So many students tend to go further than they should in the block-in lesson because it’s so tempting to keep going. But students who stop at a true block-in are able to really determine exactly what a block-in is, and are better able to incorporate that into future drawings to ensure proper placement on the page and better scale and proportion of their subject. This was a critique I did for a student with Artists Network University who had worked very hard to master all elements of the lesson. She understood she needed to master these drawing skills in order to paint better. I was really proud of her!
I did the upside down thing twice. Very interesting. The first time I found it nearly impossible to not think of nose, eye, mouth. In the beginning of it I folded the reference photo so I could only see the quadrant I was working on and it was easier when I only saw lines of the clothing. Once I was in the quadrants where the face and hands were it was really hard not to call them as they were. Not great results on the first. The second one I didn’t fold the ref photo but really concentrated on just drawing lines without reciting the names and I like this result a lot better. I think I’ll use this exercise to entertain the two kids visiting this week!
The Iris was easy because I draw/paint them a lot for notecards. Reclining lady, flowers and lily pads were easy. Drawing the line of the lily pad arrangement was a great thing to learn because I have a lily pad photo I’d like to do in acrylic and that will really help in the sketching.
I’m enjoying the course and learning cool things. Went out and got myself a battery operated eraser and it is awesome. Never would have done it without reading about it in your notes.
Glad you tried the upside-down drawing again. I think it really helps students concentrate on the lines and shapes and disassociate themselves with their pre-conceived idea of what they think a nose or mouth should look like.
You understood the lesson very well because your iris, and flower bouquet, and reclining girl were blocked-in nicely. I’m glad to see you lightly sketched in your horizontal and vertical axis lines. Did they help you to see which parts of the composition were in which quadrant? Your lily pad was drawn perfectly. And I think drawing the organic line of the lily pad arrangement only helped to get that graceful curve the pads were in. This technique really comes in handy when you have a more complicated arrangement like flowers in a bouquet, which you did nicely.
This first step in a drawing will save you a lot of time in the future because you will have gotten the correct placement on your paper before starting on heavy shading. Good work!
Other students’ thoughts on my Block-In lesson:
Sarah, I really appreciated this lesson because getting the proportions and shapes correct is something I’ve really struggled with. Making the block-in a distinct step helped me focus on proportion and separate it from shading.
— Steven Wilson
I wanted to share with you, the block in technique was quite an eye opener for me! As you rightly pointed out, I was one of those people who started their drawing, one detail at a time (e.g. in a portrait, I would tackle the hair, then eyes, then lips, neck and so forth). The block in technique is a really helpful and accurate way of getting the proportions right and giving the drawing a solid foundation! Look forward to your feedback! Thank you for your detailed feedback on my lesson four assignment. I really appreciate the specific pointers you gave me.
— Vasvi Srivastava
Block-in with axis lines: this is a very valuable technique, and I’m very glad to have been introduced to this. I definitely plan to use this from now on.
— Marilyn, Section 1
I find this training immensely helpful. The blocking in is a huge ah ha for me. You would think I would have gotten that from all the lessons I took before, but this is the first time.
— Larissa Davis
It [helped] to break the flower into four quadrants — I can see how that technique would be useful with more complicated shapes.
Your example [in the Block-In Lesson] of the organic S-curse helped me a lot! I would not have known how to approach that one. Your method made it easier to draw it and find the placement of the lily pads. I was surprised at how well it worked! 🙂
— Lyn Mazey
Professional critiques are so useful in improving your drawing skills. Read what one of my students wrote about the critiques I provided for her:
“Thank you so much for your course. The teaching and encouragement was great. I appreciated being able to download and print the lesson materials. I’m sure I will refer to my binders with these lessons in weeks to come. Watching the videos were very helpful in understanding the lesson. Your encouraging critiques were always inspiring and helped me continue even when I didn’t think I had done very well. I always want to do it better. You encouraged me to keep trying. I don’t know what you could do to improve this course. I learned well from your teaching style, and the content was excellent, especially the way each lesson built on the previous one. Thanks again for your excellent teaching.
— Marilyn Dueck
If you would like to purchase an email critique, please visit our Store. You can purchase as many critiques as you like and your skills will really grow from professional feedback.