These drawing assignments are ongoing throughout the semester. It is expected that, as an art/design major that you are always working in your sketchbook. To help you with that habit, here are some suggestions for how you can improve your technique as well as specific subjects or topics to focus your attention on a weekly basis.
Refer to this page for additional information
about keeping an artist/designer Sketchbook
For each of the weekly assignments below the choice of media is up to you. (pencil, pen, marker, charcoal, etc). The size is also up to you and the number of images per page. Since a major focus of most of these assignments is based on accurate observation, draw large enough to be able to do this. Too small and you will simply have more difficulty.
Regardless of the object you are looking at, your actual subject is light. Think of these sketches as studies or practice. Therefore you should set some kind of goal for yourself ahead of time such as, “I am going to concentrate on shading/value on this drawing. Or, I am going to try to improve on my use of line this time., etc.” This individual goal is up to you, but you should always do the following:
- look very carefully where the main source of light is coming from (if possible, position your desk lamp or other portable/moveable light source so that the object is being lit primarily from one side, not directly from above nor from the same direction that you are viewing the object from).
- pay close attention to how the surface of the object reflects the light
- pay close attention the range of value across the entire object
- pay close attention at how shadow shapes are created
- find the very brightest highlight (this will be the only place(s) where the paper remains pure white.
- find the very darkest shadow area (these few places are the only places that are black)
- shade from light areas to darker ones, not haphazardly or without purpose
- if you choose to do any smudging, do it very minimally. Excessive smudging with your finger, cloth or smudge tool will simply make your drawing look dirty. Concentrate instead on varying the pressure with your pencil to create a broad range of value.
Weekly Assignments: each of these weekly sketches will be on your website at the end of the semester
week 1: draw at least six drawings from direct observation (real things only). Three of these objects should be man-made/mechanical objects (staplers, wrenches, pliers, scissors, etc.). The other three should be organic/natural objects (fruit, veggies, trees plants, rocks, bones, etc.).
week 2: animate each of the six objects that you drew last week. This is your opportunity to be highly creative and imaginative by giving each of the objects “life”. This does not necessarily mean to simply add legs and arms, but instead “distort” the original drawing in a way that it now looks like it could move about, or is alive. This may include arms and legs, etc. but that should not be the main aspect. (a classic animation technique, called squash and stretch is an example of doing this which you might employ this week.) Exaggeration is key to this working. The objective is to try and illustrate something in motion—the act of moving (running, skipping, jumping, crawling, etc.) This is different from simply showing how something might move (with attached wheels, propeller, legs, etc.)
week 3: focus on one object only. A different object from any you have previously worked with. It must be something mechanical (not digital). It also must be a mechanical object that you can “take the cover off” to see how it works, the gears, the springs, the moving parts, etc. Draw these inner workings 6 different times. (examples; inside of a clock, bicycle gears, engine, motor, conveyor belt, etc.) Focus on a detailed, realistic representation of how these parts interact or connect with one another.
week 4: focus on one object only. A different object from any you have previously worked with. It must be something organic (not man-made). Objects with 3D form (examples; bones, vegetables, fruits, branches, roots, not flowers, etc.) Concentrate on shading. Make it look real.
week 5: draw at least six drawings from direct observation (real things only) that you pass by each day on your way from home to class. These should be things that you normally don’t notice yet you pass by them each day without seeing them. If these objects cannot be moved from their location, plan your time accordingly so that you can spend sufficient time to slowly and carefully examine every inch of their surface. Your goal is to accurately capture a likeness of each object.
week 6: draw at least six hands in different positions, from direct observation Your goal is to accurately capture the “life” of each hand.
week 7: draw at least six eyes in different positions, from direct observation Your goal is to accurately capture the “life” of each eye.
week 8: draw at least six noses in different positions, from direct observation Your goal is to accurately capture the “life” of each nose.
week 9: draw at least six heads/faces in different positions, from direct observation Your goal is to accurately capture the “life” of each heads/faces.