Foreshortening! For me, it is truly the stuff of nightlights
and pulling the covers over my head. I've struggled really hard to learn how to
draw foreshortened objects and figures, because my mind constantly overrules my
eye, saying, "That can't be what you are seeing, so let's add in that area
there, or stretch this out here." And then I crumple up the drawing paper and
throw it across the room and start again.
||Nude Male by Paul Cadmus, drawing, 1995.
When I feel the frustration mounting, I try to bring it back
to a few basic perspective-drawing techniques. First, I acknowledge that foreshortening is not as far away or abstract a drawing
concept as I think it is. Any time you learn to draw anything, you are likely
dealing with slightly foreshortened objects—a nose or tree branch or coffee mug
handle—no matter the subject.
Then I reassess my angle to my model or object. If I am
having a hard time, it might be that the position I am in is the problem and is
making it difficult to figure out how to draw a foreshortened forearm behind a
gigantic-looking hand. Instead of miring myself in a situation that isn't
working, I might try the drawing from a three-quarter angle to give myself a
more expansive view.
Then I just jump back in and turn my mind off. Learning to
draw this way is tough for me, as I've said, so I'll often just sing loudly to
myself—almost shutting out the voice in my head—so that I am just observing
with my eye. Finally, I'll test proportions by eyeballing them one against the
other so that I don't lose sight of what I'm doing. I ask myself, for example,
how big is the thigh I'm drawing in comparison to the foot it is attached to.
Even writing out my game plan this way makes me feel more in
control of learning to draw foreshortened objects. In the Drawing 2011 Collection CD you'll find plenty of strategies from
artists and art instructors on tackling the tough tasks that face artists,
including foreshortening, but also much more. It's enough to want a whole
year's worth of Drawing, which is
what the Drawing 2011 Collection CD
gives you. Enjoy!