Chaos can be beautiful, but so can having a plan and seeing it come together
I hope all is well with you. This newsletter is all about planning your drawing before starting to draw.
If you are anything like me, your first instinct when starting a drawing is to put pencil to page and just see what happens. If so, then it might be time to try this– instead of simply drawing, visualise how your drawing will appear on your page and make a plan based on that vision.
By practising this way sometimes, you will be ensure your composition on the page conveys exactly the feeling you want it to. You will also develop the ability to translate what is in your mind into marks on a page. If you develop this skill, the only limit on your work is your imagination.
Below are a few basic tips on the planning process:
1 Determine the “extreme points”
These refer to the points of the pose that are furthest to the left and right, as well as top and bottom. For a basic composition capturing the entire pose, you need to plan to have these points fall at least a little distance from the edges of the page.
2 Figure out whether the canvas should be portrait or landscape
For a simple composition, if the height of the model’s pose is longer than the width, then the page orientation should be portrait. If the width is wide is longer than the length, then the orientation should be landscape.
3 Try starting with quick thumbnails.
Draw some little rectangles with proportions roughly matching your page (if using standard paper sizes, you can draw rectangles with width 4cm and height 3cm for landscape or vice versa for portrait drawings). Within your rectangles, draw some very rough versions of the pose, altering the composition in each.
You can try having the pose higher or lower on the page, zoom in on one area of the pose or zoom out and keep plenty of white space around it. The thumbnail sketches help you to visualize different composition options before you commit to one. Quick note: if you already always make a plan and have a vision when you draw, then it may be useful to try doing what we disorganized people like to do – just start drawing and let chaos guide you.