Time Grows Foreshorter

Drawing Stuffs Due 10/19/16


This week in class, we discussed some of the remaining odds and ends of perspective in preparation for the final push on this unit in ART104: Drawing. If you were one of the folks who missed, you have some catch up to do, since what we learned is crucial for drawing non-square forms that extend back in space. You know, bottles and screwdrivers and pens and… hey… wait a gosh darn second… those objects sound familiar! Project 1, anyone?

To help refresh the memory of those who were in class and bridge the gap for those who weren’t, I have linked two videos on drawing ellipses and cylinders in perspective. You must watch the first one; the second is optional. Both include tips on drawing round forms when they are foreshortened.


Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh: he may not be King of Games, but he’s King of Dramatic Foreshortened Hand Gestures!

Uh… okay… what is foreshortening? It is the term used to describe the apparent shortening that occurs when an object recedes rapidly in space relative to your point of view. You are probably familiar with foreshortening from anime and comic books, where it’s often used as a dramatic device. However, it is part of regular ol’ life drawing as well. Because of the optical distortions of foreshortened subjects, rendering them on paper can be difficult (leading to colorful language and the massive consumption of melted cheese on the part of more than one frustrated artist).

But never fear, my intrepid Drawing students! With foreshortening (and with drawing more complex shapes in general), you have a not-so-secret weapon: any object can be conceived as encased within a tightly fitting envelope box. If, you can draw the box in perspective, you can draw the object in perspective. And boy, do you know how to draw boxes!

Video 1 (Mandatory Watching)

This video shows how boxes in perspective become guides for drawing ellipses and cylinders. The presenter is working in three point perspective, which we haven’t really discussed, but the only difference is that the vertical lines also converge slightly. Don’t worry about this detail, though.  The basics are otherwise the same. Pay particular attention to the info about the axes of the cylinder, which we touched on toward the end of class on the 12th.

Video 2 (Optional Watching)

This video also discusses ellipses and cylinders in perspective, but it goes into more precise, geometric detail, which may be helpful to you technically minded folks. It also has some nice tips on one point perspective.

What You Need to Do (and Know) to Get a Good Grade on Project 1

All the info above is intended to prepare you for finishing Project 1, which is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, October 19. Don’t forget, no late work is accepted in ART104, so don’t blow this off or show up without anything. You will automatically get a zero, no exceptions. Since Project 1 counts for 10% of your total course grade, that will be a significant blow.

If, for some reason, you are not finished, turn in what you have. Partial credit is better than no credit. That said, since we have been working on this for three weeks, I am expecting everyone to have put between 6 and 9 hours into the project. Aaaannnndd… I will be looking for drawings that show that investment. If you’ve fallen behind… well… time to make drawing your bestie for the weekend.

no_shadeAs you draw, remember that you are working with contours. I know it’s tempting, tempting, TEMPTING to add shading to make the drawing feel more complete, but that’s not what this project is about. Your goal is to make a strong  piece of art with lines alone.  You can, of course, draw more than just the outline of each object. Consider making contours of the cast shadows, the highlights, the interior details, etc. All good as long as you stick to contour lines; no shade!


Ten Tips for Project 1
Read Them, Live Them, Love Them ( They Help)

  1. draw_lightDraw with light lines. LIGHT lines. You know… opposite of dark… resists all shadow… bathed in radiance… LIGHT!

  2. Work general to specific. Most people get better results starting with boxes in perspective, and then gradually refining down to the desired form from there.

  3. For more complex objects, such as a hammer, you might want to construct it out of two or more perspective boxes, one for each section of the tool.

    Here’s a short video with some examples on drawing objects starting from boxes (simple and complex)

  4. Work all over the page; don’t get sucked into perfecting one object. Block in the whole composition, and then go back and refine.

  5. Check that symmetrical objects like bottles and bowls are the same (mirrored) on either side of the center line.

  6. Measure often with multiple methods: angles from different points, horizontal and vertical plumb bobs, relative proportion (size of Shape A vs. Shape B), etc.

  7. positive_negative_shapesLooking at the shape of the space surrounding the object you’re drawing  can also help you see if you’ve got it right. In other words, look at the negative shapes.

  8. Learn from the kitteh at the top of this post: change your perspective to reveal things you wouldn’t otherwise notice. Turn the drawing upside down or take a photo with your phone.

  9. Step back and take breaks so you can re-approach the drawing fresh.

  10. When in doubt, check the project guidelines.

line_qualityOnce you are TOTALLY SATISFIED that your drawing looks and is composed how you want it, put the finishing touches on it by adding line quality. Finally, you can draw dark!

Questions? Let me know. I’m also happy to review your drawing-in-progress if you like. E-mail me a photo, and I will reply with feedback. Otherwise, get ‘er done so you can enjoy that well-earned celebratory rush that comes from checking off a big item off the to-do list.



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