Have you ever experienced the peace of walking through the woods or the excitement of a storm gathering on a beach? Or how about what Mother Nature is showing many of us today, right outside our doors, as the seasons change? Artwork provides the ability for us to capture those moments and share them with others, and really savor our days even though they never seem to stop flying by. Drawing nature — from wildlife you see to landscapes you love — is a way to “keep” a moment in time.
Mark and Mary Willenbrink bring us three demos and lessons galore on how to do just that from their art instruction guide: Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner, available now.
Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner:
Problems and Remedies
Just because you see a subject a certain way doesn’t mean you have to draw it that way. The artist is called to enhance the subject and bring the viewer into the picture for an entertaining visual experience. Through the process, an artist will run into problems which should be avoided and remedied early, if possible.
Being Led Astray
Don’t place elements which direct the viewer’s eye out of the picture.
Going the Right Direction
Proper direction of the elements can keep the viewer’s interest.
Troubles With Tangents
A tangent is the intersection of two or more elements in a drawing. Though they may occur naturally, tangents can look awkward. In this scene, the branches form unnecessary tangents and create unwanted focal points.
By moving the branches, there are fewer tangents and the scene looks more appealing.
3 Types of Forms and How to Use Them
Using Identifiable Forms: Drawing involves communicating identifiable images and forms. Some forms are easier to recognize than others. I find it easier to make a recognizable drawing if the form of the subject is easy to recognize.
Draw With an Abstract Form: While this is recognizable as a drawing, it is difficult to recognize in silhouette. If this subject isn’t drawn just right, the drawing will be hard to identify because the viewer cannot rely on the form for clarity. (above, left)
Draw With a Recognizable Form: Both the drawing and the outer form of this subject are easy to recognize. Using this subject will more assuredly end with a successful drawing. (above, right).
Positive and Negative Drawing
Drawings are made up of positive and negative forms. Positive forms are defined by their own shape, whereas negative forms are defined by their surroundings. Cattails and grass may be drawn positive, as on the left, with their image dark against the white of the paper. They may also be drawn negative, as on the right, with their image created by darkening the area around them.
Enjoy All That Drawing Nature Has to Offer
As the Willenbrinks say: “Drawing is a skill that improves with practice. Be an active participant by taking a sketch pad and pencil with you when you go out to enjoy nature, and consider using a digital camera to collect your own reference photos.” Learn so much more when you order your copy of Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner by Mark and Mary Willenbrink.