Saturday, 31 January 2015

Day 3 - How to see


We have all started moving baby steps forward. I did not think it fair if I did not do the exercise along with you guys, so I went out and got myself a pretty looking dried leaf to sketch.

I am hoping you still have your leaf with you else you can always pick up a new leaf. Keep it at a distance on the table and just see it. Outline the contour with your eyes. Trace every ups and downs, notice how the leaf undulates, just observe. Due to lack of water, the leaf shrivels up and has a tendency to curve towards the central vein of the leaf. Notice how the colour changes depending on how much light it catches. The only reason you are able to see the leaf is because of the light reflected off the surface of the leaf. The darker areas are less clear due to the absence of light.

Since the leaf is amorphous in shape, you do not have flat areas of light and dark as you would notice in a cube. It is neither purely cylindrical, spherical or conical.

In this image, you can notice that light comes from the top left hand side corner. The surfaces that it reaches are bright white (Highlight) and as the rays of  light disappear behind the object, the darkness creeps in gradually. The intensity of darkness is relative to the position on the object. 
Just observe this leaf. The light source is on the top left corner. The left top edge of the leaf is bending over towards the center causing shadow as the area below is shielded from the light. The center bottom of the leaf folds up and you can see the underside of the leaf which is lifted above the floor and is darker as light does not reach it. The right end of the leaf catches most of the light as it is facing upwards except for the slight bend of the top giving it a curve. Overall the leaf throws a shadow (cast shadow) onto the floor which varies in degrees of darkness depending on how high the leaf is off the floor. Some areas receive flat light as in the cube, some are cylindrical and some conical.

When you shade such an object or any object for that matter, imagine you are shading on the actual object! Think your pencil/pen is on the leaf. Now with the above observation, try outlining the leaf again with your eyes. Repeat another two times, go slow, don't rush. From where you are sitting, look at your leaf, lift up your pen/pencil and draw mid-air over the leaf. Go over the contour again. It is important for you not to change the position of your head as if you do, your viewing angle changes which will change the shape of the form also the shading on the object. So maintain your view point and outline mid-air again. 

Now sketch the leaf on paper, shading the darkness and leave the lit areas blank. That is your 'Highlight'. Do not forget the lessons you learnt in the past couple of days. Your hands should not feel restrained, let them move freely over the paper. There is no right or wrong. We are only seeing how much you improve every day.



Please note the detail of the shading, I am not following any particular rule of shading. I am just scribbling over areas which are darker a whole lot more than those which are lighter. It is alright if you sketch incorrectly, just go over and correct it. 

See how the amount of lines used lighten or darken an area. We will get to the various kinds of shading later. For now, scribble away.

Once done, compare the sketch you did yesterday to today's sketch. Which is better according to you?

More on next!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Day 2 - Bye Bye Erasers!

Hello there...

How are we doing today? I'm being hopeful in assuming that you guys not only read what I write but also try to do what I ask you to do. Call it *wishful thinking* but I have my full faith in you! Besides, these 'tasks' if you choose to see them as tasks will hardly take five minutes out of your life. :)

How many of you were armed with erasers for yesterday's exercise? Considering you were just scribbling away to glory, I doubt you would have needed erasers. However, if you had them at your desk, it's time to say Bye Bye to them!

The best way to learn from mistakes is to first see your mistakes. My laziness helped me out when I was learning to sketch; I was too darned lazy to take the eraser out of my bag and place it on my desk :D

I work and re-work my sketches so you can see all the strokes which go wrong as well. It's okay for it to look that way. We are not making finished paintings right now.


It is okay to have lines going here and there, just correct them as you move forward. We will get to human anatomy later but this was just to give you an idea of how messy you are permitted to get. It's been a while since I used an eraser and I hope you don't use one either.

I love sketching with pens. They provide lesser friction with the surface and there is no way I could use an eraser if I wanted to! Don't say 'Whiteners'!!! They make your sketches ugly... I have tried :D
If you notice I have literally just scribbled out the leaf using rough strokes, not particularly making it detailed but just to capture the feel of the leaf. Ignore the weird looking spider-like ant. We shall get to that at a later stage. We are only on Day 2. 
Today what you guys are going to do is somewhat like yesterday's exercise. You are going to just scribble. However, find a dried leaf and make your scribbles look somewhat like the leaf. Darken your scribbles where you feel it needs to be darker, don't scribble as much where you feel there is light. Point to note, I want you to only scribble, not make outlines. There is no right or wrong here, so just go with the flow.

From yesterday's scribble you would have noticed that you can make things darker by either increasing pressure of your pencil/pen on paper or by going over the scribble once more. At this juncture, I would request you to not apply too much pressure on the paper.
If you notice here, I am not trying to restrict my movement. Yes it looks more like a duck at the moment :D but it is okay. We are more concerned about breaking away your inhibitions. Just let your hand move freely.
If the video isn't loading, please click on the following link
Video on Scribbling

Don't wonder what pen or pencil to use/what paper to use, I just grabbed whatever my hands could find. 

That's all for today folks! If you feel I am moving at a fast pace and want me to slow down, feel free to comment. Your suggestions are welcome. I obviously will not be able to tailor make my blog to suit everyone's needs but I can try to generalize so that it's not entirely scary. Remember... sketching is fun!

Ciao!

PS You can email me your sketches if you'd like to seemabzaheera@gmail.com
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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Day 1 of days to come in waking up SB! (Please refer to previous blog for full form :P)

Ellooo

What I failed to mention in my previous blog was that there is complexity in simplicity. If only things were really as simple as people say they were! How many of you tried Step 1 and failed miserably! *raising hand*

Don't worry! I still can't shut up that voice but what I can do is turn a deaf ear to it. It's your built in system of defense. So, either you stop listening to it or whatever the voice says you can't (creatively) change it to you can.

Start by picking up a pencil/pen today and scribble. Get your frustration out! Don't look for meaning or for form. Stop labeling it, stop defining it, let it just be a pure existence in space created by you.

Just scribble! Don't think. Definitely do not copy this :D

Once you are done scribbling, do not throw it away. Look at it with pride. You just created an 'Expressionistic' work of art!. Don't go 'Oh no! Here come the big words!!!' That's that voice of yours again. Ignore it!
 
Let me explain what it means:

Expressionism is an artistic style in which the artist attempts to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in him.
courtesy www.artmovements.co.uk/expressionism.htm
Basically, it says that you paint what you feel rather than what you see. An apple need not look like an apple! Go on, look at your work. It is as meaningful as the emotions you felt during sketching. Save this piece of work. It's officially your first work of art! Be back soon.... on Day 2! ;)

Why I'm blogging!

Dear creative souls, (yes I'm talking to you)

So you think you are not creative, well guess what, so do most of the people on earth! Fact is, we were all born creative but as we started growing up, we have been conditioned and have conditioned ourselves to stop thinking outside the box and are happily cushioned within it, with our flat screens and our smart phones and all the thingamajigs! So, it's time we went back digging inside our brains and kiss sleeping beauty awake!

I paint, for fun, you know... the whole art for art sake and am very much part of the 'I shall not sell my soul to commercialism!' movement. Ok! Stop laughing! There really are people like me who sketch or paint or create for the sake of creation as it is just simply so much fun... if you only knew!

I recently found out, that most have no clue how to wake up their inner Sleeping Beauty! (we shall refer to her as SB from now on :) )

Step 1 is really simple. You know that little voice at the back of your head which tells you why you should not do most of the things that you want to do??? Find a way to shut it up.

You are already half way there to waking up SB!

Step 2 is also darned easy. You have been doing this step all your life subconsciously. It is time for you to be a wee bit more conscious. I'm assuming if you are reading this blog, you can see. Well it is time you started using those eyes of yours. Don't just glance hither thither, really look around you. Observe, comprehend, register. Use your very own built-in High-Res Camera, your eyes, to capture images in your head.

Step 3 is like riding a bike. I was always super scared to ride a bicycle. With practice, it was just a matter of understanding the basic principal, pedal faster for better balance! Sketching is a lot like riding a bike. Be confident of pedaling (or in this case your lines) and you will reach your destination in a more comfortable ride.

Once you get a hold of the above three steps, what happens is you arrive at your signature style, with experience. What you sketch can be clearly identified as yours and the feeling that you get is probably what Buddha called Enlightenment.

Since I feel as though I'm almost THERE (under the Bodhi tree), I thought I'd share what I know hoping that you might get THERE as well :D

More on next!

Keep scribbling!