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.