Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sketching, Shading and Practice

I keep going through my period of highs and lows like any other normal human being. I have been trying to get the foliage right in my Autumn oil painting. I had been sketching and doing a little pen work on the side. But it did not seem it was enough and neither were the subjects right. I was frustrated when my teacher told me that I am not putting in as much time as I should. He tells me in dismay all the time that students jump the gun because they are impatient to learn and get the foundation right. He often lets them off on their path so they can realise for themselves where they are. I was so dejected I skipped two classes. 

I was tired mentally, but went back to class after my editor friend chided me for not being thick-skinned, and encouraged me to see the positive side of things. I can never measure up to my teacher's level of perfection. The man is a genius. What I can do however, is to practice whatever he instructs me as a discipline and learn as much as possible.

I told him I wanted to get my foundation right in shading and not paint. Instead he asked me to do a quick sketch under 2-3 minutes, and he gave me a portrait, something I have never done. He was hesitant that this will frustrate me, but I decided to give it a shot. I started off on the wrong foot or arm.

I always make the mistake of getting into details rather than learning to look at the sketch as a whole. So do many novices like me. The mind blows up these details and you end up running out of paper. The more paper you get, it will never be enough. 

Second, when doing portraits, there are two important aspects to consider: angles and proportions. As a practice, it is good habit to try and do a quick sketch under 2-3 minutes. Then go for successive rounds to correct the angles. Atleast by the third round, the lines should be in place. Then you go for shading.

I did this sketch of a lady under 3 minutes. My teacher was plesantly surprised. He said I have done a decent job with the angle and proportions. He suspected that the problem I really had to deal with is putting in just 30 minutes everyday. 

I need to be disciplined. Stay focused.

Make Good Art.