Use this chair if you'd like - click
we'll move on to a much more complicated contour drawing
- that of a chair. Get a chair, any chair, this will be
your subject. Sit about six feet away from the chair
with your drawing lap desk and a few sheets of paper on
it, and have your picture frame handy. First, with one
eye closed, just look at the chair for a minute. Try to
look at the spaces between the chair parts; in between
the legs, the space between the back uprights, under the
arm rests. These are the areas that you will draw, and
not the chair itself. Just as if you would normally draw
all the positive spaces in a drawing and all the
negative spaces just fall into place, if you do the
opposite and draw all the negative spaces, the positive
spaces will fall into place. Drawing the negative space,
your logical mind will not try and assign a "symbol" to
the shape because it's not a shape it knows.
Now that you have your first shape drawn, move on to the
next shape, probably one that is near to the shape you
just drew. Keep in mind the distance and angles between
the shapes on your subject and try and put that shape on
your paper right where you see it on your subject. If
there are straight lines in your shapes don't worry
about making them EXACTLY straight, just freehand the
line and get an approximate straight line. Keep adding
your negative space shapes until you have drawn them
all. The proportions of your drawing may be a little bit
off because you guessed at the distances between the
shapes. That's OK if it's a bit off, you can still see
the chair inside the shapes you drew, right? To make it
a bit easier to see you could lightly shade in the
positive shapes of the chair, or better yet, shade in
the negative shapes you drew.
Here's what mine looked like...
Try drawing the contour of a fork.
Now you should have a nice drawing of your chair that
has no detail inside the chair itself. I know it was a
bit difficult because your logical mind kept trying to
muscle in and make you draw shapes you knew. Think back
on your thought process as you drew. You thought things
like "I see a curve here that comes right into a
straight line that now turns a right angle." I hope you
didn't think things like "This leg connects with this
cross member and this back upright connects to the seat
of the chair." Drawing the negative spaces of an object
should get you thinking in terms of space, forms, and
shapes. Further, it should help you break your "symbol"
habit of just drawing not what you actually see but what
your logical mind remembers you seeing and drawing when
you were a kid. Drawing the chair might have been hard
for you because of all the straight lines. I know, I
have trouble with straight lines too. (Look again at my
attempt at the chair - Ugh!). You should try and do
another negative shape drawing with another chair, or
something else that doesn't have so many straight lines.
Try something simpler like a fork or something.