Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Drawing Lab

Given that I've spent many, many hours in figure drawing classes, it might seem odd that I am even reading a book called Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists. I know how to draw but I feel like I needed something to help get me back to the drawing board after the many months I've spent  doing research. Plus it feels like time to infuse some whimsy into my work. The charming cover of this book by Carla Sonheim was enough to sell me on it.

The aim of Drawing Lab is to make drawing fun. Divided into a series of 52 creative exercises, the book relieves the pressure of how to get started and what to draw. Although it is divided into thematic sections of inspiration (animals, people, nature, imagination etcetera), you can start anywhere in the book and find your fearless and creative inner child again.  Charming quotes in each section are gentle reminders to have fun, such as this quote by Carl Jung on page 82: "What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Here is the key to your earthly pursuits."

Carla Sonheim, the author of Drawing Lab, is a painter, illustrator and workshop facilitator. Check out her lovely blog here. She writes with a clarity that any author would admire and adds an array of examples to each page. In fact, the book is so thoughtfully designed that it would work for almost any age group.

One exercise that I found surprisingly freeing was drawing with my wrong hand (my left hand). After a couple tries at that, I also drew this portrait in pencil with my wrong hand using a single unbroken line. Like Carla says "It's a paradox: when you have complete freedom, you often "freeze up" and do nothing." I was so sure it would just go straight into the bin but there is something that appeals to me about this not-so-perfect portrait - even though the eyes are a bit wonky and the proportions are slightly off. It didn't scan very well but it was fun!

Wrong-hand, continuous line portrait exercise by Ingrid Mida

Title: Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists
Author: Carla Sonheim
Publisher: Quarry Books, USA 2010
Category: Non-fiction, art
Number of Pages: 144