Exercise: Two-Dimensional Drawing

Aim: To explore two-dimensional outline drawing

Materials: Paper, B pencil, eraser, and small, flat objects

Time: Anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes per drawing

Set Up: Leaves in various shapes are perfect objects to choose for this exercise, and flowers such as daisies or pansies are also good options; old-fashioned keys, seashells, feathers, old jewelry, and small, flat pebbles are all suitable as well. Natural, irregular shapes are easier to draw than manufactured objects.

For this exercise, you will draw a frame on a piece of paper that your object can fit inside. Sit your object on this as you draw so that you have clear reference points to help you get the size and shape right. The size doesn't matter, so long as your object fits mostly inside it, and the frame isn't too much bigger. This will give you clear horizontal and vertical points of reference. Draw another frame of the same size on a piece of drawing paper for your sketch. >>>

Practice drawing all kinds of small objects.

Start Drawing: Choose a distinctive spot along the edge of your object, close to one edge of the frame you've drawn. Estimate the position of this spot in relation to the sides of the frame, and find the corresponding spot in the empty drawing frame. Now you simply follow along the edge of the object with your eyes, moving the pencil along as you go, looking frequently from the object in its box and back to the drawing in its box. Take your time, and don't worry about mistakes. See if you can draw the whole outline in one try, using the sides of the drawn frames as references to help you get the position right. Once you've drawn the outline, you can add some detail if you wish. If you have trouble, try using a ruler to measure a couple of reference points.

Review: Don't be too critical of your work at this stage. Remember, it takes time to develop drawing skills. Check that you have drawn all the visible outlines and edges of your object. If it was too easy, you might like to choose something more complex.

Explore Further: Do some more arrangements of simple objects to draw. Add some details—veins in the leaves, ridges on the shell, and so on. Try some small household objects or tools from the garage. You can set small items like these right on your drawing page so you can look at the object and your drawing at the same time.

Keep in mind as you learn more about drawing that there are no rules about art. What works for one person might not work for another. Try everything, and persevere with difficult problems, but feel free to discard anything that isn't useful to you.

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