: Good stuff. My main motivation with that picture plane post was to give a way to get beginners
looking at the all over pattern of shapes, a continuation of that naturalistic "painting" post. I think evocative abstract
shapes, representing interesting ideas, are the number one cause of interesting drawings and paintings, without those shapes
an artist might as well be a writer or filmmaker.
edit: I think that all my favorite artists are making use of the total picture plane in a way that artists that I don't care
about aren't. The way they have these story telling units arranged entering the page, moving around within it, and exiting
is a lot different than the others. Their graphics are related to each other and the page in a way not found in the multitude
of average fantasy artists who depend mostly on the excitement of the props and things of their scenes for their effect,
mostly blood, battles and babes.
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Mass and Modelled drawing
I consider the mass drawing exercise to be the equivalent of the "bridge of asses"/"bridge of fools" in euclidean geometry.
It's easy to fake contour drawing and just trace the appearance, it's easy to fake gesture drawing and produce meaningless
scribbles or flowing lines. The mass exercise is a direct consequence of what is learned from the contour exercise, the
contour excercise is actually a disguised and simplified version of the modelling exercise.
What you were doing in contour drawing is essentially the same thing that a kid does when they draw a turkey by tracing
their hand. The pencil is parallel against the surface it is touching. This resistence to a surface gives rise to the concept
of a mass. This is an example of what could be called a synthetic experience: what you see + what you touch combine to give
a new feeling which you can't get by just seeing or just touching. I believe this type of phenomenon is the crux of art.
This exercise is an introduction to the idea of depth. Depth is something which is not seen, but rather it is alluded to by
changing appearances, depth is allusion. In "Meditations on Quixote", and everyone should read Don Quixote, Ortega y Gassett
uses the analogy of walking through a forest to describe depth. He say that you never actually see the forest, instead what
happens is that you see the fronts of a bunch of trees, and as you go deeper into the forest you get this idea in your mind
that there are trees behind you, and that there are trees yet to be seen in front... the trees that you see allude to the
other trees which you have see and the others that you will see.
A mass is revealed and made known by relating it against another mass. The primary masses are your body and the earth.
EDIT: Mass is added to a drawing by rendering. The working of the page with the medium, as in the instructions, is rendering without the illusion of light.
A mass drawing is a pure invention because it cannot be traced off of a visual appearance.
In this exercise we have another case of the technique being in direct correspondence with the observation and idea that
is being rendered. The color of the substance of the medium(crayon) corresponds with the color of the substance of the model
which is red in the case of people, although this step is ignored in the early exercises it is introduced in the watercolor
exercise. The resistence you feel from the drag of the crayon building up on the page corresponds with pushing through the
density and heaviness of the substance of the model. The darkness that builds up on the page is the sign that illustrates
the hidden(alluded) mass.
This core of mass hidden beneath the appearance revealed by light is the "motivation of the form", it's what makes a wheel
roll and a knife(inclined plane) cut. Without this conception of mass backing the renderings of form the drawing will be stiff.
Modelled drawing. The contours drawn in a contour drawing are foreshortened surfaces, caused by imaginatively touching the
side of the pencil against the surface of the model. In modelled drawing the crayon is turned on it's side and pressed against
the more or less un-foreshortened surface. The correspondence here is between whether the crayon is held
perpendicular to the surface of the paper or parallel, in relation to imaginatively touching the surface of the model.
Weight is a relationship between masses, something is heavy only if it is heavier than something else. The fundamental
expression of weight is between an object and the ground. Do drawings of things on the ground, hanging, being thrown into the
air, falling, and suspended in that moment between rising and falling. Also get a bucket of water, move it around and get a
feel for the momentum of the water, also make "contour" drawings of moving from the air through the water. Buy a set of
geometric blocks, like this or whatever http://www.amazon.com/BASIC-GEOMETRI...ometric+blocks