Friday, February 8, 2013

Working drawings

Most of the drawings I have shown on this blog have been done for practice or for the joy of drawing, but I do a lot of drawing or sketching for the purpose of exploring an image that I want to use in one of my fabric art pieces. Mostly these are drawings done from a photograph. It is always great if I have a photograph that gives me an image exactly as I want it, but often the angle is wrong, or there are parts that don't work for me. That is when I use the photo for reference and fill in with my own ideas of what I want to see.

I am in the process of making fabric work about Latin American architecture and I have lots of photos from Mexico and South America. I like this cafe shot taken in Oaxaca, Mexico, but I'd like to isolate the cafe and present it in a more straight-on, iconic view.

While the perspective of the photo is not what I want, the photo is still tremendously important for suggesting the kinds of forms and details I want in my drawing, so I keep it in front of me for reference as I work. For the building I blocked in the proportions and divisions of space lightly with a pencil first. Then I went in with my pen and built the details. With my pencil I started with the largest object—the building, then added the windows above and arches below, then basic spacing of moldings and columns. Finally, I blocked in the tables and umbrellas in front. All very vague and simple. When I began the pen drawing, I started at the front, with the chairs, tables and umrellas closest to front of the scene and filled in the details of the building behind them.

Now I have a drawing I can work from when I start my fabric work. I think the thing to remember when you use a photo for your inspiration is that you don't need to include all the details in the drawing. Drawing is an exercise in reinterpretation of reality, not slavish reproduction.


  1. Oh! Terry! I'm inspired! I haven't really drawn since college (many MANY moons ago) but your drawings and posts are inspiring! After finding your blog from the Quitart list email...maybe my son and I will try to do a drawing every (re...most..) days together. Thanks, will be following along!

  2. I know I should draw everyday and love it when I do but the week ends and I realise that I haven't even thought about it all week! I'll follow your blog and hopefully be inspired. I used to take a drawing class and that made me draw at least once a week but the teacher passed away suddenly and that was the end of my drawing.