Drawing For Those That DON'T Draw

For those attending my retreat and looking to create an original drawing (actually tracing)off one of your photographs, you'll be way ahead of the game if you come with your ready to go drawing. That said, I'm posting a review of the process.
Step 1 ( Photo above)
First,in addition to a clear IN FOCUS photograph (printed at 8x10 is best) , you'll need the following: painters or masking tape, 1 sheet (8 1/2 x 11) clear acetate or a letter sized plastic sheet protector , an ultra fine point sharpie marker (black is best) . The acetate could be a book report cover, or as I mostly use, a piece of overhead transparency film available at most all stationary stores. There are several kinds "write on, ink jet, and laser". Write on is least expensive and works well. 3M makes a good product though a store brand is fine.

Step 2 (Photo above)
The most important of all is a clear in Focus photograph. If you start with a snapshot like a 4 x 6, enlarge it (on paper is fine) to an 8" x 10" as this will offer a much easier tracing job. What you see here is a snapshot my hubby took of a shoe shine boy found in a plaza in Chiapas, Mexico near the Guatamalan border. Ray is presently doing this image on canvas but is using this process to get the original acetate image which he then projects and pencils right on the canvas.
( One could use the same process to create an original drawing on paper that would be placed underneath your fabric as a painting guide... but honestly.... it's time consuming, less accurate, and tricky to get right particularly when enlarging only a wee bit. .... so continue reading.)

Step 3 (Photo above)
Next, at a time when you are not in a big hurry, tape the 8 x 10 photo to a smooth desk level writing surface like the kitchen table. One piece of tape at each of the four corners is fine.

Step 4 (Photo above)
Place the piece of clear acetate over the photograph and likewise tape the acetate to the tabletop using 4 small pieces of tape.

Step 5 (Photo above)
In preparation for your tracing, be thinking about the smooth continuos lines you see in a coloring book. That kind of coloring book simplicity line is your goal. No sketchy sketchy stuff. :-) Now, using an ultra fine point sharpie, settle down without caffeine in your system ( maybe 1 small glass of wine would be helpful..??) and begin to trace all the important images, slowly and carefully.

Step 6 (Photo above)
Your tracing will look something like this!

Step 7 (Photo above)
When you have finished tracing the desired image, you can place a piece of white paper behind the clear acetate and you will now have a contour drawing which you can lay on your copier and make 1 black and white paper copy to take to a printer like Staples, Office Max, or Kinkos and ask for an enlargement. A good class project size is 205% enlarged which prints an 18" x 24" drawing derived off your original 8 1/2 x 11. Most print shops can enlarge an 8 1/2" x 11" up to 400% resulting in a drawing about 34" x 44'. If you'd like, ask to use their proportional scale wheel to calculate something more exact. They should be able to help you with that.
The resulting paper drawing will be an exact reproduction of your tracing and will be laid underneath your fabric when we are ready to paint. No marking on the fabric is necessary. The cost is pretty nominal (appx. $3 for a 205% enlargement), and it will put you 3 to 4 hours ahead when class starts making your retreat experience even more productive. You'll be truly glad you spent this time in preparation.
There's a bit more detail re: enlarging on the bottom of http://www.pattsdrawingmethod.blogspot.com also accessible via the link list above.

1 comment:

  1. I've had some questions about the complexity and/or numbers of photos/projects to bring. I'll post my response here to someone planning to paint all 4 days:

    To your questions about how many??? Everyone works at different speeds with differing sense of detail.
    Me.... when I work on a piece of my own... I purposely work slow but I live/eat/breath my painting til it's done. If I am working on a piece say 40" W/L ... I'm usually painting with focus for a good 2 days solid. Someone taking a more abstract approach might finish sooner.

    Many people work in class about 18 x 24 or slightly smaller... and finish 2 -3 paintings in the 4 days. There is a lot of after class time students can work on their own. That said... a couple good sized paintings is likely doable in our time ...and if you bring additional photos and decide you want to have them enlarged to paint, there is time to get to staples/office max for enlarging.

    As to your question about complexity of photos.... I figure this is the time to absolutely do what you want while I'm around to help. Bring whatever you think you want to do.... even if only traced.. but It would be good to have at least one you feel good about already enlarged and ready to go. I can look at photos and provide some insight.... we'll figure it all out!!! ;-)

    Hope that helps....