The Timeless Act of Drawing | A Word from Artist Craig Nelson

Today’s guest editor is Craig Nelson, author of The Drawing Bible. The following comes from the introduction of this book, which is currently on sale at North Light Shop.

The-Napping-Student

The Napping Student (CarbOthello pencil and charcoal pencil on vellum, 12×14) by Craig Nelson

Drawing is the one artistic endeavor that everyone has experienced at some time. It was most likely the first written form of communication, and continues to be a favorite leisure activity.

It is the seemingly magical act of drawing that captivates the heart and imagination of so many. The thrill of making a group of marks that create an image offers a special sense of accomplishment. As a child matures, each new year brings a great awareness of how to make those marks accurately reflect the subject he or she chooses to depict.

To-Trains

To Trains (ink and watercolor on hot-pressed paper, 10×14) by Craig Nelson

The act of drawing is timeless. Although media, techniques and concepts have changed, the use of marks and tones has always been the foundation on which drawings are made. Beginning with a blank page and ending with a pleasing image can be a rewarding experience. As in any endeavor, improvement comes with practice and repetition. Eye-hand coordination may be developed through experience.

Today, those who engage in the art form known as drawing work on a variety of levels. There are those who doodle, those who sketch for fun, those who draw for a living, and those who draw for the sheer beauty of drawing. Whatever the motive, drawing is something that everyone can enjoy and grow with. It takes only desire and practice, practices, and more practice. The satisfaction of creating an outstanding drawing is hard to beat, so pick up your pencils, pens, markers, charcoals or pastels and enjoy! ~Craig Nelson

As I mentioned earlier, The Drawing Bible, from which this comes from, is discounted during North Light Shop’s book sale. I’ve borrowed a copy from another editor in the office so that I could review it and find some goodies (scroll down for a free lesson from it, on using visual landmarks for proportions), but between you and me, I don’t want to give it back! It’s full of quick lessons and sample drawings, and is ideal for anyone who’s learning to draw, or for the experienced artist who loves a great reference book. If you happen to order The Drawing Bible (or any of our books), I encourage you to help others by submitting an online review. I know I’d love to hear if you enjoy it as much as I do.

Yours in art,
Cherie

Cherie Haas, online editor**Click here to subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and more!

 

Free Download! Click here for 7 Mini-Demonstrations: Step-by-Step Drawing for Beginners

Using Visual Landmarks

(an excerpt from The Drawing Bible by Craig Nelson)

Proportion is all about measuring and comparing. When measuring, look for key reference points or visual landmarks on your subject. These may include sharp angle changes such as corners, or distinct tonal changes between shapes such as pieces of clothing. The intersection of two lines makes a great visual landmark.

Another measuring device that will help you place elements correctly is alignment. Notice when one element in a composition lines up with another. Usually vertical or horizontal alignments work best.

Back Again (conté on bond paper, 17x22) by Craig Nelson

Back Again (conté on bond paper, 17×22) by Craig Nelson

Using Visual Landmarks: This three-quarters back view includes a variety of visual landmarks that make checking proportions easier. The many folds are extremely useful.

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Friends+Diagram of Proportions

Friends (ultra-fine-point pen on bristol board, 8×12) by Craig Nelson

Diagram of Proportions: The more elements in a composition, the more visual landmarks there are. I simplified the task of determining the proportional relationships in this piece by mapping out the proportional break up of space.

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