Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ed Emberley and Drawing With Shapes

My Favorite Ed Emberley Book
When I was coming up with topics a few days ago I forgot something that was important. The major thing that any artist needs to know is how make drawing easy (or at least easier). When one says they can't draw something, it often has nothing to do with their drawing skills. Even though there are many things I find difficult to draw I can't help but think that this problem is more mental than anything else. The thing (or person rather) that makes me think this is Ed Emberley and his drawing books. This is his website:

When I was young I use to pick up Ed Emberley's books from the library. From these books I learned how to use simple shapes to create anything. In most learn to draw books I would would see something akin to this:
Who can draw anything from a tutorial like this? I sure can't and I created the original drawing! Many tutorials in art books are like this (some better than others). Most aren't that helpful when you are starting out. This is why I highly recommend looking into Ed Emberley's books. Each part of the tutorials tells you not only what you are drawing, but shows the shape you should draw below the image. The tutorials in the book look something like below:

These books aren't just kid's books. Ed Emberley's books help artists get started thinking in shapes. If you can train your eye to see the basic shapes you should theoretically be able to draw basically anything. The images below are drawn so you can better see the basic shapes in a complex figure.

Drawing basic shapes will allow you to better lay out your page. If you start by drawing squares and circles it's much easier to erase than drawing a whole car, erasing it, and drawing that whole car smaller.

The drawing below is created from the image above. When I start drawing a portrait I'll start by drawing an egg shape for the whole head, lay out where the eyes, nose, mouth and ears should be (this is all represented by the grey lines). Then I go in and make sure that each of these features are in the right position before I start going into deeper detail (black lines). If you get the basic shapes correct, then it will be a lot easier to make a more symmetrical and well drawn illustration.

If you are at the library or bookstore be sure to pick up Ed Emberley's books! Jack Hamm "Drawing the Head and Figure" will go into this in much more detail about drawing the figure. In a day or two I'll talk a bit about gesture. Happy Drawing!

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