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Drawing: With a Pencil


Drawing with a pencil is much harder, in my opinion, than drawing with paint. With paint, I can choose the shades of colors to represent darker areas. Green looks like green and red looks like red.

Not so with pencil. Pencil is a gray world. And you can't fill an area with pencil like you can paint. Pencil is also a world of lines. Fat lines, maybe, if you lay the pencil's tip on its side, but it's still lines.

Drawing is the root of all painting, and so practice is important. For me, it feels like exercise first thing in the morning. I get up, I don't want to do it, but I know it's good for me.

I mentioned that last night I drew while at the playground with Jacob. Here's what I drew:

My scanner muddies this up a bit, but you get the idea. And here's the actual picture:

When I draw from a photo, it's much easier to "measure," or compare distances. But it's much tougher when viewing it live. You can see how I skewed the bench, in particular the bench on the right. Where did those curves come from?

Trees give me fits. So much texture and complex shading... how do you do that with a pencil in a sketch and make it look real? More good practice.

So today, Cub and I went back to the playground. After playing for a while, I went back to the bench and started to sketch this tree:

And here was what I did:

I'm not happy with it, but again, it's all good practice.

For what it's worth, if you enjoyed the bike ride video last week, here's another one, which is a short ride through my apartment complex.

I came home from my little bike ride and found my son and his girlfriend playing their new favorite game together, Boggle. They had this layout:

Boggle is a great game. The key to big points is how you look for suffixes and prefixes that lead to larger words. They're learning this, but with this layout, they only managed a few 5-letter words and the rest were smaller. New to the game, they couldn't see these two 6-letter words:

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that how we see things is the key to success, whether it be painting or management or Boggle - whatever. The techniques, once known to us, don't really require great skill of any kind that we don't already have, but simply practice in how to see things in a way that helps us to our goal.

It's a good Sunday...


Read the whole story of "Drawing and Painting"
Tags: boggle | drawing
by Brett Rogers, 4/10/2005 1:46:56 PM


OK, please remember that this is coming from a non-artist and is only meant to be a point from which you might take a different look at something.
That being said, when I was in HS, I took a drawing class that I LOVED. The one thing I took away from it was using symbols to draw. Or, how not to use symbols to draw. Like when we are little kids, and we draw a nose with one of two letters: L or O. Because that seems to be the symbol that makes us think of noses. To make a nose look like a real nose, you don't use anything close to an L or an O. You don't USE somehting at all, you draw what you see. Thats easy to think about when you are an adult, that a nose isn't an L or an O. But as adults, we draw other things as symbols of what we think might represent it. Like a big cloud figure with two lines coming out for a tree, when in reality no tree really looks like a green cloud. That symbol usage is more like cartooning than reality drawing. And honestly, when I saw your pine trees, the first thing I thought was, wow, Brett thinks pine trees are symbolized by lots of tiny triangles. On the other hand, I thought your trunks looked very realistic.
If you are in any way offended by that, please delete my comment! But also know that I can't draw that well. And that when my blog is back up, I'm going to have an art section to put my stained glass and my other art, all because of you!



Posted by Stefanie, 4/11/2005 1:10:22 PM

I think with your pencil drawings, your lines need to be more defined, for example, on the full bench. The first drawing the trees aren't too bad. The second one isn't as good, but like you said practice makes perfect.
Great finds on the Boggle game too!!



Posted by Anonymous, 4/11/2005 1:19:16 PM

Hey Stefanie

Your comment will stay - unless it's vulgar or rude to someone else here, I'd never delete it.

When it comes to faces, I sketch very well. That may be because my high school art teacher, Mr. Ford, had us work on them quite a bit. (He was a great teacher, too!)

But trees? I suck at trees, as I suggested in this post. Deciduous trees, I do relatively well with them. But coniferous with pencil? I'm aghast at my own work, but then it's all practice.

The triangles... I was trying to get the shape of the ends of the branches, but it didn't come out as I wanted at all. More opportunity for practice. I think it's important to be able to sketch anything with pencil adequately.

And glad that you'll be putting your stuff online when you come back. That's awesome!

By the way, any thoughts on Mr. Schmid's book so far?



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 4/11/2005 2:01:14 PM

Hi Mom :)

Yep - more practice to do on the trees. I'll put more pencil sketches up here down the road and we'll see if I'm improving. And Boggle is such a great game. It's good for thinking in new ways.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 4/11/2005 2:03:28 PM

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