Dudlow Drawing Board

SUDDENLY EVERYONE IS DRAWING! Which is great, because we could all do it when we were seven years old but somehow we got rusty. Here in the leafy Liverpool suburbs, veteran illustrator John Minnion runs a three-hour Tuesday afternoon session teaching people to improve their drawing.

PEOPLE PLACES AND THINGS are all fair game for our pencils. Figures (with and without clothes) faces, fabrics, flowers, fields, dogs, doorways, rooftops, treetops, treetrunks – all on the agenda. If you fancy joining us, contact johnminnion@gmail.com

ARCHIVE: johnminnion.tumblr/archive


Ask me anything   Submit
 ()

COME TO SUNNY ANTIBES

TOP – Art deco tourism poster

BELOW – Picasso’s view 1946

BOTTOM – Judith’s view 2014.  Nice atmospheric drawing in ink and water colour… but where’s the dancing goats and piping centaur?

 ()

image

imageSome herbaceous snippets from Julie’s sketchbook. Chrysanthemums above, and autumn leaves below.

image

image

It’s a lovely delicate style, not entirely naturalistic. I was puzzling over whether this is illustration or fine art or design.

Then it hit me: that Julie is actually a very gifted wallpaper designer. What about this for the Julie Padget Autumn Range:image

imageimage

Fantastic!

 ()

IN THE WALLED GARDEN

Julie drew this scene from the Walled Garden in Calderstones Park.

Lots of variation in pencil marks to depict the lush riot of vegetation.The challenge seems to be to get all that profuse foliage into some sort of visual order. In fact the main way to build a picture like this, with so much profusion of detail, is to constantly contrast light tones against dark to give overall clarity to shapes.

I know you have been doing this (to bring out those wooden pergola posts, for example), yet it still seems a bit mid-grey to me, especially towards the right edge of the picture.

Maybe you should look carefully at each element in turn – those large vine leaves, for example, and the right-hand post – and decide to make them either lighter or darker to distinguish them. When you make an area darker, try to make sure no chink of the original paper white shines through.

The vine snaking up on the left and across the top makes for a strong compositional device,  but I’m not sure where the eye is supposed to go next. I rather think the fountain, a third of the way across from the left, could make a strong focal point, framed as it is in the pergola. It would need to be white to stand out, which would mean darkening all the tones around it to define it.

Look at the photo (of a different ornamental garden) and see how the tones contrast with each other. The sunny brightness of the pool beyond the darkness of the pergola draws you into the picture. And that fountain really stands out because it is white against dark.

 ()
Reblogged from everlastingenergy
everlastingenergy:

I love this drawing, A picture of me with a small Eve sat on my leg and a tiny Eve on my head. I couldn’t resist getting a copy of this! Warrington Pyramid Arts Life Drawing

This was the drawing Eve was talking about on Tuesday. Marvelous!

everlastingenergy:

I love this drawing, A picture of me with a small Eve sat on my leg and a tiny Eve on my head. I couldn’t resist getting a copy of this! 

Warrington Pyramid Arts Life Drawing

This was the drawing Eve was talking about on Tuesday. Marvelous!

 ()
EVE AT THE ALLOTMENT
Angela’s drawing of Eve drawing at the allotment a few weeks ago. Fabulous profusion of rich detail in a composition that focuses on the intense absorption of the artist. I love the curving rhythms that echo the curve of Eve’s posture.
My only carp is that the red highlights could have been distributed in a more balanced way.
Of course, strictly speaking, Eve should charge a fee for this unwitting modeling session. But she already owed Angela for rescuing her from wandering lost and lonely around the mean streets of Allerton earlier that day…

EVE AT THE ALLOTMENT

Angela’s drawing of Eve drawing at the allotment a few weeks ago. Fabulous profusion of rich detail in a composition that focuses on the intense absorption of the artist. I love the curving rhythms that echo the curve of Eve’s posture.

My only carp is that the red highlights could have been distributed in a more balanced way.

Of course, strictly speaking, Eve should charge a fee for this unwitting modeling session. But she already owed Angela for rescuing her from wandering lost and lonely around the mean streets of Allerton earlier that day…

 ()
Reblogged from ryanmcjunkin
ryanmcjunkin:

one or two minute pose

I was looking for an example of the magical way line can imply bulk. I have heard cathedral architecture described as ‘the enclosure of space’, which seems subtly different to ‘building’. This drawing reminds me of that.

ryanmcjunkin:

one or two minute pose

I was looking for an example of the magical way line can imply bulk. I have heard cathedral architecture described as ‘the enclosure of space’, which seems subtly different to ‘building’. This drawing reminds me of that.

 ()

PABLO AND IGOR: THE UPSIDE-DOWN VIEW

If you do a Google Image search on ‘Picasso Stravinsky’ one particular image will come up again and again…

image                    If you look closely you may see variations that look like parodies of the image…

imageimage

…and, most curiously, you’ll notice that quite often the images are upside-down…

image

So what the hell is going on?

Blame Betty Edwards. She’s the art teaching guru who came up with the very persuasive and helpful approach known as ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’.

Basically, it seems the two hemispheres of the brain have differing modes of perception. While the left brain responds to everything verbally, naming and analysing things, the right brain is more visual, spatial and holistic in its perception.

It does seem that the biggest barrier preventing adults from developing their innate ability to draw is a bullying left brain. It automatically takes charge, cramps your style and makes you resort to clichés.

So one of Ms Edwards’s most celebrated exercises is to take a ready-drawn picture by (say) Picasso, turn it upside-down and copy it: line for line. The Left brain says ‘Sod this for a lark’ and drops out of the process, leaving the Right brain to enjoy itself.

There are plenty of existing drawings that might be used for this exercise, but Picasso’s picture of Stravinsky was Betty Edwards’s choice for demonstration in her book, and it is ideal. First, it is a line drawing, and the lines are very free and sure, and complicated enough to lose their ‘meaning’ (in Left-brain terms) while the image is inverted.

So you find yourself just following those lines and copying them in a cheerful state of Right-brain insouciance. And when you finish the picture and turn it over… Voilá! You might even find there’s little to choose between your effort and Picasso’s.

This right/left brain stuff has been quite a liberation in art education. A good deal of the traditional ‘warming up’ that artists have always known they needed can be seen as a shedding of left-brain dominance.

But it’s a mistake to banish left-brain perception altogether. Analysis and logic, measuring and organising all have an important place in drawing, as in all creativity. In the end, the trick is to learn to approach the process with the whole mind, with left and right inclinations in harmony, at ease with each other.

 ()

LAST PARK DRAWINGS OF THE SUMMER

September 30th was still warm enough for a final drawing session in Calderstones Park. Everybody got some promising sketches for pictures to be developed in the future. Julie (top) and Paulette (middle) made the most of it. (Note that they both thoughtfully sat themselves at the golden section of their photographs.)

The bottom picture is Marta's view. She was focusing on the uprooted trunk (right) and the rather Japanese-style descent of low branches on the pine tree (left).

 ()

LISA’S HANDS

Lisa is such a good model that it seems a waste to be drawing only part of her. However, I felt we must concentrate on hands

…because they keep being fudged – or left out altogether – in life drawings.

This is partly because we run out of time. But in that case, why should hands be left so late in the process? Is it because they occur at the extremities?
In the end, I think it is because hands, like faces, are a challenge to draw. The trouble then is that hands and faces give so much expression to a pose that we simply can’t afford to duck the challenge.
So my suggestion is that we remember to tackle hands at an earlier stage of the drawing.

We had a series of shortish poses from Lisa, and the brief was that whatever got missed out in the time available, it wouldn’t be the hands.

And this is what we got:

image

Lisa by Angela. This drawing is entirely about the hands and arms and seems totally successful to me. The character of the left hand is obscured, so the wrist has to be right – which it is. image

Same pose, by Julie. Most of the detail is concentrated in the hands and face. A good example of how well-drawn hands and a well-drawn face combine to communicate strong expression despite lack of detail elsewhere.

image

Lisa by Marta. Again, detailed work on the hands (really good) and face mean that the drawing is strong even though everything else is spare and sketchy.

image

Same pose, by Jane. It’s a tricky balance, getting the details right without sacrificing Jane’s natural freedom of stroke. In my opinion the left hand works but the right doesn’t. Just that suggestion of hinges at the wrist and knuckles gives the left hand an underlying bone structure.

imageLisa by Angela. The hands are nicely drawn. But there is a problem which stems from the fact that the hands, particularly her left hand, are closer to us than the head and torso. So this hand in particular has to be drawn bigger than it actually is for it to appear nearer.

imageSame pose, by Julie. Same problem, though here I think it is the right hand that looks particularly small in relation to the arm it is attached to.

image

Same pose, by Marta – and same problem. Even more so this time because the face is a bit big.

In fact because we are dealing with depth, which is an illusion we have to create, I think we should consciously exaggerate in this situation. The hands are near, so make them extra big: the face is further back so make it even smaller. Here’s an example:

image

This is not a picture of Lisa, and the artist (Oskar Kokoschka) doesn’t attend these drawing sessions – partly because he’s dead. But this is what I mean by ‘when in doubt, exaggerate’. There is the same foreshortening problem as Lisa’s pose (above), and the artist has embraced it by making the hands bigger, and the face smaller, than the reality.

image

Finally, Lisa by Jane. This was a long pose, but Jane had given up on her drawing and started a new one with five minutes to go. Ok, the hands are a bit weak, but that is made up for, I think, by overall freshness and expressiveness.

 ()
INGRID’S GARDEN
Julie dabbling with inks and finding all sorts of possibilities by concentrating on pattern and surface. Then using wash effects to get a bit of depth beyond. It has the charm of a rather old-fashioned illustration.

INGRID’S GARDEN

Julie dabbling with inks and finding all sorts of possibilities by concentrating on pattern and surface. Then using wash effects to get a bit of depth beyond. It has the charm of a rather old-fashioned illustration.

 ()
ARTIST AND MODEL

ARTIST AND MODEL

 ()

DRAWING IN THE ALLOTMENT

…on a late summer afternoon. There’s not much to beat drawing as a way of experiencing a time and place like this – regardless of the results. Actually the results were quite promising, though nothing was quite finished.

Above: Jane and Angela

Middle: Paulette and Eve

Below: Onions by Paulette. They were hanging against the greenhouse pane. Some subtle colours in those onions though perhaps coloured pencils are not at their best on a mid-tone paper.

 ()

BACK TO BLACK

Two landscapes by Graham Sutherland and (below) John Piper's painting of Coventry Cathedral painted the day after the devastating air raid in 1940. The use of black ink or paint adds strength and emotion. Something like the use of shadows in film noir.

 ()

JAPANESE GARDEN

Same subject, different angles, by Paulette (top) and Jane. Both had limited colours to hand, and Paulette could have done with a green, in particular. Jane thought she might have used blue (ie sky) as background, but the brown works a treat, especially as a warm contrast to the cool green.

Both pictures were on midtone paper. Jane shows a lot of confidence coming from experience, but the Indian ink is a new technique for her (see ‘The Walled Garden’ post of her first drawing of this, from another angle).

I love the strength the black gives to a picture like this. It reminds me of other artists, the English painters Graham Sutherland and John Piper for instance. (I’ll post some examples.)

 ()

HOLIDAY PICTURES: JULIE

This Pembrokeshire seascape (Top) seems just right to me. The use of pencil is very skilled – look at the contrasting marks to render restless water and solid rock, and the restraint in the background that gives plenty of distance.

Below it, not quite the same depth managed in depicting the boat, making it appear a bit like a toy. But to be fair, you were under duress at the time what with your tent having blown away in the night.