Icons 1423860306 37 Sketching

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People have been making marks with anything on everything since the time of hieroglyphics: on cave walls, scrolls, parchments and canvases. Sketching is a quick way to record images and communicate ideas. To learn to sketch is to learn to see and to connect your seeing eye to your hand.

Designers use sketches to learn from their travels, to record images, to connect to their imaginations and to suggest new worlds. On-the-go sketching tools include pencils, pens, markers and crayons. Digital sketching tools include the mouse, wand and the digital pen. Designers fill journals with sketches of what they see and what they think. Find your power in sketching.

Find your envisioning power!!!

Activity 1 – What You Look At

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Take a blank piece of paper and pick any object close by. Put your pencil to the paper. Without looking at the paper and keeping your pencil connected to the paper, outline the edge of the object. Take 2-5 minutes. As your eye travels slowly down and around the object, your pencil will be copying the edge on the paper. When you think you are done, look at what you have drawn. Does it capture the essence of the object? Try drawing 10 things like this - connecting your eye to the coordination of your hand and increasing your focus of observation. Label these sketches Contour Drawings, date them and paste them in your journal. An advanced activity is to draw your hands and your feet! Also, you can “wrap” an object with parallel lines revealing its edges and form!

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Activity 2 – What You Capture

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Take a blank piece of paper. Ask a friend to move around and then freeze in a position. With quick lines, you have three seconds to capture the essential lines down through the body and the arms and legs. Do ten positions. Label these Gesture Drawings. Take another sheet of paper and look at simple objects around the school room or your house. Give yourself three seconds for each object and capture the most important movement or direction of energy and force in the object. A sofa would be two parallel horizontal lines; a refrigerator would be vertical lines with horizontal or vertical lines for the doors. This is a beginning exercise in seeing analytically.

Freeze frame!

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Activity 3 – Focus on a Face

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For this activity you will need a partner, a pencil and a piece of paper. Again, as in activity 1, look out your eyes onto your friend’s face and send that idea through your pencil onto your paper. With a continuous line (never lifting the pencil off of the paper and never looking at your paper), make a two minute sketch of the person’s face. Look closely at the shape of their face, the position and placement of their eyes, nose, mouth, ears and hair. Concentrate. You are connecting your hand with your mind through your eyes!

How did you do?

Next, turn the paper over and redraw your partner’s face but this time you CAN look at your paper between looking at their face. This is a good exercise to increase your ability to focus and to look closely and to record. Practice this exercise often in your journal.

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Activity 4 – What You See, Your Choice!!!

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Now you are ready to draw something of your choice using light lines for the gesture or frozen movement of your object and contour lines to capture the shape or forms of the object.


an object?

a plant?

a building?

draw what you like!

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  • Quick drawing is called:
  • Sketching connects the eye with the _____.
  • The sketch that captures the direction and force of movement in an object is called:
  • The sketch type that suggests an idea or relationship is called:
  • You can sketch what you see in your imagination.
check answers