doodling, painting, and whether to use grids or projectors

I was just taking part in a debate on the use of grids or projectors and whether using them is 'cheating'. I think it is partly to do with the way your brain is 'wired' .

Many old masters used camera obscuras which is only the equivalent of projectors etc or using the computer.

I don't like grids or tracing - so for me it doesn't work. It makes my work go stiff and and I hate it - I need the slight inconsistencies, the natural distortions that I add unconsciously, that emphasise lines and compositions.

I like my lines to be fluid and rapidly drawn and none of that is possible with tracing - for me anyway. If you draw a fluid flowing line fast and then copy it slowly, tracing or gridding, it loses the spontaneity of the original. To me that's important but it isn't in everyone's work - so it depends on the work you do whether it's better to work freehand or not.

I'm totally right brained on tests (with zero organisational skills! ) and I think those with a higher left brain element may gain from grids/tracing, unlike me.

I do think freehand sketching is important though and that not all work is done by tracing/gridding and that work is done from life not always photos if you are to develop your skills.

I use the computer regularly to work through ideas, scanning in sketches and changing them.

This is a doodle I did while the class were all occupied, no-one needed help and the coloured pencils were sitting in front of me ....

and then I played with it in Photoshop, creating a repeat pattern

and then altering the colours.

I did some more work to the trees&rocks painting today, using oil paint but it's wet and so won't photograph without shine. I'll post on the progress in a couple of days probably.


I really like the work you do. It has a touch of art deco from the 20's.
I was wandering in the forum from Et Canvas and found your blog.
I invite you to come and visite mine.
after browsing on your web site, really like it
To come back on your question grid or else. I have the same question myself. I am an engineer therefore I prefere the organisation and squarness of things. I would like to have the "let go" or "lacher prise" in french.
PS I will put your blog on my preferred blog.
Lindsay said…
INteresting discussion. The only grid I have found helpful is the one Peggy Macnamara recommends to aid dratfman(woman)ship. Her method is to begin a very loose drawing and drop plumb lines from stratigic the corner of an animals eye down to where its paw might rest. This seems to be a more organic form of graphing as you go that helps me when I wnat to work on my drafting skills. But i'm with you in free hand, rapid drawings most of the time.
You also make me want to take a photo shop class. I've been dreading it but you make it look fun.
vivien said…
Bonjour monde en peinture :) I will visit your site :) - yes that doodle did have an art deco feel!

if the organisation works for you - go for it :) but do try freer work from time to time - it's fun.

Hi Lindsay :)

Yes, I do that sort of comparison by eye - where is the pupil compared with the paw, how wide is the eye compared with the length of the nose kind of thoughts flitting through my head as I work. I don't draw the lines like Euan Uglow though - do you know his work? he leaves the construction lines in the finished piece.

do look at photoshop it's brilliant! that was a very simple thing I did to change the original, nothing clever at all. Some of my digital images have multiple layers and lots of work but that one was just a quick play about with the scan.
jafabrit said…
that doodle manipulated on the computer is so coooool!!!!! I think the projector and tracing have their place, just depends on what effect you want or whether you are using it just to get the basic lines in. Always interesting to explore the pros and cons though.

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