van Dyck brown.
Those are the ones.
That's all you need.
Color can come later.
If you want to play with, if you want to get color, knock yourself out.
There's an incredible, beautiful range of color.
But, but for the beginnings of this course, this is what you need right here.
So you're not like breaking the bank.
You're not, you know, and don't worry if they, you know, if they fall and break.
You should be breaking them and you should break it before you
buy it, but buy the one you broke.
If it's hard to break, you know, if you're really straining and it's not breaking,
don't break it, just put it away.
It's not good.
But it's Prismacolor new pastels.
That's the stuff, smooth newsprint pad and either, you know, bite the bullet
and get this wonderful, beautiful paper or get the Strathmore toned paper
pads, which I think has like a Scott Burdick drawing on the cover of it.
That's what you need.
So get up, go out and get those and then play with them a little bit.
Just explore the mark, making abilities that they, they, you know, that they,
that they give you as an artist.
Just so you become a little familiar with that.
And that can be just like making marks without even like drawing anything,
just like test them, like see what, see how they feel, you know, and then
why not sit down with, with a piece of reference or go out and draw, you know,
have someone sit for you or whatever, and just start playing with this idea
of some of the, the initial discussions that we've had that I've shown you with
like silhouette and just draw the light and those kinds of things, and play with
those aspects of a drawing, using the tools that we will be actually using.
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2. Intro to Visual Landmarks9m 26s
3. The Arrangement of Information and Shape Welding28m 1s
4. Course Materials18m 50s
5. Assignment Instruction4m 49s