case study: iterative drawing

This ex­er­cise brings to­gether a few prin­ci­ples from my pre­vi­ous posts. If you’re in the mood to to a lit­tle draw­ing (15mins).

ex­per­i­ment: pick an ob­ject (eg a cup) to draw. Divide your page into 20 rec­t­an­gles. Do a brief sketch in one of the rec­t­an­gles. For a few mo­ments, thought­fully and non-judg­men­tally re­flect on it. What in­ter­ests you, what kind of shapes are there? Draw an­other cup var­i­ant, notic­ing as you go.

This ex­er­cise is taken from the youtube video: Iter­a­tive Draw­ing, the fastest way to im­prove. 40min video. The tl;dr is the ex­er­cise above. You do a tiny draw­ing ex­per­i­ment, and non-judge­men­tally pay at­ten­tion to what hap­pened.

Iter­a­tive draw­ing is an ex­am­ple in fast feed­back loops. You try out lots of differ­ent hy­poth­e­sis and ex­plore the space of all pos­si­ble cups much faster. Of all pos­si­ble marks on pa­per you will find the once you like if you ex­plore more. If you’re to spend 15 min­utes draw­ing cups, I think I’d rather be the per­son who has drawn twenty over the per­son who has drawn one. [1]

You are gen­er­at­ing a lot of in­ter­est­ing data. And you’ve pay­ing at­ten­tion to it. Qual­ity and quan­tity. Any­thing you no­tice can then feed­back into the gen­er­a­tion pro­cess. The changes are cu­mu­la­tive. The re­sults of each ex­per­i­ment in­form the next batch of the­o­ries. Maybe the han­dles too large, per­haps a differ­ent an­gle. You’re also fo­cus­ing on the fun­da­men­tals, shape and pro­por­tion. Not fo­cus­ing on the de­tails.

A few doo­dles & in­ter­est­ing things I dis­cov­ered:


[1] I’m re­minded of that anec­dote about grad­ing pot­tery stu­dents by quan­tity. You will be marked by sheer num­ber of pots pro­duced. This strange met­ric let to much bet­ter pot­tery. story and dis­cus­sion here.

See also: Scott Young’s Por­trait Challenge

Non­judge­men­tally look­ing at the world, then mak­ing an at­tempt to draw what’s there, then ob­serv­ing the re­sults is also in part in­spired from Draw­ing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

More Brienne: an “origi­nal see­ing”-esq post.