Warm ups. We’ll talk about getting our hands ready to draw, giving a thought or two to posture. And how we’ll be using dynamic moving subjects to challenge our observational and spontaneous drawing skills. About tools: The one in your hand and your hand itself. And Ideas about keeping looser compositions when studying. We’ll talk about the important idea of Hierarchy! What to draw first, and how to go about capturing the energy of a drawing, which in the end, down to moving your body with energy first. Relevant posts on the site are Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here.
The class will also spend some time working with a slow or systematically repetitive moving subject on video for the first time, getting familiar with proper fluid gesture drawing technique. We’ll use this as a warm up for the next few classes as well, as preparation for live moving models.
Assignments: Sketchbooking begins! Draw a new sketch every day. At least one. More I fine. it can be anything. As the course progresses though, try applying things we do in the classes to subsequent sketches. We’ll also have a very short demo of some wet media tools, how to draw with a brush, work in ink wash and watercolor. And incorporate it all into our sketchbooking!
Must Do Exercises! You will NOT get better if your are NOT drawing ALL the time. In your sketchbook, i want to see at least three, FULL, filled, pages of drawing exercises each week! You can pick your own subjects for observed sketches. And tackle things you have problems with. But Don’t JUST draw what makes you happy or you find easy. To learn new tools and master control, do repeating Pattern work often, for anatomy study heads, feet & hands. Pick on things you want to improve. The things that give you the most trouble!
This class will require comfortable fitting cloths, something you would wear for yoga. We’ll open with a demo of using a Asian style brushes and ink to draw to open this class.
Then after a short talk on the reasons for this unorthodox lesson, for the first hour of our second class we will be instructed in the basics of the Martial Art of Tai Chi by Jérémie Poitras from the The Montréal Tai Chi Club.
We will be taught breathing and relaxation techniques, and then given a simple beginners introduction to this ancient graceful martial art. There is no expectation that anyone master the art in this class or later. Simply to get a taste, and learn some core ideas about both how to be aware of your body, and how to relax and focus the mind.
After the Tai Chi instruction we will take a short break, and then be treated to a show of the Jérémie demonstrating some more advanced moves, while we draw him for another hour. This will drawing session will focus on fast gesture drawing, and requires large sheets of cheep drawing paper, and something on the soft side to draw with. I recommend children’s crayons! Seriously, though Conté would work as well.
Assignment: Second wave of sketchbook practice, adding to your pattern work, observational drawing too. Start drawing people around you. Use fast gesture to capture impressions of passengers on the metro, in classes, cafes. Anywhere you seen them and have a moment free take out a small sketch book and draw people and places using the fast gestural study technique i’m introducing you too.
Exercise! Refine patterns, and take some to elaborate into doodles. Start doing geometric forms as well. Keep up the pace. Minimum three pages of work on things your find difficult EVERY WEEK! Do more if you can. you will get better faster in direct proportion to the amount of purposeful practice you put in, especially at the beginning.
This will be a lecture class. There will be two talks, one on composition, one on perspective. Don’t be late!
Students are encouraged to make copious sketches and notes about the various material presented and the remaining time in this class will be give over to developing some of these and answering questions.
How to order what to draw when so you don’t have to stop to think about it when you’re doing it: The pro’s and cons of classical more structure oriented ways of drawing your environment, and more organic ones that follow the motion and energy of their subjects rather than perfectly reproducing their form: How to interpret space itself and improvise your way past all the rulers and fears about perspective.
Assignment: Go out and sketch spaces in your environment, streets, park, homes. Employ a loose gestural freehand sketching approach, and the free hand curvilinear perspective approach to the subjects. And try doing second drafts with some kind of spacial distortion employed as well! See the presentation pdf’s for notes on the strategies and structure we’ll discuss in class. Watch the architecture video series.
Exercise! Continue your pattern practices and doodling, now using things you see in your observed environment. Bricks, tiles, textiles, leaves, grass, water. learn the rhythms of the textures. Have you tried drawing on the bus or Metro yet? Look for tile work at the stations, and other patterns. Copy them in your sketchbook. And look for patterns in textures. Grass, dirt, stone. Copy those too. Also tackle the perspective exercises you see at the bottom of the page here as well.
This will be a Workshop class, we’ll be looking at some sample images, and applying things we talked about in the previous class to understand how the composition works, and playing with perspective, framing, and other devices.
Assignment: Apply new wet media to sketchbook practices. Along with using them in your observational sketching, use tones in pattern regimes with the brush tools. Watch supplemental clips on using wet media and spotting shadows. If you want to explore those further make an exercise page on mixed media paper and try out the techniques you see here in this set of clips.
Introduction of the idea of a Long Study Series: Do a series of breakdowns of any selected image you want to learn from or refine for a final composition. Using the rule of thirds, simplification, light and shadow studies, and colour studies, develop the idea, or break down how someone else did.
Curation: Select an image to do a long compositional and multiple media study of. Make it something you like, as you’ll be drawing it at least 12 times! It can be a photo, or art by a master you admire. You will be doing color pallet studies, texture studies, contour and form studies, abstraction studies, and computational breakdowns. So ideally the image should offer lots of things to explore in those areas. At the end of this, you’re render a new version of it, in a style you’ll choose, employing what you learn during the series.
Exercise! Continue to refine your pattern work, targeting those that you find harder, and inventing new ones if you feel you’ve mastered the one’s you started with. Incorporate textures from your long series study as well. Not enough? Consider looking at textile patterns for ideas for more challenging regimes. And try organic forms, do some studies of water rippling and waves.
This will be our second session with a dynamic model, the first live. It’ll mostly be very fast paced quick gesture work, learning to have a very spontaneous line, how to observe the subject, quickly catch an impression of a pose and/or the movement through space, and with a fluid gesture line catch that on the page in :30 seconds to 1.30 minutes!
At the end as a cool down for the class, we’ll then have a few longer poses, to experiment with taking a gesture to a more complete stage.
Assignment: Tackle some moving subjects in your sketchbook studies, from either video or the real world.
Exercise! Continue pattern exercises, targeting working with new tools and challenges for yourself. Start copying bodies and body parts using mannequin structures, and feathering with your brush in organic waves. Ultimately to emulate hair, fabric, fibers and grass.
This student favorite is the only session that is typically held offsite, at Cat’s Corner Swing Dance School, a few blocks from the school. We typically arrange to quietly sit off to one side while dance students are taught various swing & blues moves.
It’s a full immersion into the experience of drawing subjects we don’t control. applying attentive observations and your fastest gesture skills to capture. Often the class is no more than two hours long, so we’ll often have a chance to talk about the experience in a cafe after nearby.
Assignment: Do more urban sketching of spaces, and experimenting with distortion and perspective. And continue to tackle some novel moving subjects in your sketchbook studies, from either video or the real world. Consider street fairs, live shows, burlesque clubs, dance schools, skate parks, all as valid locations to go to sketch, as you would museums and studios.
Study Series 2:
Exercise! Continue pattern exercises, targeting working with new tools and interesting challenges for yourself. Do a series of loose brush gestures based on your studies from the dance class. Find ways to stylize the line and express movement and form with the fewest lines. Remember the rules of thirds and action potential of leading space/placement.
After warming up, the class will share any work they’ve done and questions raised by their Long Series Studies.
Then for the majority of the sessions, we’ll apply some sketching techniques, freehand perspective, and compostion notes from Class 3 and Class 4, in service of Plein Air sketching via tools like Google Street View.
Study Series 3:
Exercise! Continue pattern exercises, targeting working with new tools and exciting challenges for yourself.
This class we’ll have in theatrical combat specialists, who will perform while we draw them! Starting with short 3 to 10 min studies, students will be encouraged to explore and experiment with alternate mediums and extended durations as the class proceeds. Building up and developing more layered and nuanced studies.
During breaks we’ll have demos on spotting shadows and using them to build up an expressive composition. Using it to capture depth, lighting, drapery, and creating the illusion of motion. And suggesting movement through the image place, sculpting the space with light and dark.
Assignment: Do some simple line gesture studies of combat photos posted on the class site from past sessions. Attempt to express the Forces you see in the combat poses, with line quality and gesture. Also do some light and shadow studies incorporating your wet media wash tools or some other means of adding shade/tone.
Study Series 4:
Exercise! Continue pattern exercises, targeting working with new tools and new challenges for yourself.
It’s always over too soon! Before our last class I like to keep one session open to work on ideas and things that come up with specific students and spend some time with you all doing studies. We’ll have time to curate some work for the school vernissage as well, and get feedback from fellow students and the teacher on your work.
Study Series 5:
Exercise! Continue pattern exercises, targeting working with new tools and novel challenges for yourself.
For our final class we’ll have a live band in class performing while we draw them for two hours!
There will be some Instruction emphasizing making a connection to sound as a source of rhythm in our line, and a finding ways to symbolically represent it on the page. And how to use the opportunity to observe the effect of rhythm in your art.
I fully encourage students to make this a new practice. Go to your favorite low key acoustic music events, and sketch them! Look for performers in the street, plays, anywhere, and try to capture some sense of their energy as a subject. It’s a fun challenge in general and a great way to make a night out also an interesting drawing experience.
Assignment: Go to a live show on your own and draw the band! Alternately other love performances are great opportunities for observational live gesture sketching.
Assignment: Keep drawing! Keep seeking out new things, think about how you perceive them, and how you can use or distort that to create more interesting art! And don’t forget, try to do the things you find the hardest or most challenging, to push yourself to improve!
Exercise! Continue working with new tools and challenges for yourself!