Task 1: Observational Drawing

Observe this line drawing. Copy the direction of the lines, the angles of the lines and carefully observe where they start and where they end. Look into the negative spaces to see the shapes that have been created…how big is the triangular shape created between lines? Or that semi circle or conical shape? By looking only at shapes and lines you will start to draw more accurately.

This is because the right side of your brain is looking at the image, not the left. If it is the left you may have noticed what this image is…



A bird!

If you draw it this way your left side of the brain will see ‘wings’, a ‘head’, a ‘beak’… when this happens you are less likely to draw accurately. You will accidentally draw what you think it should look like, rather than what it really does look like.

So this task gives you the opportunity to build on how to use the right side of your brain when drawing from observation. Go on to more complex line drawings to challenge how you are seeing these objects.

Turning the images upside down helps with the right side of your brain to work better. Use grids on top to help further with seeing where the lines meet, and which shapes the lines create when they meet or diverge.

You can even cover part of the image with paper and observe each part of the image in turn, completely taking away any familiarity of the image and letting the right side of your brain do its job.

At OCAD we look at the following two as a good start and also a challenge. Turn your drawing the right way round at the end to be amazed at how accurate you can be.


A simple horse for your first go 🙂

For a bigger challenge:

Picasso: 1973 Portrait Igor Stravinsky


You can use any line drawing to give it a go.

When you take on your still life observations next time, the task will seem that bit easier when you reduce the image in front of you, into shapes, lines, distances, angles and negative spaces.

Give it a go 🙂

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Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART




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