Day 2 of Week 6 of The Art & Science of Drawing is about block-in.

convert complex curves and contours into straight lines before drawing the details

The Block-in Method

  • contours can very often be described better with straight lines than with simple geometrical forms that are too generic
  • the intersection of 2 straight lines define an apex that can be use for angle sighting

Block-in a single subject

As always, start from general to specific:

  • if possible, start with some simple geometrical forms to roughly describe the subject
  • add the straight lines
  • using the apexes, verify that everything is in proportion
  • adjust what needs to be adjusted
  • with a kneaded eraser the block-in drawing
    • remove first the graphite or charcoal dust by dabbing your kneaded eraser
    • once the excess dust was remove, erase the remaining marks until you leave only a light trace of the block-in
  • now start adding your final contour lines, using the block-in as a guide

Block-in multiple subjects

  • start by simplifying the subjects in basic forms
  • make sure these simple forms have the right size and position one to the other
  • envelope your subjects and double-check the angles and sizes are correct
    • connect apex points with imaginary lines to create a contour that “envelops” all your shapes
  • if you find some errors correct your drawing
  • now start the block-in for each individual subject
  • block-in is useful if you can identify straight lines

Summary (by Brent)

  • translate complex forms into basic shapes (circles, ovals, rectangles, triangles, …) or volumes (cylinders, spheres, cubes, …)
  • use the block-in to translate complex curves into straight lines
  • use the envelope for additional checks
  • draw a detailed contour using dark lines

The assignment

  • select 3 objects and draw them using the block-in method
    • fruits and vegetables are great for today’s project
  • extra challenge: after drawing each object individually, draw all three of them grouped together

Celery root
Celery root
Green pepper
Green pepper
Extra challenge: celery root, green pepper and parsley root
Extra challenge: celery root, green pepper and parsley root
The assignment
The assignment