Into the third dimension: Touch and feel

An experimental lesson in blind drawing

Sometimes my drawing pupils have great difficulties in the comprehension of three-dimensionality.

Of course we always practice the tool set we do have for achieving three-dimensionality within a a two-dimensional drawing.
As there are e.g. shadow and light – of course – or in a pure line drawing (where we don’t block explicit shadow areas) the variation of line weights for modelling the object’s spatial dimensions. Which of course needs a lot of practice…

But interestingly at some point I realized that the difficulty was not only in applying that knowledge,
but generally to perceive an object’s three-dimensionality.

So I came up with the “Touch and Feel” drawing idea:  I wanted them to  experience an object`s three-dimensionality by not seeing – only by touching – it.

I gave them a plastic bag with an unknown object in it and told them to put their left hand into the bag to explore the item inside and meanwhile draw what they touched and felt.

Here are the results of the blind “Touch and Feel” Drawings – the models were little Cow Figurines (by Schleich)…

Touch and Feel Drawing: Cow1
Drawn as felt


Drawn as Seen: Cow1
Drawn as seen
The model: A Cow Figurine by Schleich

Cow Model Figurine

Cow Model Figurine







Touch and Feel Drawing: Cow 2
Drawn as felt
Drawn as seen: Cow 2
Drawn as seen
The model: A black and white Cow by Schleich

Schleich Cow Figurine

Schleich Cow Figurine

Touch and Feel Drawing: Cow 3
Drawn as felt


Drawn as Seen: Cow 3
Drawn as seen

Drawing lessons with Fatma II

Here’s a little update of Fatma’s (my thursday’s drawing pupil) progress:

It’s about two months now that I am working with Fatma on improving her drawing skills. Most of the time we spent on drawing people (especially faces). The main focus of my lessons is on proportion and the need of graphic perception.
Some day when I was looking through her home work I noticed something very interesting:
there was a persisting „quirk“ that turned up in each of her face drawings: all right sides of them had a strong rightwards up distortion.

As she couldn’t make out the mistake herself I made a photo of her drawing and re-distorted the right half downwards like this:

As this quirk wasn’t the result of a wrong posture during drawing but seemed to be some however natured brain thing, I said: okay, let’s stop with drawing faces right here and do a little line exercise instead.
So I asked her to draw a straight horizontal line – and the same effect appeared: it went straight righwards up.
Next I did a straight line with ruler myself and she had to draw a set of ten, twelve lines close-by and parallel to it.
The rightwards-up effect remained the same: the whole block of horizontal lines became smaller on the right side of the paper.

We worked a lot on this – with a lot of boring line drawing sessions. But it was worth it, because it really got better, nearly faded totally.

We ended the year with a more satisfactory result by finishing a drawing based on a photography transferred on paper…

Drawing lessons with Fatma

Last month a woman was knocking at my drawery office door to ask if I offer drawing courses. I said no, I don’t – which resulted in quite a disappointment.

But when my visitor, Fatma, talked about her great desire to improve her drawing skills, I agreed to give her a trial lesson to see further.
Well, what shall I say, we got further and since that trial lesson day Fatma is my regular drawing pupil.

A lot of the drawing principles I’m teaching her are based on Betty Edwards (mainly for the perception of reality and and the ability to reproduce it on paper) and Andrew Loomis (mostly for drawing from mind).

And sometimes we do little little drawing games I made up to improve her skills to approach the basic forms of a model: I set up a pane of glass and either I’m the model myself or have a friend to pose in front of the glass pane and my pupil has to draw the model on the glass.

One nice bonus of this technique: if you use a non permanent felt pen you can do a print of the drawing by spraying a little water on the glass and then pressing a piece of paper on it for a mono print like this: