Sketching a cow, two ways

I found Dianne Mize’s video lessons 4 Steps to Skillful Drawing and Understanding Shadows so helpful that I bought another one: Gesture Drawing Explained. It provides another perspective on drawing and a way to draw faster. I like this because I want the option to not labor over a preliminary drawing before beginning to paint.

I really liked this lesson! To try it out, I picked out a simple still life of garlic and actually said out loud the way the lines in the subject were moving, and was shocked to find that my gesture sketch looked remarkably like the subject. It only took a couple of minutes and I was able to convincingly capture the feeling of the garlic.

I tried it out again on a more complex photo, one that Dianne provides on her site of a little boy in a zippered jacket. It was an image I’ve been skipping over with my other sketching sessions because it was intimidating to me, but I just started in using her gesture techniques and it was actually really fun. The whole business of giving the left brain something to do while the right brain draws what I see is so key for me since I’m an analytical, logical person by nature. Such a simple solution with profound effects.

For this sketching session using a cow image as reference, I started out by doing a gesture study and then next to it did a more classical approach of blocking in with angular strokes (basically steps 1-3 of the 4 Steps to Skillful Drawing lesson).

Daily Art 07-12-2018 gesture sketch and 4-step sketch of a cow

What I found was that by starting with the gesture study, it was a good way to warm up and also a good way to get me to slow down and really look at where things were aligning and which way they were moving. I didn’t measure with my pencil, just tried to carefully observe what I was seeing. Then when I did the angular block-in I measured with my pencil, and was surprised to see that the gesture study wasn’t far off. And actually the proportions were more accurate the first time around on the gesture, but on the second sketch I had to check my measurements and move the chest/legs up.

I’m grateful for Dianne’s lessons and am happy to see these two techniques working so well together!

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