How to begin….a review….

Approaching a new drawing subject a review for all……

1.  Look at the subject closely, from all sides, underneath and above.  Take your time learning the botany of the plant. Shapes of leaves, length of stems, thickness and curve of primary structure.  Study the character of all the attachments…how the leaves attach to the stem how smaller branches leave larger branches.  All details you can possibly see.  Do not rush this step.  Take your time the more you understand about your subject the easier it will be to draw it. Lots of studies of details are an enormous help.

2.  Sketch the subject in multiple positions…even positions you would never expect to draw in a finished drawing.  The sketches should be loose and quick, you are getting to know your subject and warming up your hand.

3.  Find the sketch that explains the plant in the most defined way and a way that offers the viewer a clear understanding of the subject. Choose a view you enjoy and that doesn’t confuse the observer.

4.  Work your contour line drawing with tissue overlays or on paper that you can work and rework your drawing until it is clear and correct.

5.  Once you have a clear drawing with all details of the plant clearly defined you are ready to transfer onto you paper of choice for your finished drawing or painting.  Be sure there are no details left undone and that there are no areas of the drawing that are not clear in any way.  Do not leave anything for “later” it will not get any easier later…I promise =)

6.  Take your contour line drawing to the light table for transfer or use transfer paper if you prefer.  Take you time transferring….do not rush.  Even the most careful transfer will miss nuance of line and will need to be closely inspected and redrawn on your final transfer.

7.  Look closely at your transferred drawing and find any lines that may have been missed or done without care.  Correct any transfer errors….again take your time this will make your drawing so much more successful.

8.  Now your ready to begin.  The observation, sketching and refining your drawing into final form is time consuming but critical.  The understanding of the subject and the care to translate it as correctly and beautifully to the page as possible cannot be skipped or rushed.

9.  Do your color studies and again take your time make sure you have the colors that are true to the subject, this is also a good time to do color studies of  the details of your subject.  Colors and form can change quickly, record them while your subject is still fresh.  Take photos for future reference.

10. Enjoy =)

Contour drawing on tracing paper ready for transfer onto watercolor paper

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