How to Draw with David Nestler—Lesson No. 13
DON’T DRAW IT, INDICATE IT
For a number of issues now, we’ve been talking about different ways to bring attention to your drawing, From composition to contrast. All small things by themselves, but cumulatively it’s the sum of all parts brought together that makes for a great piece. So let’s talk about another part. Something I like to call “Indication.” Having to do more with texture than design, indication is just another tool to add to your arsenal. Now, there are plenty of instances where you’ve had to draw something recognizable like wood, chrome or clothing. And we’ve talked at length about them. What about an item or texture that’s distinguishable, but it’s either to small, too intricate or you just can’t figure out how to pull it off. Here’s what I mean: Let’s look at Fig.1, a girl pouring
water on herself from a conk shell. I’m not going to begin to try to explain how to draw water. If you know, email me, I could use some help myself in that department. Now look at the exploded view of Fig.1. What have I drawn? Not much, just a series of black spots, half circles, some white dots all collected in an area of varying degrees of gray mass. What I did was “indicate” it. Another way to describe this is to say, “I FAKED it”.
Let’s look at a couple more examples: In Fig.2, we have a hula girl in a grass skirt. Instead of trying to figure out how to draw every long thin blade of dead grass. I faked it by just drawing a few well-placed black-and-gray lines. In the exploded view it looks like nothing, but pull back and it looks like a grass skirt. In Fig.3 we have what looks like a cowboy hat made of snakeskin. Again, I’ve indicated this intricate texture with just a few well-placed dark and light spots. Any texture can be faked, and all it takes is some patience, thought and a little creativity with your pencil.
I know I’ve been beating you to death with this, but it’s still good photo reference that makes this possible. A good hi-res picture allows you to study, dissect and decide your course of action. Take a look at the elements in your reference. Focus on the points that apply to your strengths first. Whether it’s anatomy, hair, clothing, etc., make sure there are plenty of positive elements for you to draw. When it comes to the parts of the sketch that are not your strongest points, that’s when you decide how to approach them. Maybe that element is essential to the piece and you can’t do without it. So, do you indicate it? Do you blow out the mid-tones and apply more contrast? Your reference allows you to decide this prior to putting pencil to paper. And some of the tips we’ve learned in the last couple of issues allows you to have the tools to deal with these situations.
There’s the proverbial saying, “If you can see it, you can draw it.” But if you can see it, and can’t figure out how to draw it… FAKE IT!
Next issue: “Back to basics”.
Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.