Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ellipse Exercise

Drawing ellipses in correct perspective is one of my difficulties, and where I could use a lot of practice.  I was flipping through my copy of Bert Dodson's Keys to Drawing and I ran across an exercise in Chapter 5 that gives me just that opportunity to get some of that practice.  He has you gather at least five items of varying heights and widths that contain plenty of ellipses in their shapes and draw a still life of these items.

So what you see here is my attempt at this exercise.  After gathering my items, setting up the still life on a large sheet of white paper, I begun drawing the ellipses in these items, lightly in pencil.  Bert Dodson has you "draw through" each ellipse, meaning, even though the ellipses may be partially hidden by the inherent opacity of the object, or by another object, draw the complete ellipse anyway.

Make sure the shape of the ellipse is correct, as it will vary according to your perspective.  Near eye level, ellipses flatten; below (or above) eye level they begin to round out closer to a circle.  So in my case, the top ellipses (the top rims of the beer glass, beer bottle, and mortar, etc.) are flatter than the bottom ellipses of these objects.

Though he doesn't specifically say to, I also drew a vertical line through each object indicating the central axis so that my ellipses align.

Once I was satisfied with my ellipses, I drew the shapes in ink, using the ellipses as guidelines.  I did not bother erasing the penciled-in axis and ellipse lines, as I wanted to remember the process I went through to create this.  I painted the objects and cast shadows with watercolors.

I should do this more often...it's a good exercise!

3 comments:

Ann Shaver said...

Very helpful!

larry said...

Great post, Stacy. The draw-through approach to ellipses is, to me, the most valuable use for pencils :-)

The results of your 'exercise' look great. Wish I could paint like that. Maybe some day.

Cheers --- Larry

Dave said...

Very nice Stacy. I never really thought about practicing ellipses, just for the practice, but it's a great idea and I do need the practice. Wonderful colors too!
Dave