In the fall 2006 issue of Drawing, we explored how Sigmund Abeles has shown several generations of artists the drawing basics: how to draw with organic lines, logical compositions, and lots of empathy. Here, we present an exerpt from the article about one of his recommended drawing exercises.
by Bob Bahr
In a recent workshop, Abeles stressed the importance of good beginnings by having the students execute five-minute drawings of various nearby objects. “This will teach you to compose,” he said. “You must be able to see things as a whole instead of a collection of details. Working for such a short time, you are forced to do that. The quick drawings revealed fundamental problems in each student’s approach, enabling Abeles to address the basic issues. By having each student draw a rectangular border on the paper to delineate the limits of the composition, the instructor reinforced the notion that compositional choices are crucial in these quick sketches.
Hand With Feathers
“Lighten the top of the thumb and define it,” suggested the artist. “Darken the underside of the hand to give it form. Because the rod holding the feathers is cylindrical, have your marks follow its form.”
“Use more values—a larger range,” commented Abeles. “This is like an underexposed photograph.”
Pillow and Hat
“The success of this drawing would be through the overlap of edges, which shows depth,” said Abeles. “Clarify lines to show the weight of things—perhaps darken the center line on the pillow because it is closest to the viewer. Make sure your lines are closed so objects are complete.”
To read the feature article on this artist, check out the fall 2006 issue of Drawing magazine.