Bailin Studio

He left a paper trail…
SKETCHBOOK BLOG
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Observations on art and art process. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

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For All Students of Art

Doodling is to drawing as practicing scales is to music - the purpose of which is to create muscle memory so the artist can concentrate on meaning and expression.
Want to improve your drawing skills? There are five doodles that are concealed within drawing practice. It is precisely because these five doodles are concealed within an already complex and mystifying process of creating something out of nothing that they have a preternatural affect on the art. Whether the artist is aware of the doodle within the gesture is unimportant; that there are fundamental doodles that can be found and exploited is important. Practice these doodles and you’ll be able to draw anything.
Doodles
Doodling Rules:
1.
Circle: Focus on creating perfectly round circles
2. Ball of String: Looping from one side of an imaginary circle to another, slowly rotate through the circle as if you were drawing it in a Spiralgraph. Once again, make sure that the outside area is a perfect circle.
3. Daisy: Create a daisy with a perfectly circular carpel by looping and rotating out from this imaginary center circle.
4. Hatch: Ok, this is a given, but execute this doodle so that the gestalt forms a square. Make sure that all the lines have the same length and are spaced an equal distance apart from each other.
5. Crosshatch: Another given. But now, using the constraints in the Hatching doodle, make sure that the spaces created by the crossing lines are squares.
Thumbnails are ideas working through the hands. They are the equivalent of visual short-hand. They determine compositional focus and viewpoint and allow you to work through visual ideas and experimentation. Thumbnails allow you to discover what interests you in a setting so that you aren’t bored when you translate thumbnail to finished drawing. They are indispensable and must be part of your artistic workflow.
Thumbnails are the blueprints to the drawing practice. You can’t build a house without considering the purpose for which the house is being constructed, the land it is built on, the placement of the dwelling on the property, or how the layout of the house provides smooth movement throughout the space. How can you start a drawing without knowing how you are going to organize it?
Thumbnails are ideas working through the hands. They are the equivalent of visual short-hand. They determine compositional focus and viewpoint and allow you to work through visual ideas and experimentation. Thumbnails allow you to discover what interests you in a setting so that you aren’t bored when you translate thumbnail to finished drawing. They are indispensable and must be part of your artistic workflow.
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student thumbnails and drawing

Working with Thumbnails:
1. Create a minimum of four thumbnails
2. Select one that works compositionally and thematically but that above all is interesting to you.
3. Transfer the thumbnail directly onto the drawing without looking at the model (i.e., use the thumbnail as your model using the same bounding box proportion and placement of objects).
4. Once transferred, use sighting to lock in the internal proportions
The artist spends hours working on a drawing. It is dull and solitary work. The process leads to periods of creative emptiness and anxiety as well as moments of high expectation and excitment. But no one else is interested in this absurdity except for that which is produced from it. The take away is simple: make what you create meaningful and take responsibility for it.
Matisse Drawing

Matisse • Artist and Model in front of Mirror • 1935 • pencil on paper • 9¾ x 12¾ inches • Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchase, Fred W. Allsopp Memorial Acquisition Fund. 1984.018.001

Studio Rules:
1.
Don’t Make Wallpaper
2. Don’t Contemplate Your Navel
3. The Pit is Inevitable but avoid the Zone
4. Erase frequentl
5. Practice Your Doodles
6. Use Thumbnails
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