Drawing for Communication


Sketch Set 1

This set of drawings should be done from direct observation of existing objects. Your focus is on objects based on geometric forms: spherical, cylindrical, and cubical.

In your sketchbook, draw a variety of small objects from direct observation, from different points of view. Use gesture and contour line. Keep tone to a minimum. Concentrate on describing edges, correct proportion, angles, etc. Eliminate surface decoration and color.

candle sketch

pear sketch

Sketch Set 2 - Light Logic

Set up an arrangement of fruits, vegetables and a paper lunch bag or grocery bag. Set up a direct light source so that the light comes from the side or from an angle onto the arrangement. Draw the arrangement using gesture and contour line. Draw it again using tone and shading. By all means feel free to do more than one set of arrangements.

bag with fruit 1

bag with fruit 2

Sketch Set 3 - Linear Perspective

Line and tonal drawings of furniture and objects in environments. Relate the object to the piece(s) of furniture. Draw these from 2 different angles. Include an indication of the space around. Can be indoor or outdoor environments. For example: Select a chair, put a pillow and book on it. Indicate the wall, the floor, the window, other furniture, etc. Another example: At your favorite coffee place, draw the condiment bar with the napkin holder, etc., or a product display and the various products on it, or a table and chair with a book or coffee cup on it.

First, begin with gesture/structure and build the drawings with contour line, considering internal and external contours, insertion points, line weight, etc. Pay special attention to orthogonal lines (these are implied lines, of course), eye level, vanishing points, what type of perspective each object is set in (1 point, 2 point), scale of objects in relation to each other, overlapping of objects, and angles. That's a lot to think about, but all these concerns will help you create convincing drawings.

Media: use pencil, pen (marker) or both.

Create convincing drawings that accurately communicate what you're seeing.

Perspective 1

Perspective 2

Sketch Set 4 - Quick Sketch

This time we're focusing on gesture - conveying movement and direction. Because we're dealing with movement and direction, still life is not the subject of the week.

Sketch out gestural studies of people and animals. Here are a couple of approaches: you can do either or, or both. Both will be best, of course, because you're gaining experience on 2 level.

A) Draw what you're watching on TV. - Figures in motion. Capture the action in a few seconds. Then go on to the next gesture.  Fill your pages with a variety of gestural sketches. Draw quickly and keep your wrist and arm loose. Look for the center axis of the figure as a guide.

B) Draw from life. Go to a mall, a park, a bookstore, a cafe, a sporting event, a dog show... and draw the action in gestural sketches. Fill your pages with a variety of gestures. Draw quickly and keep your wrist and arm loose. Look for the center axis of the figures as a guide.


Sketch Set 5 - Hand Lettering & Drawing from Reference

We're stepping it up this week by integrating design elements and dealing with reference and research.

Before embarking on your drawing session, search on hand lettering and observe how lettering and imagery can be integrated.

A) Working from reference photos (magazines, downloaded, your own photos), re-create the images in pencil and also in pen. Include a frame of reference. Refer to the Struzan Hellboy and the Mucha examples in the lecture for ways to approach the framing device. Look around for other approaches. Be creative.

B) Working from different reference photos, re-create the images or a portion of them and integrate hand lettered elements in a meaningful way*. Include a frame that also integrates with the lettering and objects/likeness.

Subject matter for both A and B can be objects, likenesses, human and/or animal figures. Your drawings should be realistic in keeping with the approaches we've taken so far. Be careful with proportion, perspective, shape, light and shadow, etc. Your drawings should be convincing and accurate.

*No profanity, vulgarity or otherwise offensive words, please. Also, use English.

set 5-1

set 5-2

Sketch Set 6 - Hands

We're back to drawing from life, but also continuing to draw from reference.

A) From Life: Draw your non-working hand and/or hands of another in various poses. In some, include objects, so that the hand(s) is holding or using something: mug, drinking glass, ball, key, pencil, cell phone, garden hose, purse, book... for example.

You can draw looking directly at the hand or by looking at the hand in a mirror. The mirror provides more options for points of view.

If you're drawing someone else, attempt drawing both hands doing something.

B) Draw from a photo. You'll need to research - Google, or whatever - to find hand shots or images of people using their hands. Try drawing both men's and women's hands, so you'll be able to study the general differences there.

The approach for both A and B is contour & tone... going beyond just gesture.

Hint - hands of elderly folk are great to draw. You can also challenge yourself with drawing hands of toddlers, where the proportions of finger length to size of hand are different than in adults.

Sketch 6-A

Sketch 6-B

Sketch Set 7 - Proportion/Shape - Heads

We're working on likenesses this week. You'll be drawing from reference.

Find good photos (internet download, screenshot, video still, your own photo of a TV broadcast - I do this all the time so I don't run into the AP/Shepard Fairey scenario - magazine, etc.) of a known celebrity, actor, spokesperson, athlete, show host, pundit, commentator or politician. One male. One female.

Using the references, draw each separately. Include appropriate textual content to communicate something about the person, and design your drawing well. Think of each one as a finished piece. Include a framing device.

Example: a head shot of Conan O'Brien with the word TALK in hand-lettered Helvetica integrated into the design. So now you can't use Conan O'Brien as a subject. Sorry. :)

Use pen or pencil, or both. Add color if you think it helps - either marker or color pencil.

Directive: be sure to design the type so that it works within the design and not simply as a label floating somewhere in the vastness of negative space.

Be creative & original.

sheldon drawing sheldon cooper

all rights reserved by http://pics.livejournal.com/guapacris/pic/0006p447 for original picture above.

Sketch Set 8 - Heads/Two- & Four-Legged

Focus on animals, faces and figures from life and photo reference.

Develop a variety of drawings depicting people interacting with each other, with objects and with animals. Take note of whether you do better when drawing from life or from drawing from reference. Think about why. What can you do to improve? Why does it matter?

koala sketch original picture all rights reserved by http://www.budgettemplates.co.uk/images/Zoo%20Animal%20646.jpg for original picture.

Sketch Set 9 - Storytelling: Animals & People

This week's focus involves putting a few things together: gesture,contour, tonal shading (light logic), plus movement and drawing from memory. The purpose is to help refine your process, skills and thinking for your term project, which should already be in progress.

Here is your development process for this week:

  1. Observe animals and /or people in motion - walking, running, performing tasks, playing sports, talking, gesticulating (the motions people make with their hands while talking) etc.
  2. Develop a sequence of 5-7 gesture sketches. The purpose of these is to record the sequence of motion or facial expressions to refer to when developing your contour drawings.
    • You can draw from life - direct observation - or from TV, video stream, etc. Sources: sports events, cooking shows, your pet(s), your friends/family/co-workers, YouTube, Vimeo, newscasts, lectures, etc.
  3. Based on your gestures, develop more detailed contour drawings, keeping the sense of movement, expression and spontaneity inherent in your gestures.
    • To keep that sense, consider direction of your figure(s) and line quality.
  4. Apply shading to the contour drawings to create light/shadow, figure/ground, etc. as appropriate to your "story". Although some stylization is okay, focus on being descriptive of form and movement.

Each drawing in the sequence should be "framed" in some way, as in a panel cartoon or graphic novel. Add hand-lettered text to "explain" the action (example: talk bubbles, caption boxes, headlines, etc.) Be creative here.

  • Consider the design of each frame and the design of the grouping of frames as one complete and unified design.
  • Integrate the lettering into the design(s) rather than "slap it on" simply because the lettering is required.
  • Shade in the manner in which you are most comfortable, but also be as accurate and expressive as you can.

roughs final

Term Project

Idea 1:

idea 1

I spent 2 weeks on the above idea for "sixth sense". Here is the feedback that I obtained from my instructor:

What you have so far are 3 items positioned near each other. You show no framework. What is your title and where is it going to go? Have you developed thumbnails? Are you following the process as described in the project specs? Begin with the design structure - 16 x 20. Don't fly without FIRST determining your structure. Then work out compositions, select the strongest and develop iterations and refinements.

Remember that you're looking for a unique twist on the chosen phrase, not a literal interpretation.

I have no idea why this interpretation is considered literal. Usually when I think of "sixth sense" I think of ghosts and/or psychics, no skeletons and changes.

Final Solution:


I decided to take a different route and use a Sharpie. I think this conveys "sixth sense" in a more unique rather that literal way. It gives that eerie sensation.