Drawing Class

I just started teaching a beginning drawing class at Ella Sharp Museum. Tonight was our second class. I have eight adult students. I am really enjoying teaching this group. They seem very enthusiastic and so far it’s been a lot of fun. Well, you know…I’ve been a bit nervous…but tonight I felt much more relaxed. Anyway…tonight we started out going outside to draw. It was so nice…73ยบ and sunny and I just couldn’t resist taking advantage of the great weather. We spent about a half hour drawing whatever we wanted…Anna drew a tree, Brenda drew a purse, Brad drew a building. It was fun and relaxing. I have to say that I am already seeing a huge improvement from the drawings I had them do last week. Although, some of my students say they intentionally did poorly on those, so they would look like they improved a lot. (lol) Regardless of that, I think tonight they did some really great drawings. A couple of them even came in with sketchbooks filled with drawings that I hadn’t even asked them to do…things around them, the fireplace, a slipper, some elephants…and they were pretty good. I am so glad to see them doing drawings outside of class assignments…and enjoying it.

When we came back inside, we did some blind contour drawings. If you have never heard of this, it’s basically where you draw an object without looking at your drawing at all. You keep your pencil on the paper and never lift it off so that your drawing is one continuous line. The goal is to move your eye slowly along the edges capturing every crease, wrinkle, and fold that you see. Your pencil should only move at the same rate as your eye. We drew our hand. Here are some instructions if you’d like to try it.

Allow about 20 minutes to do this drawing. Read all the directions before you start.

1. Tape the paper in front of you.
2. Look at the palm of your non drawing hand. Have your hand slightly curved toward you.
3. Sit comfortably (music in the background)
4. Face your hand, but face away form the paper so that you cannot see the paper.
5. Place your pencil on the paper and begin to draw slowly.
6. Move your eyes and your pencil at the same time, drawing each line as it appears, going from one line to the next and comparing size, length, direction, etc. Do this as you look at your hand and duplicate your gaze on the paper. Do not look at your paper.
7. Do not look at the drawing before you are done. Draw from start to finish without stopping.
8. If your mind tells you that “this is dumb,” or if you hear other messages, just keep drawing. (This actually happens!)
9. When you are finished look at the drawing. It will be a tangled mess of pencil lines (it should be) which represent everything you have seen. These represent the details you have seen. They may slightly represent a hand, but that is not important. It is important that you have seen the details.

Here’s mine…I got distracted, making comments and answering questions, so I missed the wrinkles and creases in a few of my fingers.

After that we did a contour drawing of our shoe…This time we could look at the paper…but we tried to only look about 10% of the time at our drawings and spent the rest studying the subject. Hard to do, but produces great effects.

Illustration Friday topic: Travel

So now Illustration Friday posts the new challenge for the week on Friday, in an attempt to give us the weekend to work on it. This weekend we drove to Chicago and spent Saturday and Sunday in the city. So the IF theme for this week was perfect for me. There was so much I wanted to draw, but we were busy doing stuff and taking care of our three little ones…I didn’t get many opportunities and when I did, it was late, dark and I was exhausted so I didn’t take advantage of them. I drew this while we were just driving into Chicago passing the skyscrapers. What you see through the windshield is basically a collage of buildings I saw as we drove in, they are not in the right places…but you get the idea of city buildings right? Also, please excuse the shakiness of the lines…I was drawing in a moving vehicle, which is not really that easy to do…depending on who is driving!

When we got to Chicago we dropped our luggage off at the hotel and parked the car. We then walked like 19 blocks or something from the Sheraton to Ed Debevic’s. We waited like a half hour for our table. Our waiter was this guy with an attitude. If you’ve ever been there, you’d know that’s what the restaurant is famous for…not their food. And I have to say that the food was pretty bad. Especially when we got the bill for the 8 of us and it was just under $100.00! Totally not worth the price. The atmosphere was fun, the staff was crazy, but I think next time we go to Chicago we will find a new place to go that we haven’t been to before.

After eating at Ed’s we walked back to Michigan Ave. We stopped in a few stores…the Disney store and the Apple store were places we had to go. We took a shuttle to Navy Pier and saw the sights there. I also saw a friend of mine and his family…they had taken the train in and were spending the weekend there too. By the time we got back to our hotel and got registered and up to our rooms, it was like 7:30. I have no idea what we did all that time…walk, I guess. Anyway, then we had to decide if we would eat first, or swim first. No one at the hotel knew the time the pool closed, because 3 people told us different times. The earliest was 8:45, and we knew that if we didn’t swim first, we may miss the chance until tomorrow and the kids were so looking forward to it. So we got changed and headed to the pool, only to stand for a half hour in a line. Evidently the pool area had reached it’s max. capacity of 50 so we basically had to wait in line until someone else decided to leave! So annoying. We swam for about 25 minutes.

After swimming, we got changed, Sam arranged us some transportation with the concierge, and we met down in the lobby waiting for our ride. We were picked up in a white stretch limo.

Our chauffer drove us around town, down by Navy Pier and back to the Pizza place we had decided to eat at. It was fun…and the kids loved the ride. At the restaurant we got Chicago-style pizza and it was so yummy.

We ate so late though, Max actually fell asleep in Jasmin’s lap at the table. He didn’t wake up even in the cab back to the hotel! We got back, and all I wanted to do was climb into bed and cuddle up under the down microfiber comforter and bury my head in the four down/feather pillows that were on my bed. I have to say, those beds we slept in at the Sheraton were THE most comfortable beds I have ever seen in any hotel. Even more comfortable than my own.

I got to sleep by myself, at least for part of the night…Max kept waking up, and I was so tired I couldn’t even think (until morning) that he would sleep better if I would go find his pacifier in the bag in the bathroom. So, anyway, after like an hour Max ended up in my bed. And by morning, I had both of the boys with me. They woke up at 6:30!!!!! So I was grumpy and jealous that everyone else got to sleep in. All the snacks were in the other room, where Jasmin and Tracy, Christian and Savannah were all still sleeping. So here I am trying to keep 2 little boys QUIETLY entertained with no food, in a 11×15 room. We only had a few casualties…the crumbs of cheetos and popcorn emptied out on the carpet, 4 poopy diapers (yes! in 3 hours!) A spilled bottle of water, and miscellaneous non-valuable objects thrown out of the open window on the 16th floor.

We finally got packed and ready, and headed out to Shedd Acquarium. We spent the afternoon looking at bad-guy sharks, penguins, and various species of fish…my favorite were the sea dragons,

I would have liked to draw one…but didn’t have time. I did take a couple of minutes to sketch a beautiful blue-spotted stingray though. So that was our trip. It was fun. I am glad we had the chance to go and to go with our friends Tracie and Christian. It was a great time with the kids and they all really enjoyed the whole experience.