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Posts Tagged ‘Up-side-down drawing’

Up-Side-Down drawing is counter-intuitive. It’s crazy. It’s crazier than you think.

If I ask you, a beginning drawing student, to draw the complex figures in this Caravaggio painting, you’ll give me a blank stare that says “are you kidding!”  Too many bodies, too many limbs, hands, faces…and all that anatomy and all that overlapping…no way.

Now, if I ask you to duplicate this drawing (right), you’ll hesitate, because it’s also a pile of complex anatomical forms. But at least, the clear lines make the prospect approachable.

(I made the drawing while looking at the Caravaggio painting in a book, positioned up-side-down.  I used a marker, without corrections.)

If I turn the drawing up-side-down and ask you to duplicate it, you’ll just think I’m crazy, but you’ll definitely see that this is doable.  The reason is simple:  now you’re not looking at anatomy, you’re looking at lines and funny spaces created by the lines. You’re glad your family isn’t in the room to talk you out of this, as well they might.  You came here to learn how to draw, after all, not put some nonsense on the paper.  You start.  You get into it.  Your mind goes into visual.  Wow, this is wonderful, you can do it.  You turn it over after a half hour.  There it is, something you could not have done drawing right-side-up.  Amazing?  I told you so.

Not only that, the drawing you will do right after this exercise will be easy.  You’ll see so much more clearly than if you hadn’t done that crazy up-side-down thing.

Here’s proof, students’ drawings from that class. These were done from photos of Michelangelo sculptures, Roman heads and magazine clippings.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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