Mini marbles are rolling on my drawing.

Hah, after typing this out I realize that most people will be like “What the fuck?” But, I did tell some friends from Angel Academy I would explain a little bit about the different methods… plus, it really helps me solidify the information in my head to write it out.

Here is a little progress on the cast I am working on. The process is quite a bit different than Angel Academy but the more I learn about this method and the more I read about the Russian Academy method the more I start to see how they are all just different ways to get at the same issues.

While the block-in is done entirely by visually assessing the shapes, the tonal stage is done by understanding the structure (this is different from what I thought Grand Central Academy taught… I thought it was all visual). I started by making a gradation from a dark halftone next to the shadow to the lightest part of the specific form I am working on. Then I break that into separate planes really thinking about what direction each individual plane is facing and where it starts and ends. I am not making values based on the values I see but making them based on which direction a specific plane is facing. Facing farther away from the light source? Make it darker. Facing closer to the light source? Make it lighter. After breaking it into planes I “feel” the cast by pretending a tiny marble is rolling over the surface of the cast at the same time I ghost my pencil over my drawing (which also amazingly has a little mini marble on the tip!). I haven’t quite got this down yet but at some point I will hopefully get into the zone and it will be like I am actually feeling the cast as I draw (even though I am just looking at). Any confusion? Feel free to ask if you are interested. It really helps me to go back over this stuff that I learn, type it out and try to explain what it is that I am doing.

Anyways, still trying to get it all down… this is all new to me so it will take a little time to get used to.

Just a close up of the top left portion of the cast. I started at the very top left and am moving down (its getting smoother/flatter!… and I hope more-so than this pictures shows because it looks a bit pixelated!).




5 thoughts on “Mini marbles are rolling on my drawing.

  1. Wow, this is pretty interesting. So what’s the ultimate goal for this kind of method? Once your brain automatically envisions planes and marbles rolling across them, does it apply for every drawing you might do? Let’s say you draw a landscape. Will you see the clouds and trees as planes in space?

    • Those are interesting questions.

      The ultimate goal of this method is to get the artist to think about the structure of what they are drawing. If we are able to see the planes of each object we draw and in what direction they are facing,then we can more accurately construct the object in two dimensions.

      Our eyes do all kinds of things to play tricks on us. They dilate constantly based on whether we have looked at something bright or dim and they trick us into thinking that a value is darker than it is (because it is surrounded by light) or lighter than it is (because it is surrounded by dark). By conceptualizing the form we are able to draw the values based on the direction the planes are facing rather than what we think we see. This will make the drawing closer to what is actually there and not what our eyes are telling us is there.

      While clouds and trees do still abide by the same principles to a certain extent, they also sort of bend the rules because they are somewhat transparent and light moves through the form. Squint down and a cloud or tree will still have structure with both a light side and a shadow side but sometimes the light will move through the form and show up on the shadow side (which can become confusing). I don’t know a lot about this but I do remember reading a little bit in James Gurney’s book “Color and Light”.

      Hope this answers your questions. I am still learning this stuff so don’t know if this reply is accurate or not… just my thoughts.

      • I think I understand. Natural outdoor objects are a little different than solid objects like furniture, a hand, a house, etc. I like what you said about our eyes playing tricks on us. Cameras do too, right? Is it even possible to use this method with a photograph?

      • Hm. I would say it is more a difference between translucent objects versus opaque objects. Drawing water for example is going to be quite a bit different than drawing a rock even though both are natural outdoor objects. Water is quite translucent while a rock is opaque. It is all about what happens when light hits the object (after all, we really are only seeing light, not chairs, people, rocks, trees…). When looking at an opaque object all of the light will be reflected back to the eye while when looking at a translucent object only some of the light will be reflected back and some will move through the object.

        Cameras definitely do play tricks on us as well. They distort images and they also limit the range of values that are actually there.

        Whether we can use this method with a photograph or not is definitely a big question. While the exact method I describe would be pretty much impossible to use with a photograph; I do think this method will help to draw from photographs. We can’t be looking at a photograph and feeling the changes in planes because you can’t actually see all the different planes when you look at a photograph. You can only see some of them. However, if we practice with this method a lot I believe we will be able to develop an understanding of the form (along with study of anatomy… of whatever it is we are drawing) and can reference a photograph while knowing where the plane changes are. This will allow us to create a convincing drawing from a photograph. Again, I don’t know if this is true or not… just speculation. 🙂

        Thanks so much for leaving comments and asking questions! I really like getting discussions going however sporadic they are…

      • You’re welcome. I like to learn more about drawing. I’m too tied down to actually draw much now, but keeping my foot in the drawing world is my encouragement to myself that I will someday return to it.

        Your explanations are really helpful.

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