After the football

After the Football
The Superbowl result shocked the World!..
……hang on Brian, you have been here too long.
It shocked football fans in America. The World was not watching, but Americans are brought up to believe that it is. Its a kind of almost endearing innocence, a bit like believing in Santa.
It affected our drawing instructor. For a week now he has been admonishing people who are….wait for it…..”dropping the ball.” Clearly you cannot win the game if you keep dropping it..
In the early stages almost noone drops the ball.( except the Denver Broncos who took 13 seconds to drop the ball) Concentration is high, the game plan is clear.
Map out the “kite”. Locate your drawing on the paper,highest and lowest, left and right. Check your angles with the kite by connecting the dots.
Now develop the kite into the envelope and further into the silhouette. All this while , use a flowing straight line applied very light (it needs to disappear later )  Draw vectors not contours. A bit like Bargue.
Ok, now map the form shadow. (Can have other names like terminator, crescent,block in. )Keep your work loose. Dont commit yourself to a mark that cannot be changed.  The need for toughness of the paper is apparent, and quality of your erasers. A word on pencils. Have them sharpened to a very long lead. This allows broad swathes of hatching,as well as needle point.
Now hatch ( using 45 parallel ) the big shadow shapes.
At this point opinion diverges. Do you lightly rub over with a very soft tissue? Do you apply a layer of graphite dust? Or go the purist route and continue working with the pencil.? Do we use a stump.?  A mechanical pencil with a 0.7 HB lead.?If you are working on toned paper this is the time to work the lights, because once rubbed, the conte wont take.
We have our shadows blocked. Block lights as well with the eraser .Now we work from the form shadow back into the light. The subtle transitions here are critical. A sudden transition is occasioned by a rapid change of angle in the surface,slow transitions by gradual change. I saw you drop the ball and finger smudge!
By this time you have been working on your drawing for 4 or 5 sessions of 3 hours.
Now is when the ball usually  gets dropped. The drawing looks pleased with itself. But we have only just begun the rendering process. We are in front, but its only halftime.
The tones have to be darkened layer by layer, and we begin to lighten by lifting out with the eraser. At the same time, working form modelling using a needle point. Sometimes using parallel hatching,sometimes a circular motion controlling pressure,sometimes irregular squiggles,sometimes cross hatch..The whole time we are refining the drawing,making changes,defining form shadow and cast shadow.Once you think its fixed,you drop the ball. Its an attitude thing. Motivation required.
And now the suprise.Provided we havent dropped the ball the endgame is rewarding. The layers of graphite build up on the clay surface of the paper, revealing and concealing texture. It is a very sensual experience as the layers begin to mimic human skin.
And now you know why i am a convert. The final results can look ” more real than a photo”  Its eerie. 5 mornings a week for 4 weeks. Apparently thats what it takes,and why “slow art” has been used to describe what is essentially a sculptural approach.If it is,its like carving a marble block with a toothpick.
“Game over, wheres the cawfee? Anybody got the ball?”
Brian Deagon

New York

Costa Vavagiakis gave me drawing 101.

Have your paper oriented vertically ,remove distractions like perforations. have a sheet of the same type under to cushion. Keep your distance (arms length if you have the strength). Prepare several strips of paper to be used to measure ,use as a straight edge and even a plumb bob but a Skewer or knitting Needle is Best..Then having dropped a vertical from eye To foot of my model,all was revealed, and was wrong

He has painstakingly explained how to sharpen a pencil, then how to hold it.
And it is clear that he. Despite his work being highly worked and reworked, sees there is a problem with highly rendered work, if the rendering is only there because the artist didn’t know when to stop. In that case he would prefer a 5minute gesture drawing
Michaels teaching is very Zen. In 5 weeks of my daily attendance he has not come near me,spoken to me, or looked at my drawing. I think I get the point,and it’s a mystical self affirmation.

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