As this is going to be a sketchy approach – you don’t need to use an eraser, but I recommend starting light with the pencil at first and only getting darker when you’re more confident about the general proportions.
Start with a few big, gestural shapes to approximately place the forms of the pot and leaves.
Then place a few leaves at the limits of the group.
The furthest left, furthest right, top etc.
Then once you’ve got these more extreme placements, it’s easy to just fill in the leaves that fill the space between.
Pay attention to the particular character of each individual leaf. Some are more round, some are oblong etc.
Finally, make the darker edge of the leaf forms darker (with a heavier line) – the darker edge will tend to be facing away from the light.
Once you’ve done that, you can pop a few coats of fixative over the pencil sketch.
This short lesson will show you some techniques for making better corrections in your artworks. Proportions can be really tricky, so it’s handy to have a few tricks up your sleeve when trying to figure out what’s going wrong. These principles apply to both drawing and painting – whenever you’re working realistically.
Start by plotting a few basic points on the paper.
You can use a vertical guideline (like the one above) to help get started.
Pay attention to where the subject crosses this line, as well as how far to the right or left of the line it is.
Use simple lines to approximately block in the main proportions of the form that you’re copying.
Don’t worry if it’s not accurate – you will just be using this as a starting point.
The image on the left is my first at the foot and the one on the right is my corrected version.
I primarily relied on ‘horizontal and vertical alignments’ to make the necessary adjustments.
To do this I chose a point and imagined a horizontal or vertical line travelling out from it. Then I used that line to tell whether other points matched it’s placement (were they too high or too low etc.).
This little trick will help you to problem solve when something is wrong with the proportions in your drawing or painting.
In this series we will be working from a sculpture in the Met Museum collection in New York. This is a great exercise for learning traditional drawing techniques in charcoal. The MET is a great free resource for artists who want to copy from high quality images and references.
In the final sessions of this three part series, I will show you how to use accents, texture and quick blending techniques to get a finished look fast.