I started Block 2 of the Evolve Artist course a few weeks ago. In Block 2, the focus is on developing proportional drawing skills by drawing and painting objects from life. There are eight drawings and ten paintings to complete, and I’ve just finished the drawings.
Block 2 starts off with using a thin needle to measure the relative proportions of different objects. We have to judge how wide or tall each object is relative to the others. One side of one object is used as the reference, and other items are measured against it. Then drawings are made based on these measurements. We can also double check our work by measuring the objects with a ruler, and using those values to calculate the relative proportions (a spreadsheet is provided for this). I can already draw from life, and I’ve never used any kind of drawing aid, so I knew that the approach taken in the course would be different to what I’m used to.
I’m not going to post all my drawings because they’re really rather boring to look at. Here’s an example:
I wasn’t too keen on the measuring to start with, as I’m used to drawing without it and felt like it was adding unnecessary time and work to the process. But I’m committed to following the program exactly, so I did it anyway, and now I don’t mind drawing this way. I’ve always approached drawing intuitively – the things I’m drawing either look accurate or they don’t, but I’d never given much thought to how the proportions of each part actually measure up against other parts of the drawing. So what was a mostly unconscious process is becoming more conscious.
The idea in Evolve is not to use measuring forever. It’s just a step in the process, and they encourage working out the proportions by eye right from the start (and making a small rough sketch based on this), and then checking with the needle. This way, people won’t become dependent on the needle or any other tool. I actually find this method harder than just doing it freehand, and have made a few mistakes with my proportions where I don’t think I would have normally. So I’ll be glad to drop the figuring out the numbers part, but will follow the instructions while I’m in the course. I do see how this is a really helpful method for people who aren’t used to drawing and don’t have confidence in that area.
Another thing we did at the start of Block 2 was to make a still life box, or shadow box. This is just a cardboard box with a hole cut in it for a light source. We’ll be using this to set up our own still lifes for the drawings and paintings in this Block and most of the later parts of the course. This is my box, complete with my cats’ toy balls that I used for the first measuring exercise:
It’s a bit smaller than the size they recommend, because I have to have it on my desk due to the layout of the room. It takes up a big chunk of space that I’ll be glad to get back when I’m done with the course! I might get a collapsible box at some point, if I think I’ll make use of it with my own art. But right now that feels unlikely.
Next up is my first painting from my own drawings. It’s a few weeks since I painted, so I hope I’m not too rusty 🙂
See all my Evolve Artist paintings here.