Drawing Skeletons

The third of the Dalhousie Observation Drawing sessions occurred on March 26th, from 4:30-6:00. The weekday (Tuesdays) and time seem to work well for most students. The university halls are a quieter than the morning rush, and students can attend unless assignments are due the next day.

The third session focused on skeletal subjects, including several seal bones and two mounted feline skeletons. As usual the sessions started with several short (15 second) warm up drawings, and then some longer (30 second) warm up drawings.  The idea of these warm up drawings is to encourage trying to see large shapes, angles and proportions.  Most drawings should start in this way, with light pressure lines rapidly trying to capture the large proportions and shaps.

After the warm up the group did a memory drawing exercise. The seal bones were placed in the middle of the table and covered with a sheet of paper. When the sheet was lifted the participants had 30 seconds to observe the different elements, without doing any drawing. When the sheet was returned participants could then begin to draw, what they  remembered seeing.  The memory drawing is intended to demonstrate the fallability of memory.  The exercise also shows how much easier it is to draw when you observe rather than what you think you see.

Drawing skeleton specimens at the Dalhousie McCulloch Museum.
Drawing skeleton specimens at the Dalhousie McCulloch Museum.

With the warm up activities done, several longer drawings were completed on the normal newsprint paper but then the good paper (mylar) was brought out for a final (30 minute) drawing.  The use of mylar paper provided an increased ability to shade and produce very dark lines.  The mylar paper is a high-quality drawing material.  Although initially intimidated by the nice paper, the final drawings were very good.

Final drawings of the cat skeleton on mylar paper.
Final drawings of the cat skeleton on Mylar paper. Notice the seal bones on the table as well.

I am grateful for the students who have attended the sessions and participated in the Observation Drawing Sessions.  The term is starting to wind-down, assignments are coming due and exams are on the horizon. Based on these initial sessions the hosting of future sessions has good potential.

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