Drawing by portrait painter Brian Neher

Uploaded by BrianNeherFineArt on 03.08.2011

Now, I can continue doing this type of drawing. And, as you can see, it’s going to take
me a while to do this in paint because what I’m searching for are boundaries around
objects. And that’s fine. I could keep going with that and we could eventually end up with
a line drawing, a full, completed line drawing. But when it comes to painting, you need more
than that because as I’m looking at things, as I’m looking at objects or whatever subject
is in front of me, I don’t want to just see the boundary around objects because that’s
really not the way that we actually see things out in nature. We see things more in terms
of shapes, what I would consider mass drawing. Instead of finding the boundaries around my
object, like on this tea cup here, instead of that, I’m looking at a whole shape like
this whole light shape up here that makes this elliptical shape right here. That’s
one big shape that I’m looking at, or maybe this shape that comes down here and then stops
here, this dark shape, and then comes around here and then stops. It’s one big shape.
This is another little shape, a lighter shape inside of this bigger shape. Down here, the
spoon, it’s one big oval shape. I’m not looking at the actual outline around it. I’m
looking at this whole section here as one dark shape and then, all of a sudden, there’s
a lighter shape inside of that dark shape. That’s more of the way a painter thinks
and that’s really what I’m going to be focusing my discussion today on with drawing
because it’s so important to learn to see things in terms of shapes rather than just
lines. If you only see things as lines, as a painter, the tendency is to do this: to
go ahead and put my outline here and then, once I get my entire outline, to go ahead
and fill it in with a little bit of shading, which doesn’t really work for a painter.
If you want to advance as a painter, you need to think along a different line, and that’s
really what I want to discuss here today. But, before I do that, I want to give you
one more exsmple of a great example of a line drawing. One of my favorite old illustrators
was Charles Dana Gibson. He was a late nineteenth century, early twentieth century illustrator.
He lived in that time period. The types of illustrations that he did were line drawings
because back then they didn’t have the advanced technology that we do today, as far as the
printing technology, with full color and gradations of different blacks and whites and grays but,
basically, it was line drawing for reproduction in magazines and illustrations. This is a
great example of how Charles Dana Gibson used line to express the form in his subjects.
You can see the lines that go around the chair here, they come up. It’s just a series of
lines next to each other. As you come up here, the line comes across here and then back down.
And then when you get up into this area, around the head, you’ve got a line that outlines
where the hair is but then this is where it gets very interesting because you have this
line that represents the profile of her face. Now, everything in line drawing depends on
that line. So, imagine me just erasing this line right here, just erasing that entire
line that goes down the profile of her face. If I did that, you no longer have her face
there because line drawing relies so heavily on that outline. As a painter, you can’t
just think in terms of outlines, so we need another way to represent form and that’s
when we get into mass drawing. But as I’m working on this, I’m not trying
to make this tea cup super detailed because I don’t have to as a painter. Painting is
visual shorthand. You don’t have to paint everything that’s in your subject. In fact,
every great painting has actually been a record of simplifying things in nature because that’s
what the artist’s job is to do, to help simplify things that not everyone sees everyday.
Before I move on, I should probably point this out because right now I can see that
I’m a little long here. When you work with drawing, an important aspect of drawing is
accuracy. Accuracy is very important because if I don’t get those shapes that we’re
talking about correct, if they’re not in the right place, just so, it’s not going
to look like this cup. It’s not going to look like the object that’s in front of
you, so it’s very important to be accurate. But how can you be accurate in drawing, as
it applies to painting? The biggest thing, I would say, is measuring. You can measure
drawing. The one good thing about drawing is that it is measurable. I have a little
measuring tool here that I like to use. I’m going to take the top of this tool, from here
to the bottom of here. That’s where I’m measuring. The distance in between these two
things is how I measure on this photograph. So I’m going to take the measurement from
the top of this cup to the bottom of this cup. You can hardly see it because it’s
so dark in here at the bottom of this cup. I’m going to measure the distance between
the top and the bottom and see what that measurement is. Okay, now I’ve got that measurement.
Now, I know how tall this is from here to here, but now I want to find out how wide
the cup is. If I take that same measurement, I haven’t moved that measurement because
that’s my reference point, and I rotate it sideways and I go to the top, you’ll
see that the measurement from the edge of the top here on the one side of the cup to
the edge of the other is just about the same size as the distance from the top of the cup
to the bottom of the cup.