Thursday, January 14, 2010

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Day Three

After reading Chapter 5 about the development of drawing skills in children, I decided it might be wise to take a step back. Or two. Edwards points out that in the progression of artistic development, most people get stuck at around age 10, when they begin moving out of drawing in symbols (a circle represents a head, scribbles represent hair), and into drawing in a realistic manner. But, most of us are never able to work out the many problems inherent in making a realistic drawing of something in “real life.” We get frustrated that we can’t “get it right,” conclude that we “can’t draw” because we don’t have the talent, and give it up for life. Sad, huh?

So, seeing as Brother Bear is still in the “symbology” stage of his drawing development, I figured we might back it up a bit, keep our drawing lessons on his level, and try drawing more symbolically. I asked him what kind of drawing he wanted to do, "realistic" or “stuff like cartoons and superheros”, and he said "both". That was enough of an opening for me...I suggested we start with drawing one of his favorite cartoon characters, and that’s what we did today.

When I was in HS (my first day in a new HS after moving, come to think of it), we did reproductions using graphs. (I still have the poster of Nessie that I reproduced from a magazine ad hanging in my study - weird the stuff that sticks around, isn’t it?). So, I got us started using basically the same technique. Yesterday I spent about an hour making two “viewfinders” from sheets of glass and heavy black posterboard, so we were all set.

Our "subject", Sonic The Hedgehog, seen through a gridded viewfinder. We were just focusing on Sonic and the poster he is holding, leaving off the background elements.

Corresponding grids on our drawing paper.

Brother Bear's initial sketch, with poster colored.

Color added.

Final product (signed) with poster detail.

Brother Bear still is not entirely satisfied with what he is able to produce, but this process has helped him get a better sense of proportion. He did realize that he got his "grids" confused during the initial sketch process, which is why the spikes on the head and the poster are elongated. I keep emphasize the learning process as we go along, and I think with some practice he'll get to a place where he's more comfortable with his finished products. It probably doesn't help that he's learning "with" someone much older and a wee bit further along in their development. We talked about the developmental process, and I think he's okay with being where he is for now. That can be tough at any age.

Mama Bear's initial sketch.

After deliniating with Sharpie and erasing pencil marks.

I went for colored pencils instead of bold marker, 'cause I'm just girly that way.
After an hour and a half, I didn't have the patience or inclination to do the poster detail...another whole figure. For me, "good enough" was. Maybe next lesson we'll do Spiderman. Though I'm leaning toward Scooby Doo...

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