48. DEVELOPING MY TEACHING CHOPS (BASIC DRAWING, PART 2)
LINES CREATING THE BOUNDARIES OF SHAPE AND FORM
A significant aspect of drawing is learning how to translate the 3-dimensional visual world into line and shape in order to create convincing images. One of the tools for creating convincing spatial relationships is what we call 'perspective', but I wasn't interested in the traditional, conceptual way of mechanical one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective. I wanted the students to learn how to observe and record the shapes that create that illusion simply by looking at the shapes and angles of the objects carefully.
And I wanted the students to learn this experientially, through direct observation not through learning mechanical systems...working from large architectural structures that presented these challenges. Using just line, the students had to see the shapes of objects ('positive' shapes) in space together with the shapes of the spaces between the objects ('negative' shapes).
I took trips down to the South San Francisco industrial district and loaded my little station wagon to the brim with large containers (boxes, barrels, etc.) from which I would build large environments for the students to draw...
We're conditioned from infancy to look at 'things' rather than shapes and relationships. But it is the seeing of shapes and their relationships that drawing depends. Breaking that 'thing' conditioning is one of the first steps that I felt must be taken in learning to accurately see and it was this un-conditioning of 'thingness' that I wanted to drill into the exercises.
AXES AND FORCES, SPACES AND SHAPES
The students began with pages of a variety of compositional ideas before they began their larger drawings. I had the students experiment with varying line quality to create spatial relationships: darker and thicker lines bringing things forward, and lighter, thinner lines creating recession...
All of this was to challenge the students into thinking in new ways, becoming familiar with a variety of materials and approaches, and making what otherwise might be 'boring exercises' into an interesting project.
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