Negative Space (Why It's Such a Big Deal)

by Lisa Larrabee

If you do an online image search for "negative space drawings" you will find a tremendous number of examples that range from traditional academic exercises to very creative design solutions.  Variations of negative space exercises exist at all levels of drawing classes (whether or not it is explicitly labeled as such).  So, what is "negative space" and why is it such a big deal?


Facial Features: Cross-Contour Mouth Sketch

by Lisa Larrabee

If you want to improve your drawing and painting, take time to focus on your subject from an academic perspective.  Although it is essential to play and experiment, it is also important to dedicate time for disciplined study to learn more about your subject.  In this example, I focused on the mouth.  However, this type of practice will help you better understand the form of any subject.

I worked from a photograph for this study.  I added cross-contour lines to better understand the dimensional form of the mouth.  Cross-contour lines are lines that follow the surface of the form.  (In contrast, contour lines follow the edge or boundary of the form like an outline).


Expressive Mark Making

by Lisa Larrabee

Not everything we make needs to become something.  I cannot stress enough the importance of experimentation and play without an end result in mind.

This is a demo where I modeled a variety of different types of mark-making using graphite and charcoal.

There is absolutely no wrong way to do this.  Give yourself a nice large sheet of paper and explore how much variety you can create using drawing tools that you already have.  Turn pieces on their side.  Twist the pencil or piece of charcoal or graphite between your fingers. Vary the amount of pressure. Smear the marks with the side of your hand.  Draw with a blending stump.  Make marks with your fingers.  Use erasers to create marks.  Change directions or explore a rhythm that feels new or awkward.  Create flowing marks, then make your hand shake/tremor as you draw.  You get the idea.


Why Make Studies?

by Lisa Larrabee

                                                                                                      Artists often create studies before beginning their artwork.  A study can be a detailed drawing or painting that allows the artist to observe a subject thoroughly and learn more about it. Studies can also be quick, simple images that let the artist work through a variety of options before committing.  
Each type of study could be it's own post, but the following list is a summary: