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Last week I discussed how I use a sort of mental grid to plan and map out a drawing. This week I’m going to develop that a bit with drawing in a spiral. Using both will soon become automatic and second nature – and you’ll suddenly find your drawings are less inclined to go wrong.
Drawing in a spiral means you start at one point – you can choose any, but I pick a point at or near the centre – draw what you see, then fill in around it little by little. So you don’t go off in one direction and fill it all in, because if you do it bit by bit you will never go too far wrong. I don’t complete rectangles, squares or other shapes, until I get there in my spiral. That way I don’t commit before I’m sure.
You bring in what you learned with the mental grid too, in that you are estimating the sizes of shapes in relation to the shapes next to them. It is much easier to do this in practice than to put it into words so I recommend you practice a sketch at home, with your own kitchen hob. Don’t forget to put a few pots on it before you start – remember it’s always easier to use a grid or a spiral when there are more reference points!
Spiral Sketching – How It Works
Here’s an example of this kind of spiral sketching in action.
I took a photo of my kitchen hob…
1. I drew the kettle in the middle.
– See how I made a mistake with the lid of the casserole but pressed on regardless.
– Also note that the metal sign above the kettle is not complete.
– I use the position of the knob on the casserole to place the little girl writing on the sign. That’s an example of using a mental grid.
– I can fill in the detail of the sign because I keep close to the kettle.
– I draw the knobs of the hob, keeping close to the casserole.
– The fiddly bits of the hob, the knobs and so on, aren’t too difficult as long as I draw them little by little and don’t stray too far from the casserole and kettle.
– There’s a bit of a slope with the tops of the metal signs. I should have noticed that – but it’s not going to ruin the sketch.
– All the while I am checking the sizes of the things I am adding to make sure they’re all right.
If you really want to learn to draw accurately, you will need to practice! The more you practice the easier it will get. The spiral technique can be applied in all kinds of circumstances but remember – the more complicated, the better! Don’t be tempted to use a photo. It’s not the same and it won’t “flow” in the same way that drawing from life will. So polish that counter top (I did!) or leave some fruit lying artfully around – whatever you think will be nice to draw – and get practicing!
Good luck – and happy sketching!