Term I, Perspective I, Week 1

Retrospective

Tracking Time

Starting with this unit I decided to start keeping track of how much time I spend doing the various tasks in my schedule. My goal is to spend 25–30 hours per week drawing, but in the previous unit I’m not sure how close I came to that goal. I use a text editor for computer programming (my day job) called emacs which has a lot of useful functionality for making schedules, lists, and logging work.

For example, here is a screenshot of my skeleton outline for the Perspective I unit:

The blue text are headlines, and when you move the cursor over them and hit the tab key, they expand to reveal the next subtree of headlines:

Now I can expand the green headlines to view more detailed notes for each chapter:

I love this method of organizing notes, and use it for almost everything in my life. This functionality is actually a special package for emacs called “org-mode.” I don’t necessarily recommend emacs because it has a very steep learning curve, but finding some way to organize tasks and notes is essential.

Under the “Log” section, I organize each day of each week of the unit into a list of TODOs that I mark as DONE when I’m finished with them:

When I start a TODO, I can “clock in” on the task, then “clock out” when I’m finished. TODO items are actually built into emacs, so when I cycle the task as DONE it knows to clock out of that task. At the end of the week I have emacs generate a time report and it will summarize how I spent my time that week, breaking it down by day and task:

This week I spent 19 hours drawing and studying, so next week I will try to push a little harder and try to get closer to 25. If you forget to clock into or out of a task it’s easy to go edit that task to get the time right. I will start including these time reports in each of my weekly blog posts. Again, this is a great tool, but it takes quite a while to be able to use it effectively.

Schedule Change

I spent more time studying this week than actually drawing. The D’Amelio book and Marshall Vandruff’s lectures were both great, but I’m not sure what kinds of exercises to pair with the information. For example I learned how to arrange people on a beach at different distances in perspective, but I don’t necessarily want to draw a beach scene at the moment. I feel like I’ve added some ideas to my toolbox so that when I need to do something specific with perspective I’ll know how, but I don’t really need those tools at the moment. I think since I can finish the lectures, book, and 250 cylinder challenge in one week, I’ll shorten this unit to just 2 weeks and move on to Head Drawing I the week after.

Drawings and Critiques

Monday, Nov. 9

Free hand cylinders in perspective.

Drawing a freehand ellipse is extremely difficult. The red lines are supposed to be the correct minor axis of the ellipse and the black line down the center is the initial construction line. I often found it difficult to find the center with the red line, and I can see that many of them are off. Even the cylinders that have good minor axes (close to the red lines) still have wonky ellipsed because I don’t verify the major axis. The closer (hatched) end should have a smaller degree than the farther end, and the sides should approach the same vanishing point as the center line. These are a lot quicker to do than drawing 250 boxes.

Box warmup.

The first several boxes were pretty bad considering I recently finished the drawabox 250 box challenge. The initial construction goes ok, but when I fill in the three lines that are on the back side of the box, they never line up the way they should. Looks like I need to do another 250.

Tuesday, Nov. 10

Freehand cylinders.

Drawabox insect construction.

This exercise is supposed to emphasize construction instead of making a pretty drawing. That’s why there are so many extra lines.

Freehand boxified Apple 2 computer.

Building bounding boxes around objects seems like good practice. This was very difficult, and I could never get the keyboard to look like it was sitting on the front slope. Most 2-point perspective drawings involve vanishing points that are off the paper, which means you have to estimate, and it’s really hard to get right.

Wednesday, Nov. 11

Drawabox cylinders and organic forms exercise.

Drawabox insect construction exercise.

Head louse on the left and black widow on the right. I think the ideas is to do the construction lightly in pencil and then fill in the details for a finished drawing. This is just the construction phase to get the basic forms in place.

Thursday, Nov. 12

Drawabox cylinders and insect construction.

I used an ellipse template (in red) to check the accuracy of my freehand ellipses. Most of them go too fat in the top right corner.

Friday, Nov. 13

Drawabox cylinders and organic forms exercise.

Insect construction.

The top drawing looks like a robot from Star Wars.

Saturday, Nov. 14

Drawabox cylinders constructed in boxes.

The final 100 cylinders of the 250 cylinder challenge are supposed to be constructed in boxes. This gives you a lot more ways to check their accuracy, but also makes them much more difficult because the boxes that contain the two cylinder caps are supposed to be perfect squares in perspective. If they’re not, the whole thing will be off. The different colored lines check the convergence of each set of parallel lines. The closer each color appears to approach the same vanishing point, the more accurate the box and cylinder are.

Insect construction.

Longer weekend drawing.

This is a 2 hour drawing of a castle from The Savage Sword of Conan #61. I thought this would be good perspective practice, but the primary challenge of this was getting all the tower tops to have symmetrical shapes. It’s ok for freehand, but to be really accurate I would need a t-square. The towers all seem to be tipping a tad to the left. I probably had the page positioned at an angle.

Sunday, Nov. 15

Croquis cafe gesture session.

I felt like doing a little figure drawing today. It was really enjoyable, which is surprising since I’ve only had a week off from gesture drawing. I like the 1 minute drawings the best. Usually the 1-minute are my least favorite.

Drawabox cylinders and insects.

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll finish reading the D’Amelio book, finish 6 more pages of insects, do 88 more cylinders in boxes, watch the rest of Marshall’s perspective lectures, and then move on to Head Drawing I.

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