Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Anybody Can Draw 002: Shape
After doing the last anybody can draw post, I got to thinking more about that hypothetical class room. How would it go from there? I think looking at the elements of design is a good place. In my head, design is all about how we assimilate and represent visual information. Being able to break down that information and form an educated plan of attack is what allows us to make a drawing that actually looks like something. I thought about where to start, and shape seemed like a good place because so much of what we see and interpret in an image is based on that initial silhouette. In a movie you can usually tell the good guy from the bad guy simply by interpreting body language, and the way the shapes he or she was designed from. Curves=Good, Pointy Bits=Bad.
The sample image above are some examples of what are called "Primitive" shapes. Most things able to be created usine one or other of these shapes. Just think about those old "How to draw..." fill in the blank with dinosaurs, cartoon characters, jets or animals. While those books showed us how to make some passable little drawings using a formula. They did it by demonstrating how to break down the shapes.
Shapes can also be used to break up the space in your pictures, like in the "vases and Faces" image to the right. This is an old example of using shapes to define the space surrounding it, or using the surrounding space to define the shape, depending on how you look at it. Is it two faces looking at each other, or an elaborate vase? When working on drawings, it's always worthwhile to consider how shapes effect everything around them, and vice-versa.
Finally, on the left here is an example of something recognizable drawn using only shape. Specifically using the shapes in all of the darks to put together an illustration that is both familiar and dramatic.
I hope that all of this made sense, and wasn't too dry. This is really a huge, complicated topic that people have devoted whole sections of books to... So a blog post is naturally... missing something. The main points that I was trying to get across is that shapes are the building blocks of pretty much everything in our world. Shapes define and are defined by the container they are put in. Finally that while when we think of shapes, we think "Rectangle", "Circle", or "Star" but the reality is that they are so much more complex and rewarding than that.
Okay. Until next time, take care and be good.