Category Archives: Exercises

Drawing Elastics

Drawing Elastics

For the past week I have been completing short daily observation drawings in a thin Moleskin folio. The intention is to draw from observation for ten-minutes per day, topics that are visually interesting and relevant for learning.  During the first week this involved drawing an online VR seal humerus (link) from multiple vantage points, as well as redrawing illustrations from academic publications.

Today, the daily observation drawing involved a small elastic band looped into a loose knot.

Ten minute elastic drawings, using Prang Charcoal Pencil (soft) in a 50 pg Moleskin folio.  The elastic knots mimic organic forms.

Ten-minute elastic drawings, using Prang Charcoal Pencil (hard) in a 50 pg Moleskin folio. The elastic knots mimic organic forms.

An elastic band makes an excellent subject for observation drawings. The shapes can change easily with a slight tug or rotation, providing multiple variations that retain and heighten the need for careful observation.  The elastics drawings  mimic organic forms; being mobile, flexible and always under slight internal tension. Also, within reason the accuracy of observation achieved can be estimated through the accuracy of depiction.

The Prang charcoal pencils are useful for focusing attention on shadows, surfaces, and providing the ability to produce the largest variation in tone (very light to very dark).

Drawing elastics will be a helpful observation drawing activity for many professions.  Elastics can mimic organic forms (biology, medicine, engineering)  and they can have complex structural and spatial relationships.

Completing observation drawing projects like this can enhance general observation skills.  It’s easy to find an elastic-band nearby.  Objectives to keep in mind.

  • Begin by lightly locating edges of form.  These can be just dots to locate edges and identify scale of objects.
  • Try to establish the edges of the drawing to fill the height or width of the page.
  • Lightly map out main shapes, observing relative sizes of elements.
  • Gradually add details across entire object, lightly at first.
  • Darker lines added as confidence in details increases through ongoing observation.
  • Continue observing and clarifying details, noting connections between elements (overlap, sizes, directionality)