Pen and Ink Drawing

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko and Diana Bekkerman

When you’re starting to draw with pen and ink, what papers are best to use? How to make your own pen if you don’t have one handy? To learn about this and to view a quick pen and ink drawing demo, watch this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1oIQBsdkdE

Drawing with Charcoal and Pastel

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko and Diana Bekkerman

What kinds of pastels and charcoals are there? How to apply them? Watch this two-part video to get answers to these questions.  First part will introduce you to materials, and second part will show you the process of applying charcoal and pastel as well as special tricks used for shading and highlights. Go to the links below:

Drawing with Pastel and Charcoal - Introduction

Drawing with Pastel and Charcoal - Process

Drawing with Pencil - Line

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko and Diana Bekkerman

Drawing with a line seems like the most obvious drawing method, but what exactly a line is? Is there a way to create a linear drawing that will also show the lighting and the volume of an object? What are short pencils good for, and what is the secret behind using them? To learn this watch the video below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz5SRz7wwXI

Drawing with Pencil - Pencil Stroke

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko and Diana Bekkerman

When we start drawing with pencil, what are the most  important aspects to concentrate on? What kinds of pencil strokes are there and how to develop good drawing habits regarding pencil stroke? You’ll learn more about that in this 7-minute video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX8fL3_iTLk

Setting Up for Drawing

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko and Diana Bekkerman

Good professional habits are an integral part of  successful drawing. Often we don’t even think about the way we hold our pencil, or about the way our drawing board is set up - we just do it on autopilot. However, exactly because we are not paying attention to these things, they have a power to slow down our progress without us even knowing it. That’s why it’s important to develop good professional habits from the beginning.

Here is an 8-minute video which will show you exactly how to set up your drawing board,  what’s the best way to hold a pencil as you start your drawing, and why.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjSnMcG-mtE

Drawing Materials and Papers

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko and Diana Bekkerman

Here is a 7-minute video in which Slava will give you an overview of different drawing materials and papers. You’ll also learn what is the best material for the beginner to start with, and why.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r31RgeY1XYM

Enjoy, and put your comments below.

Before You Start Drawing

by Diana Bekkerman and Vyacheslav Shevchenko

It took us some time to transition from articles to videos. In the future, we plan to do a lot of video posts - for video seems like a most suitable and efficient medium for drawing instruction.

Here is a link to the first 7-minute art education video where Slava shares some key points about drawing that are often ignored by students and teachers alike, and that are crucial to creating quality work as an artist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KSL7lHXmsU

Enjoy, and leave your comments below.

Notes from Personal Experience: Statics and Dynamics

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko

In my freshman year in college I was doing my homework - a cityscape. I found a nice view, and drew a sketch from life. At home, I got myself busy working on a composition. I was drawing buildings, bus stop and people. I drew the passing cars on the road, but suddenly I ran into a problem. All my cars that were supposed to be in motion were standing still like a  bus on a bus stop. I was very upset with this drawing. I did it over many times, changing the composition. I drew the road vertically, horizontally, even diagonally. I changed the size of the buildings making them larger, I made the cars smaller - nothing helped.

I kept working on this drawing, getting more and more frustrated with it. One night I got so angry with it, that I partly erased the cars, and went to bed. All night I was dreaming of drawing racing cars. I woke up in the morning with a headache, and in a bad mood. I hated my drawing, and I hated myself.

As I approached my easel, I was sunned. The cars in my drawing were moving! There was a feeling of motion, although they were only partly visible. And then I understood - if you want to show motion, don’t draw the object fully, show only parts of it. Our eye concentrates on static objects, and because they are standing still, it could read all the details. Yet when an object is moving, we have no time to grasp everything, we only see it partially. As I realized this, it didn’t take me long to finish the composition.

Statics, Dynamics, and Inner Movement

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko

Continuing our drawing theme, today we’ll talk about statics, dynamics, and inner movement.

Image 2a

Image 2a

Image 1

Image 1

Image 2

Image 2

All of the objects that surround us are still or moving in relationship to each other. For instance, houses are static in relationship to us from our point of view, but they are moving in relationship to the Earth’s axis, etc. Thus, everything is relative. Statics or stillness is a state in which there is no movement. You could find an example of this in image 1 - a static figure of a man, and a standing tree.

But once we extend our hand to pick up an object, once we change our point of support, especially if we start to push or pull something, we become dynamic - see images 2 and 2a.

In nature, stillness could be transformed into movement by a strong wind. We can see how a still, peaceful tree becomes dynamic, and it evokes a totally different emotional state.  See image 3.

dynamics-image-4

Image 3

Image 4

Image 4

In image 4 you can see an example of inner movement. In the first drawing, the figure is standing in a static, still pose. The axis of movement corresponds to the central axis of the standing figure (AB). Second drawing shows the positions of chest and pelvis in relationship to the central axis and to each other. In the third drawing in you can see a figure standing still and leaning on one foot. Fourth drawing shows how the positions of pelvis and chest change in relationship to each other, and in relationship to central axis. The line CD in the drawing shows the inner movement that was created.

Image 5

Image 5

In nature, static poses are rare, and they are not very expressive. In drawing, statics and dynamics are often used together, emphasizing the contrast. See image 5.

Notes from Personal Experience: Proportions, Symmetry and Asymmetry

by Vyacheslav Shevchenko

In my student years, I often had to deal with issues related to proportions and symmetry. I remember one time when I was drawing a still-life. It consisted of different objects, and one of them was a beautiful vase. That vase was in the background, yet I was so charmed by its beauty that I concentrated on drawing its details, ignoring the objects that were in the center of still-life. As a result, the vase in the background started to dominate the composition, appearing to be bigger than it really was in relationship to other objects, and making the rest of the composition irrelevant.

From that experience, I learned two things. One was that it’s important to work on all parts of the composition simultaneously, finding objects’ placement and sizes in relationship with one another before getting into more detail. The second thing I learned was that every composition has dominant and supporting elements. Artist has to consciously choose which elements to concentrate on, and to let everything else in the composition support those elements. The key here is to be conscious of your choices. Think about works by El Greco - his elongated figures that would have looked disproportionate if taken out of context, become harmonious in his paintings. Or figures by Modigliani - they become the canon of his beauty rather than an exception.

Now I’d like to tell you another one of my student experiences that dealt directly with asymmetry. In my junior or senior year in college, I was drawing a portrait. I properly constructed the drawing, and started working on facial features. I worked hard and yet, couldn’t get the likeness. I compared right and left sides of the drawing, but my portrait didn’t look like the model that was sitting in front of me. What was the problem? I started to look carefully at the model and analyze what was wrong in my drawing. I started looking for asymmetries in model’s face, and all of a sudden I noticed that one side of his mouth was going up, one of his eyes squinted, his one eye-brow was lifted, and his jaw was tilted to the right. When I put those asymmetries in my drawing, I instantly got the likeness.

From that experience I learned that drawing from life, we have to look for proportions and characteristics that are specific to our model. We have to look more for asymmetry than for symmetry, at the same time keeping correct relationships between details.