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Lines and masses

You have in mind a particular drawing you decided to work on. You might not have anything specific in mind but you want to draw what’s in front of you. Being lucky, you happen to have your pencil and sketch board. What can you do? Start drawing, of course! But how? Do you start drawing lines or would you rather go with the masses? Do you outline right away or do you apply shades and fill up blanks? Maybe both at the same time? So there are two approaches about drawing, LINES and MASSES. Unless you feel at ease with both ways, it is

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better to be good at one of them at least. Don’t get me wrong, my purpose is not only to allow you to figure out what is your favourite style but also to favour one style or the other according to what you are looking for. That’s the first question you have to ask yourself if you want to make an accomplished drawing. In his class, Piet Herzeel gives us thinking paths all necessary to the construction of a deep and inspired drawing:

  • What do you want to show or outline in particular?
  • What tool to use? Which pencil to use and how hard?
  • What would be the proper base? In what way can this influence your work?
  • How to choose the best angle?

In the “workshop” tab you can practice with a concrete example and understand why, according to the subject you picked, you should choose lines or masses and how you can define and reproduce the right intensity of your masses. Piet Herzeel shows us, step by step, how to build a scale with different shades of grey and how to sort them out in order to avoid having too many tones. You can try out both styles in the exercises that Piet Herzeel suggests at the end of this module. You can, for example, make out a drawing according to the chart that you just created. Pencils ready! Squint your eyes! Start drawing!

What do we need to be an artist?

First of all, let’s get rid of questions useless to any student: Do I have talent? Am I gifted?
You are what you are and if you take pleasure in studying how to draw, you have just enough talent to enjoy yourself and appreciate the different improvements in your skills.
bounce houses

In Signus drawing course, Piet Herzeel shows us how to concentrate on what’s essential: What do we really need to improve?
Here are the main tools we will be using all along the course:

  • The method:

Piet Herzeel’s program is very progressive. It allows you to fully and deeply improve what needs to be improved.

  • The material:

We learn how to use the different tools for drawing and how to choose the one most adapted to your projects and to your sensitivity.

  • Ideas and inspiration:

That’s where any creation starts but there is no inspiration without a source. It’s
one of Piet’s Herzeel’s goals to show us how to find that source.

  • Time:

Don’t be afraid to let time be your ally in the learning process.

  • Desire and pleasure:

That’s where the motor of the whole process lies and as such, it needs to be regularly trained.

  • Develop your skills:

Your brain, your eyes and your hand must learn how to work together toward the same goal: drawing.

Finally, with the exercises to be done at the end of each module, Piet Herzeel gives us a practical demonstration of the many differences between the images we engrave in our memory and the reality.

First of all, let’s get rid of questions useless to any student: Do I have talent? Am I gifted?

You are what you are and if you take pleasure in studying how to draw, you have just enough talent to enjoy yourself and appreciate the different improvements in your skills.

In Signus drawing course, Piet Herzeel shows us how to concentrate on what’s essential: What do we really need to improve?

Here are the main tools we will be using all along the course:

  • The method:

Piet Herzeel’s program is very progressive. It allows you to fully and deeply improve what needs to be improved.

  • The material:

We learn how to use the different tools for drawing and how to choose the one most adapted to your projects and to your sensitivity.

– Ideas and inspiration:

That’s where any creation starts but there is no inspiration without a source. It’s

one of Piet’s Herzeel’s goals to show us how to find that source.

Time:

Don’t be afraid to let time be your ally in the learning process.

  • Desire and pleasure:

That’s where the motor of the whole process lies and as such, it needs to be regularly trained.

  • Develop your skills:

Your brain, your eyes and your hand must learn how to work together toward the same goal: drawing.

Finally, with the exercises to be done at the end of each module, Piet Herzeel gives us a practical demonstration of the many differences between the images we engrave in our memory and the reality.

Drapery

The study of drapery is happily one that can be carried on at almost any place, time, and season, and perhaps it is because of this very ease of access that it is so often neglected and many an otherwise satisfactory picture will be marred by the poor drawing of drapery and clothing. When the weather is unsuitable for sketching, when there is no person available as a model, time may well be spent on a little practice in drawing drapery. Take any piece of material, a handkerchief for lack of anything better. Pin it up on the wall or to a curtain—anywhere so long as it falls in natural folds—and make a sketch of it. Notice the tendency to trian­gular forms, the way in which the folds radiate from the pin, and the foreshortening of the curves which form the bottom edge of the handkerchief. Having satisfied yourself with that sketch, take the handkerchief down and throw it over some object such as a book standing on edge or an inverted flower vase, and make another sketch. Notice the arrangement of the folds; they will end abruptly at the top if falling from a sharp edge, and will

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fade away gradually from a rounded shape. Something of the underlying object should be obvious from your drawing of the handkerchief in the same way that clothes should suggest the limbs and body they cover. Then make a sketch of it, knotted, or tied around something. As you tie the knot (which makes the best study if not tied too tightly), notice which fold passes behind and where it reappears, and be on the lookout for this continuity when you come to draw it. Fig. 117 to 123 show outline studies of drapery. Fig. 117 shows it loosely looped around the figure in natural folds. Long, sweeping lines predominate. In Fig.118 it is more bunched, and the long lines are disturbed and irregular. In Fig. 119 the fluted line of the edge of the material is noticeable. Fig. 120 shows the abrupt change of line where the drapery trails on the floor. In Fig. 123 the triangular form of the folds is again plain, and also the fluted edge. Fig. 122 emphasizes the under­lying human form even though the drapery is voluminous.Fig. 121 shows the flowing lines and repetition of form in material blown by the wind. The usual tendency in drawing drapery is to shun straight lines and make the folds too rounded. The angularity in Figs. 120 and 123 should be noted. Figs. 124 and 129 show how the lines of material, in one case loosely and in the other more closely draped, follow and suggest the form they cover. Fig. 126, a sketch of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, shows the charm of simply interpreted drapery; Fig. 125, the elaborate arrange­ment of a bygone fashion. Fig. 127 is given to show that the ragged, careless effect of old clothes may be accentuated by ragged and somewhat carefree lines. Fig. 128 gives folds of a thick, rich material. The broad folds show the thick, com­parative stiffness of the drapery and the reflected light in the shadows suggests the sheen of brocade. Thick material will not fall into narrow folds unless artificially arranged, and will tend to straight lines and angles. Thin material falls in narrower, less clearly defined folds with more flowing lines and rounder corners. drapery loosely looped around the figure in natural foldsdrapery118drapery119drapery120drapery121drapery122drapery123drapery124drapery125drapery126drapery127drapery128drapery129

Colour and colouring in your drawings

Animals

Learn to draw lines

You must master your pencil, there are many types of lines to draw, not just straight or curved. The style of line will depend not only on the type of pencil and support but also the gesture and movement of the artist while tracing. The angle and shape of the tip cheap bouncy houses, the pressure applied… are all ingredients to forming a different stroke. Pencil strokes

Using colour

Change the pressure you

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apply to obtain shaded of grey Try practicing to obtain the following effect

Shading
This article is an extract of the Signus online drawing course

Animals and wildlife

AnimalsForm the earliest days of mankind, we have drawn images of the animals we have hunted, admired or feared. From the primitive cave drawings to huge bronze statues of galloping horses such as those in the Fountain of Trevi. Capturing the movement and power these animals has fascinated us. Artists like George Stubbs became masters in painting horses. The key is to observe and keep looking.

Drawing the volumes

If you want to draw a horse, first look at its profile, then divide the animal into five separate volumes, the head, neck, shoulder, abdomen and rear.

How to draw a horse

The first three volumes to draw are the shoulder, abdomen and rear. Once you have drawn these in the correct proportions then you can continue with the neck and head.

Learn the anatomy

If you understand how the bones are joined together, then you sketch will make sense and you will be able to show movement. Remember that bones are limited in the directions and amount in which they can turn. The posture of the animal must always look natural. Even if there is no motion in the drawing, perhaps it is a cat sleeping on a chair, you have to respect the way the body can bend and twist.

Horse head and neck

The position and stance will depend on the species in questions and you should try to observe how the animal you are drawing walks, runs and its general behaviour.

Animal movement
This article is an extract of the Signus online drawing course

Learn how to draw a face

How to draw a face

A step by step guide in drawing faces which look like people.

You can begin by just drawing circles then add the main features such as the nose, eyes, ears and mouth. To progress to a higher quality in shape and emotion you’ll have to learn that the human head is not just an oval stuck on top of a rigid body. The head has an inclination, the eyes are looking in a certain direction and the mouth has an expression. The person may be laughing, crying or speaking to someone and you’ll want to give life and character to the sketch.

With the Signus art course, even a novice will rapidly learn the steps and techniques required in drawing a realistic human face or cartoon style characters.

Drawing facesCartoon sketch

Lessons to teaching you to draw faces

The Signus lessons will guide you progressively through all the phases.

Start drawing basic shapes and searching for recognisable forms
Draw step by step

You’ll learn to understand the structure of the human skull, proportions.
Parts of a face

  • Facial expressions
  • Proportions
  • Volume & shape
  • Position of eyes, ears, mouth and lips
  • Emotions
  • Shading and light on the face

Drawing facial expressions

People will always show their emmotions with expressions on their faces, from laughter to anger, smiles to crying, surprise to fear.

expressions on faces facial
Each type of expression changes the shape of the face, the eyes, nose and mouth will be in different positions, wrinkles can be more or less pronounced. The eyebrows are raised or lowered…
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