Posts Tagged ‘drawing lesson’

Pen and Ink Basics at DVSA

21/04/2017

Spring term began this week at the Dundas Valley School of Art and I was back in the studio yesterday. Pen and Ink Basics was our theme and my keen and hard-working students put in a full day. We completed three drawings and used a different approach with each. All of our drawings were done from a diagram model that I provided at my easel.

Our focus was on light and shadow as well as fundamental pen techniques. Our pear was started with a ‘parquet’ approach. The students didn’t have to worry about stroke direction and concentrated initially on the shapes of light and shadow.

Our pear gradually became more three-dimensional as we applied principles of light and shadow with cross-hatching. Our second drawing was the hat. We started with hatching, parallel strokes, and developed the drawing with cross-hatching. I discussed the idea of ‘edge versus outline’ and you’ll notice gaps in the lines that describe the edges of our objects. These allow light to infiltrate the drawing and give it a more natural feel than a hard colouring book-like outline would achieve.

The ball cap was our final drawing of the day and stippling was our technique. We didn’t want to work too big as stippling is rather time-consuming. Over the course of the day, we looked at drawings by the masters including Michelangelo and Henry Moore and were inspired by the lessons found in their beautiful work.

We wrapped up with a look at our own work. My next one-day workshop at DVSA is called Pen and Ink with Wash and Watercolour and takes place on May 11. Care to join us?

Pen and Ink Basics Critique

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Pen and Ink – Everyday Objects at DVSA!

26/09/2016

Last Thursday, I was back at the Dundas Valley School of Art for a day of pen and ink drawing. Our theme was ‘Everyday Objects’. My goals for the day were threefold. First of all, we discussed the basic pen and ink techniques of hatching, cross-hatching, stippling and line weight. Secondly, I wanted the students to understand the everyday objects they were drawing in terms of basic volumes. I hoped this would help them when drawing on their own. Thirdly, we considered ‘light and shadow’ and it’s importance to making things look three-dimensional.

Lesson sheet by Barry Coombs

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Our first drawing was of a toy block. The block, of course, is a cube and that’s how I started my demonstration. There are three visible planes on my cube and I wanted each of them to be a different value.

Step one of pen and ink demonstration by Barry Coombs  Step two of pen and ink demonstration by Barry Coombs

I also like to work with a ‘light to dark’ process. Using this ‘parquet’ approach to cross-hatching, I developed the drawing gradually. Eventually, I added a cast shadow. The studio is lit by fluorescent lighting and there is also light coming in from the windows. Multiple light sources don’t usually help us make things look three-dimensional. With that in mind, we decided on an arbitrary light source coming from the upper right.

Final step of pen and ink demonstration by Barry Coombs

The students did very well with their studies. Here’s a look at their toy blocks.

Toy Blocks Critique

Toy Blocks Critique

Our next subject was an empty thread spool. Where do I find this stuff? Professional secret.

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We analyzed this object in terms of cylinders and cones and, once again, lit it from the upper right.

Lesson sheet by Barry Coombs

A lot of things are discussed during my demonstrations and, unfortunately, I can’t break down every step in detail. Still, we followed the same basic process that we’d used with the blocks.

Step one of pen and ink demonstration by Barry Coombs  Final step of pen and ink demonstration by Barry Coombs

Spools Critique

Spools Critique

These two studies took up most of our day. We started another drawing, of spoons, and they were coming along well when we ran out of time. If you’re in the neighbourhood, why don’t you join us on Thursday, October 13 for Pen and Ink with Wash and Watercolour at the DVSA?

Pen and Ink Basics at Dundas Valley School of Art

16/05/2016

Last Thursday, I taught a one-day workshop at the Dundas Valley School of Art in Dundas, Ontario. It was called Pen and Ink Basics and it’s the first in a series of four this spring.

I cover a lot of material when I teach pen and ink. We started off with a discussion of our materials and a repertoire of fundamental pen techniques; hatching, cross-hatching, stippling and line weight/variety. The material list was not lengthy. I always use drawing pens for these classes. No muss, no fuss, no spilled ink.

Materials-Pen and Ink Basics

We did three step-by-step exercises and the students worked from my models. I presented the goals of the exercise on an 18 x 24″ sheet at an easel so it was easy for everyone to see. The group gathers around a table for the actual pen and ink demonstrations which are done on much smaller sheets of paper.

Drawing lesson by Barry Coombs

Drawing lesson by Barry Coombs

After discussing the basic techniques, we drew a cone using a version of cross-hatching called ‘parquet’. I’ve always enjoyed teaching drawing and the students didn’t just develop their newfound skills with the pen. I also presented, and emphasized, ideas about the traditional use of light and shadow and threw in a few thoughts about two-point perspective, as well.

Pen and Ink demonstration by Barry Coombs

Two more drawings were completed after our cone exercise. A box-like cubic form evolved into a building and we combined a spherical  form with a cone, ending up with a pear. As mentioned, these exercises are done one step at a time. It may seem like a formulaic approach and, to a degree, it is. However, the completed drawings give the students a sense of satisfaction and confidence. The lessons learned can be applied to their own work and are particularly appropriate for those who keep sketchbooks.

Pen and Ink demonstration by Barry Coombs

It was a long day and I was impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the group. They did a lot of drawing and processed a great deal of information. At the end of the day, I asked each student to choose one of their sheets for our critique.

This Thursday, May 19, I’ll be teaching the second workshop in the series; Pen and Ink: Natural Forms. There may be a spot of two left for you! If interested, contact the DVSA.

Pen and Ink Basics Critique

Pen and Ink Basics Critique

 

 

Pen and Ink Basics – Wednesday and Saturday

28/10/2012

It’s been a busy week. First of all, I’d like to welcome new followers and thank those of you who’ve taken the time to comment. Now, to the matter at hand.

I gave a workshop called ‘Pen and Ink Basics’ twice this week; on Wednesday and Saturday. The students did three drawings and followed a step-by-step approach. Each drawing was started with pencil and completed with pen. Pigment ink or pigment liner drawing pens were used.

Our first exercise was started by drawing a triangle with pencil. We then added a curve to the bottom corners of the triangle, converting it into a cone. We created an arbitrary light source from the upper left of the cone. Step One shows swatches of pen strokes that create an overall tone in the core and cast shadow areas. It looks a bit like a parquet floor, doesn’t it?

In Step Two, the cast shadow and the cusp area of the cone are darkened by cross-hatching. New swatches overlap the earlier ones.

The final step shows a broken line on the left edge of the cone. The cast shadow has been darkened at the ‘point of contact’ with the surface plane. It’s not easy to ‘blend’ gently with the pen and it takes a lot of practice. I’ve tried to blend the left and right edges of the dark cusp to make the cone appear natural and three-dimensional.

 

For our next exercise, each student received their own small still-life; a bowl with a walnut, an almond and a pecan. Two steps of my demonstration are shown below. We started with hatching (parallel strokes) and used it to develop the light and shadow. Gradually and patiently, darks and detail and texture were developed.

A sleuth of bears joined us and volunteered to pose for our third and final exercise. We used a very similar process but tried different variations of cross-hatching.

Everyone was pooped by the end of each day. The exercises were challenging. Each had three basic components.

1) TECHNIQUE: Variations of hatching and cross-hatching were the key techniques. Stippling (dots) and line weight were also explored.

2) LIGHT AND SHADOW: The students did not have lamps to light their subjects. A single light source had to be imagined and applied consistently to each drawing. A sense of three-dimensional form was the goal and this was probably the most demanding element of the workshop.

3) PROCESS: We started with the big shapes in order to establish a convincing sense of light and shadow. As mentioned above, darks were developed with patience. Detail and texture are very important but great care was taken to preserve the areas of direct light.

The students selected their favourite drawing of the day for our critiques. They did good work but, more importantly, I hope they’ll take these ideas home with them and practice often in their sketchbooks.

Wednesday Critique

Saturday Critique

 

Drawing Boot Camp – Light and Shadow

17/05/2012

Last month, I gave a two-day class called Drawing Boot Camp-Proportion and Perspective. Yesterday, some of the same students and several new ones convened at my studio for the first day of Drawing Boot Camp-Light and Shadow. Everyone was issued a sketchbook, a 2B and a 6B pencil, a measuring stick, clips and a support board. Erasers were checked at the door.

We started off with a five-value grey scale. It gave us a chance to get to know the pencils and paper and to practice tip and side shading.

Our next project was a cone. A triangle was drawn on the sheet. A curved line was added from the lower left to the lower right corners. We did the drawing in steps, stopping to discuss some of the principles of light and shadow.

Our second exercise began with a line drawing of a cube. At first, we didn’t look at an actual cube. I drew a cube from memory, in line only, at my easel while I reviewed basic two-point perspective. Once we’d commenced to shade, the top plane was left as untouched paper and the two side planes were developed as two distinct values.

That’s when I put a white cube on a piece of white board under a lamp. It helped us to establish the cast shadow. Following that, a background was introduced. Then, our final step, we graded several of the planes, making them less flat and giving a more natural feel to the drawing.

It was time to work from direct observation. I placed four identical cylindrical bottles, made from brown cardboard, on the platform under the lamp. Each student selected a bottle that showed an interesting balance of light and shadow.

We completed four projects over a very full day of drawing. Day two of Drawing Boot Camp-Light and Shadow is next Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Drawing Boot Camp – Proportion and Perspective – Day Two

12/04/2012

Last week, we started our two-day Drawing Boot Camp and it concluded yesterday. We used the yellow, red and blue Prismacolor pencils again for almost all of our drawing exercises. We continued to work on proportion and ellipses and to follow the guidelines from my Drawing Checklist. Our subject matter was quite varied; everything from fruit to bowls, bottles and books. The drawing exercises were short and focused.

Two books, one on top of the other, can be surprisingly tricky. Especially, when you don’t have much time. We tackled this and related subjects after a morning lecture/demonstration on two point perspective.

At the end of the day, we switched to 2B graphite pencils. This still-life of bottles and jars was a fifteen minute exercise. One of our goals was to place the entire group on the sheet without running off the edges or ending up with an extremely small drawing with too much empty space surrounding it.

It was definitely a Boot Camp. We did a lot of drawing and everyone was tired at the end of the day. Including me. I enjoyed it very much, though. I don’t teach drawing as much as I used to in the past.

Over the years, I taught courses such as Beginner Drawing, Object Drawing, Life Drawing, Drawing into Painting and Pen and Ink Drawing at many venues including Sheridan College, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Dundas Valley School of Art and Continuing Education at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Helping students to gain confidence and pleasure from drawing is a very satisfying pursuit.

Thanks for your recent comments about the Boot Camp. I wish you could have been here!

Drawing Boot Camp – Proportion and Perspective – Day One

06/04/2012

This spring, I’ve offered two Drawing Boot Camps. They take place on consecutive Wednesdays and each Boot Camp is a two- day class. Our first Boot Camp, dedicated to Proportion and Perspective, started last Wednesday, April 4. It continues next week on the 11th.

We worked very hard all day long on a series of short drawing exercises. Everyone received a new sketchbook and three Prismacolor pencils; a yellow, a red and a blue. Yellow is for planning. Red is for wire frame. Blue is for refining. Each exercise had specific guidelines and goals. Erasers were strictly forbidden.

Overall, we want to draw with more confidence and understanding. We discussed concepts such as basic ellipse theory and learned how to use a measuring stick. We looked at master drawings. We drew a lot and everyone was pooped at the end of the day. Here are a few of my demonstrations from Wednesday.

Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week One

03/04/2012

Our first Tuesday watercolour classes of the Spring term began today. I started everyone off with a drawing lesson. Here’s an analysis of the box with the beveled edge in three steps. It’s followed by a value study of the box in a slightly different attitude.

  

The still-life objects are made from cardboard. I bought them at a dollar store. They’re obviously not very colourful but they take the light beautifully so they’re a great subject for a value study. Add a little bit of imagination, as many of the painters did today, and the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

First Sustained Saturday of 2012

15/01/2012

A Sustained Saturday at my studio is a full day class. Most of the participants are watercolour painters but you’ll also see a lovely pen and ink drawing when you scroll down to the photo of our critique wall. Many of the Saturday group are regulars and it was nice to see everyone for our first session of the new year.

I reminded everyone of how I like to draw symmetrical objects, beginning with two-dimensional geometric shapes. I then ’round them off’, giving them a full and more three-dimensional look. See the small bowl at the bottom of the second image.

 

The watercolour element of my demonstration focused on the colour changes in the objects. I haven’t shown any steps here but the classes this Tuesday will work from the same still-life and I’ll show a few steps in that post.

Everyone agrees about one thing when it comes to a Sustained Saturday. They love having the whole day to work without feeling rushed. Of course, when I announce the last thirty minutes before critique, the groans sound identical to those of a three-hour Tuesday class.

Sustained Saturday Critique

 

 

 

Sustained Saturday – Watercolour Plus

26/11/2011

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving about six weeks ago so I must have had our neighbours to the south in mind this weekend when I organized the still-life. I know it’s missing a pumpkin and a turkey but it still feels seasonal, doesn’t it? Anyway, I hope Linda and Carol and other friends from the USA had a great holiday.

I couldn’t resist a demonstration of the squash. I tried to think in terms of ‘light to dark’ and ‘big to small’ but, first of all, I approached it as two interlocking shapes and painted them separately. In the upper shape, I painted a light green-gray wash and added a darker value while the wash was wet.The stripes, which really help make the object feel round, were painted when everything was dry.

I started the lower shape in almost the same way but my values were a bit darker and I left a few highlights. When dry, I painted the dark green panels, avoiding the stripes which are the first wash showing through. The stripes in the upper part of the squash are positive marks; negative spaces in the lower part.

The stem was painted as a separate shape, as well. I touched in the orange where the two shapes meet at the very end.

The entire turnip was painted with a creamy light wash and a fairly neutral gray was added to the lower area while the cream was wet. I allowed it to dry completely before adding the purple, which I darkened gradually from upper left to lower right. Again, the stem was painted separately and in a few steps.

Everyone got to work but about half an hour later we had an emergency demo/discussion about the perspective of the basket. A few problems were considered.

The main problem was showing too much of the interior of the basket. Our mind knows that it’s a fairly big interior space and sometimes doesn’t trust what our eye is actually seeing.

Figure A shows how some of the baskets were drawn although Figure B is much closer to how they really appeared. The photo of the still-life above was taken from the average eye level of a seated student.

Another concern is the angles that can make the perspective convincing. The main angles, along the length of the basket, in the larger study are not as steep as those in the small diagram to the lower right. As a result, the smaller basket feels tilted rather than fore-shortened.

The tricky squash and the perplexing basket were good challenges but everyone rose to the occasion and came up with solid work. That’s it for Sustained Saturdays this fall. We’ll be back in the winter so have a look at my Winter Calendar,  if you’d like to join us.

Sustained Saturday Critique