Ok…..so there must be an easier way to comprehend detail without getting anxious about it right? Having to draw sports cars is tough as it is, especially if you have to continuously practice the methods that have been discussed on this site. However, expanding your mind to be receptive to new ideas and thinking processes is always a bonus and can work to your benefit.
Even if you intend to draw classic cars, drawing what you “see” and not what you “know” can yield huge dividends for you when pursuing your ultimate goal. Remember the article I wrote on “Expanding your Visual Vocabulary” about a year ago? (yeah right….) If not…check it out here to refresh your memory!
Reference photos are key to building and training your mind to understand the juxtaposition of the shapes as they relate to one another. Now what the heck does that mean? The idea is to “see” every detail in the photograph and relate to them as shapes removing any preconceived notion that what you are seeing and trying to replicate, is a door, mirror, grass, clouds, or any other physical element in the photograph.
Now you don’t have to approach it this way…it just depends how much trouble you have with dealing with describing form. When you think about it, people learn in various ways. The catalyst to trigger or turn on that “bulb” in your head that signifies the “aaahhh….I get it” is not limited to a single approach but rather several approaches. However, if you approach it with this methodology, then it removes the anxiety of trying to relate to the picture as its intended object, whether you draw a sports car, muscle car, classic car, conceptual car, or any other physical form out there.
The next thing you need to do is to perform several time-based studies on this event. This means start off trying to interpret the picture in 10 min max! Squint your eyes to blur the image to understand the value distribution. The objective is to not let your mind get too caught up into the details of the picture. It is to quickly get your brain adjusted to the relationship of the shapes surrounding the image. That’s it. Nothing else. Don’t expect pretty execution in 10, 15, or 30 min when doing this from the start. It’ll be ugly but it doesn’t matter. Eventually your mind will get used to seeing the physical world as a collection of value, contrast, shape, and color. Remember when starting out, you only want to spend no more than 10 min.
As you exercise your traditional techniques and combine them with this methodology, you will not only find it easier to interpret and understand detail in the end, but learn to appreciate forms you are describing. The added bonus is removing the fear factor and anxiety of replicating the picture.
So below is a real time, 10 min(or so) example of what I am talking about. Remember, what I did in 10 min is not perfect by any means. However it should communicate the gist of the scene from an almost abstract perspective. I can already see where things are off but I am still satisfied because my intent was not to create a carbon copy of the picture. When you take a step back however and view your image from a distance, it should read relatively well.
Watch the video, and give it a shot. As you get more used to this process, start to increase the time frame for painting. Try 20 min, then, 30, and 1 hr. The question you must ask is how much did I comprehend and rationalize in each picture and how quickly did I capture each element and shape. As you go through this process, you will start to automatically tackle the high contrast areas that provide a focal point.
So the take away is this, challenge yourself. Try it for 10 min and post it on the wall and I’ll review it! Even take a picture and convert it to black and white and use a set of gray markers to produce the value range. One last thing…DO NOT LIMIT YOURSELF TO CARS!! It’s very important to understand the world around you! Draw other subject matter. Expand your mind! Hope this helps and happy drawing! As always…please provide feedback if this helps you. Best wishes!
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