This week we are memorizing both shape and value. If you struggled with week eight’s exercise, go back and try it a few more times before attempting this one.
Also, if this is new to you, begin here first.
Before we continue I want to thank the Guist Gallery for this week’s exercise image. They gave me permission to use some of their images for my forthcoming book on memory drawing and I previously used one of their casts for both of my Sight-Size books here and here.
Print out the image or use it from your monitor. This time there will be no center-line or cheating points. You’re on your own.
When memorizing a complete image (i.e. not simply shape or value) it is still helpful to think about each aspect on its own. As before however, the first time through you should try to take in the visual impression without analysis. Stare into the center of the cast for awhile, then look around it. Try not to think about shape or value. After five minutes of this, draw it from your memory, including its shape and value. Don’t forget to shade in the dark of the background as its value will affect your ability to correctly model the darks and halftones which are on the cast itself.
On the next day, or preferably on the same day, use all of your analysis abilities when looking at the image. Compare all shapes to the whole and to each other. Pay attention to the bed-bug line (aka, the shadow line or the terminator). Find the darkest dark and compare all values to it and to each other. Give yourself five to ten minutes and then try drawing. Alternate impression days with analysis days.
I have my students use white paper and charcoal but you could use a mid-tone grey paper, charcoal and white chalk instead.
Every master who tried to systematize memory-drawing training made a point of having their students spend more time on shape than value and color. We’re one quarter of the way through the year and while I’ve tried to expose you to value, we are going back to shape next week.