Day 19: Building layers
Here’s how drawings, especially drawings of 5 minutes or more, would often go for me. I would put down some lines, trying to keep things light to start with, but struggling to.
But the lines would seem wrong, so I’d go over them again quickly to try to correct them. I didn’t want those wrong lines there on the paper, I wanted them fixed asap. To make clear which was the right one, I’d go harder with the corrections.
Or I’d try to rub things out, which would leave a little bit of mess, and to stand out on the mess, the corrections needed to be harder.
Very quickly, I’d have gone from soft lines to harder and harder layers of corrections. Areas of my drawing which didn’t really need hard, dark marks suddenly had a lot of them. The drawing became a mess. I don’t know if that sounds familiar for you, but that’s how it was for me.
A few things can help with this cycle.
This is part of the observe and commit habit we talked about on day 18. That means you are more thoughtful about lines, and it applies when making corrections too. Don’t rush corrections. Often, you don’t need to immediately rub out the mistake and make it disappear. The mistake is your reference point for the correction – you know that is wrong, and it helps you to see where would be right.
This is a skill that’s not often talked about, but it’s an important skill that experienced artists have that beginners don’t. They can vary the strength of their marks dramatically. They can lay down very light structural marks which don’t interfere with the stronger layers above. This allows them to develop their layers effectively.
To become better at light marks, try that exercise we did on day 16 – draw two points on the paper and draw lines between those points. But this time, just let your pencil or whatever you’re using drag across the paper with barely any downward pressure. See how light you can go. With each new line, increase the pressure just a tiny amount.
Look for the amount of pressure that would be great for the initial layers in your drawing. During today’s Croquis Cafe practice in the longer poses, see if you can lay down an initial layer with those light lines before putting down your final lines.
See you in the next post!