Every new class I teach is like embarking upon a new adventure mind trip.
It’s good to re-visit familiar terrain from a wholly different angle. Here, I do it upside-down, sideways, anyway-but-regular. I see it as the ultimate brain synapse challenge. Like quickie sit-ups, with a lilt!
For instance, I love drawing from Emberley. In each of the following, we start with the letter D, step-by-step. . . but holding the book itself upside down.
This is the way to see PURE SHAPE. Forget about the end result entirely.
Fact: Guess who has the hardest time doing the above — from all the people who’ve taken my illustration class — the artists, or the writers? The seasoned artists. Not all of them, but just a few. Why? It’s unfamiliar, not envisioning the end-result. These renegades then discover they are falling back into old patterns of drawing, unwilling to try something new. I remind them that this is the way to venture into new terrain. To discover new possibilities in drawing. How letting go of certain drawing habits will set them free. And when they allow it to happen, they smile. Inevitably.
Try any of the following. Bonus: If you render these, purely as shape, you can do them in ANY size, from tiny to titanic — no sizing tools needed!
Then notice how these same shapes re-occur in everything around you. . . .
These images are progressive drawings from Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals, © 1970 by Edward R. Emberley, animated as .GIFs . This book is the required textbook at my UCSD Extension class, Illustrating Books for Children. I think everyone needs this book in their lives. Follow each step. Watch it change the way you see your world.