Tag or Gesture Drawing?


It’s difficult to tell the difference.

Both practices are rapid movements of the pen, marker or pencil, attempting to capture a form quickly.

A tag though is made to be seen. It’s intent is to pay homage to the creator.

Gesture drawing is an exercise. Their intent is to loosen up the artist, and then hit the wastebasket.

It is only action, the gesture, that you are trying to respond to here, not the details of the structure. You must discover – and feel – that the gesture is dynamic, moving, not static. Gesture has no precise edges, no exact shape, no jelled form. The forms are in the act of changing. Gesture is movement in space.

The Natural Way to Draw. Kimon, Nicolaides, pg 15

A reminder: Don’t fret. It’s fine to go through reams of paper:

Feel free to use a great deal of paper and do not ever worry about ‘spoiling’ it – that is one of our reasons for using cheap paper. I notice that students working at their best, thinking only of the gesture and not of making pictures, often throw their drawings into the trash-can without even looking at them. A few should be kept and dated as a record of your progress, but the rest may be tossed aside as carelessly as yesterday’s newspaper. Results are best when they come from the right kind of un-self-conscious effort.

The Natural Way to Draw. Kimon, Nicolaides, pg 18

Autumn through the eyes of Cartoonists


I’m on a quest to document Autumn.

These cartoonists helped me out:


This piece came from an Ivan Brunetti exercise in his book Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice.

Hey, a single leaf on a naked tree still counts as Autumn.


The late Richard Thompson is still underrated.

I must be reading the wrong articles because his name isn’t mentioned enough amongst the great cartoonists.

He also cleared up for us why they tie trees up…

From: Cul de Sac: This Exit


Only John Porcellino could’ve captured Thoreau at Walden properly in comic form.


What have these cartoonists taught us?

The place to enjoy Autumn is outside.

Sheila Heti: Story Machine

From the Paris Review’s video series – My First Time

Sheila’s original ambition was to become a playwright. She started writing stories after being kicked out/quitting theater school.

To master the writing process, Sheila would sit and write 6 or 7 stories in a row, as fast as she could type. Her thought was if she wrote hundreds of stories, then 20 or 30 would be good, exactly how they were written.

Sheila is all about lists.

She’d write down lists of titles of all the fables she could find. For the title of her first book, she wrote down hundres of titles to generate ideas.

She’d also sketch out book covers with the titles in them, to help visualize the finished book.

Parting words:

I have to work harder than any other writer in the world. I just wanted so badly to figure this out. To figure out how to write.

Sheila Heti

Notes from the Natural Way to Draw: Contour Line Drawing

This book is proving helpful. It clarified some techniques for practicing contour line drawing.

First you must convince yourself that the pencil point is touching the model instead of the paper.

Place the point of your pencil on the paper. Imagine that your pencil point is touching the model instead of the paper. Without taking your eyes off the model, wait until you are convinced that the pencil is touching that point on the model upon which your eyes are fastened.

The Natural Way to Draw, Nicolaides, Kimon, pg 9

I always wondered, what do you do when the contour leaves the edge of the object and turns inward?

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 a new starting point. This new starting point should pick up at that point on the edge where the contour turned inward.

The Natural Way to Draw, Nicolaides, Kimon, pg.10

And contours can lie inside the figure as well:

Not all contours lie along the outer edge of the figure. For example, if you have a front view of the face, you will see definite contours along the nose and the mouth which have no apparent connection with the contours at the edge. As far as the time for your study permits, draw these ‘inside contours’ exactly as you draw the outside ones. Draw anything that your pencil can rest on and be guided along. DEVELOP THE ABSOLUTE CONVICTION THAT YOU ARE TOUCHING THE MODEL.

The Natural Way to Draw, Nicolaides, Kimon, pg 10, 11

Helpful reminders. Now, back to drawing.

Drawing for life

Bored. I waited for my ancient Toyota’s oil change to finish. The iPhone’s gravitational pull is relentless. But I punched it in the face and escaped.

I pulled out my sketchbook and began to draw the sofa in front of me.

Relief.

There’s many benefits to drawing from life.

Strengthening your observational skills. Learning to concentrate. Developing a new appreciation for everyday objects.

All excellent things.

But the best part?

You’re creating your own unique work. Your own original piece.

It’s your eyes. Your way of interpreting light and shadows. Your way of seeing shapes.

The lines that you scratch across the paper are all inherently you.

Only you.

It can’t be copied. It can’t be replicated. It’s how you discover this elusive thing called style.

Drawing from life will reveal your style.

Try it.

Spend 10 minutes getting some lines down on the toaster/lawyer/spacecraft infront of you.

Even if the proportions are wonky. Even if your lines look like they’re suffering from a bout of vertigo.

Do it.

When 10 minutes are up you’ll feel excited. Nourished even.

You may be disappointed with what lays on the page before you, but it will be all yours.

Cherish it.

Amateur tip: A great tool for scanning your drawings quickly is Scannable.