Wednesday, February 16, 2011
the value of sketching
Each and every day I have my young artists enter my room and sketch. Sketching is such an important aspect of art. It is a basic principle that is undeniably a great skill to obtain. Many people make doodles and sketches without ever being conscious of it.
The first thing I do with all of my students when they enter my class is to have them create their own value scale 1-10. Then they learn how to use a ruler, measure and handle their pencils. Pencil control is so important in sketching. They then use that value scale for the rest of the course. We refer back to it all the time as it is the basis we build everything upon. Above the value scale we create value drawings of simple objects such as an egg, a hand or even a fun surreal object or two.
From there, values are part of our conversation every day. I set up a still life and give my kids a "do now" each and every day. Sometimes I give them two or three days in a row the same still life so they can really observe, appreciate and master the still life. Plus by looking at something that is the same days apart it really makes you notice and observe things better. Drawing from observation is one tool that is so important in art. It really helps build ability in all levels, styles and types of artists.
My students have been observing a series of bottles. They began with some great antique empty bottles and they have moved on to a mason jar filled with crayons. Then today they began a water misting bottle. The glassy translucent quality is a wonderful surface that plays with the light and really allows them to capture values.
Also by showing some items within it really helps them to look for values. Their drawings are evolving after only three weeks (really less with all the snow days... wink, wink) and both the students and I are so pleased to see their skills building.
Be Well and Enjoy!