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This is today’s lunchbreak practice. Neither study looks remotely like the original, neither is looking in the right direction. It’s important to remind myself, when I do these studies, that I’m not aiming to produce anything perfect or gallery worthy. In fact, I usually scribble a bit on the back of the paper to loosen up some before I practice. Thought this might encourage some of you out there who, like me, struggle with the fear of blank paper, and think that unless you produce a masterpiece, there’s no point in drawing at all. Join me in a long exhale…. relax.

Visual Handwriting

May 5, 2011

I spent part of the evening yesterday doing quick studies from drawings by Michelangelo. I’ve always loved the way he expressed the human figure. I also wanted to work on my “visual handwriting”, or my “touch” or whatever you call it.

I started out with two figures overlapping, just to get warmed up.

Then I tackled this one. I don’t like it very much.

Then I tried one that Michelangelo had done almost completely in cross hatch. I started out trying to copy his marks, because that exercise has been very helpful in learning from van Gogh. About halfway through I remembered the visual handwriting got frustrated and just took a go at it scribbling as usual.

That’s why I call it my visual handwriting. Trying to do anything else often feels like trying to forge someone else’s signature. I had fun with these, not taking too long on any of them but just trying to loosen up and find the style that feels comfortable for me.

I still like to stretch myself and learn new technique, but I also like that I’m finding what works for me. When all else fails, I scribble.

I was doing some rather boring studies of my shoe when I suddenly wanted some brush pen action. I didn’t notice until this morning when I scanned it that his eyes are totally crooked. Ah well, this was a really fun study. I’ll be sad when I have to return my book of van Gogh’s drawings.

We got a new scanner at work and it will actually scan my drawings! You will never again be subjected to my fingers clutching madly at the sketchbook pages while I try to frame the picture in photobooth!

Drew from Durer last night. I got the proportions of their lower bodies all wrong, but I only spent an hour combined on these studies. I like their torsos. Maybe I’ll add a bush in front of them aka children’s story book style! No seriously, maybe I’ll just try again.

Yes, if you’re not familiar with the original engraving — those leaves are actually there. Durer was apparently trying to avoid a NSFW label.

In other news, Sunday is day 100 of my year long drawing a day challenge. I’m trying to catch up by then. I can’t believe I’ve even made it this far — 89 drawings in 97 days!