Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Straightforward and Clear as Mud

How do I clearly explain how I constructed these ellipses? 
Still sifting through a sea of information in order to get this "book" finished. If you're new to the blog I'll take a moment to explain. A couple of years ago I set out to put together a book, for myself not to publish, of information on drawing and painting. The idea came from endless disappointing searches for information on specific topics. For example, if you're looking for a simple explanation on two-point perspective you end up reading a book full of technical jargon and it may never clearly explain what you need to do to accurately recreate two-point perspective in a drawing. A lot of information seems to start and stop. It's as if every person who wrote about anything art related assumed we all have previous knowledge of everything they're trying to write about. Another example, I'm currently working through a book that used the term "jugular notch".  That artist assumes everyone has a laymen's knowledge of anatomy. The term students in an Anatomy course would learn is suprasternal notch. Either way, if you have no prior knowledge of this particular anatomy you're just not going to follow which in turn makes the information sort of useless.
What I've also found useless is nearly every explanation on how to draw an ellipse. I have yet to find a straightforward explanation. Keep in mind I didn't ask for an EASY explanation, just a straightforward one. Some things aren't easy but surely there's a way to get from point A to B without taking so many detours. This explanation is about as straightforward and really good, but you still need the information on how to draw a square in perspective. The information on that can easily be inserted so I'll give Mike Sibley a gold star for his good explanation, and dare I say easy? It was easy to follow so yea, gold stars across the board.
The reason why I'm looking to make the best, most straightforward, explanations of concepts is because the book is going to take on more of a recipe box form. So if I want to make something I need all of the information on one recipe card. Have you ever known anyone wanting to make a casserole and had to get each step and ingredient off of a different recipe card? Forget that, just go to Wendy's and get a cheeseburger.
Are there any books out there that give straightforward answers on basic concepts? Why do most authors insert the assumption that the reader has prior knowledge of certain concepts? Should books come with requirements like some workshops do? Some workshops/college courses require you to have previous experience before you can sign up maybe the books should come with a label that says something like; must have prior knowledge of bourgeoisie concepts and terminology before proceeding.


  1. I like his square in perspective method. I find that easy to draw though you do need that info beforehand. It seems to boil down to separating what you you see from what you know. We ran into some of that in oil class. Concept seems to trump perception so readily - even when you know better.

    1. Separating what you see from what you know, I see a lot of things and have no idea what it's all about.

    2. Seeing something and having no idea what it is can be an advantage if you can remain calm and get the position, size, shape, color etc. Trouble is, that state of unfamiliarity tends to rattle me and requires a conscious effort to work through it. It's tough balancing senses, mind and emotions when you paint and I doubt there's a fixed balance for every person. Maybe a basic approach to start with, but it needs to be adjusted to suit.