Monday, March 22, 2010

You can have your cake and eat it too!

Or, rather, you can draw and watch a movie at the same time PLUS get something more valuable out of it than just casually doing both.  I used to do this exercise years ago in my art classes and everyone loved it.  Of course I would do it right along with them (hence the lovely sketches of R2D2, Yoda and other characters that I don't remember where they came from).

1.  Do you have an old VCR still?  If not use a DVD player and a timer.  I like to put in a movie that has lots of fun characters and animals but that's not what you have to do.  There are plenty of challenges with regular ones.
2.  Get your good old sketch book and a pencil or pen of any kind.
3.  Search through the movie and try to find something/somebody that looks interesting.  Then let the movie play.

4.  Quickly pause it and whip out your sketch book and pencil.
5.  Start drawing what you see as fast as you can before it unpauses (use the timer and be strict about it).  The advantage of the VCR is that it will start up and you won't really be able to find that exact pose again.

What do we get out of this?  Well, it makes you move quicker, forces you to train your eye to really see things in minute detail, it's very fun, you will improve your drawing skills.

Art History Moment:  For an artist that is so famous for his paintings and drawings of ballet dancers it's very hard to believe that Edgar Degas, an Impressionist, really didn't like women.  In fact he held them in contempt!  When I think ballet and art I think of Degas-exceptional, flowing dancers.  Because he was influenced by Japanese art and photography it's easy to see why his compositions drift off the page.  No flowers centered on the table for him.  Take this as a great tip from this "Moment"-it's by far more interesting to use this type of composition but remember the deadly tangent (see post before).  It will ruin your view if you don't keep that in mind.


  1. That is a really good idea. Not to mention it would be a blast for kids as well as adult art students. I also like the tid bit about Degas. Now I will think of that everytime I see any of his work.

  2. Yes, it is very fun and helpful. Kids really like it a lot. I'm glad that you are enjoying the art history. I'm getting the best review and I need that! I sure wish I could have done this years ago when I was fresh out of school in the '70's. Then I would have REALLY had some good stories to tell but I bet I can come up with new ones. I just have to search them out (good for me also). You know I think teachers are the ones that benefit more from the lessons because we have to learn a lot more than the student.