Tuesday, May 26, 2015

High Contrast Drawings of Dogs Really Work!

Last week I talked about how using highly stylized techniques can help you get unstuck when you find yourself unable to sketch something to your liking.

One of the techniques I had just begun to try involved the use of big blocks of black in my scribbles.  The sketches could remain black and white or have a little color added to them or whatever.

What interested me?  Adding heavier contrast and a more graphic feel to the work.

I shared a very quick scribble I did of my Dutch Shepherd, Nik, in this style.  I had tried this with him because I often find myself frustrated in my attempts to draw my dogs.  This was the result.

I took the time to try this technique out on the last German Shepherd I owned, Desmond, who died only a few weeks ago.

The result really intrigued me.

By eliminating the need to capture an accurate face, this style of scribbling frees me to capture bigger shapes and a sense of weight and movement.

The unanticipated result:  these very quick drawings (under 10 minutes each, and most of that because I was filling in with a fine tipped marker) capture these dogs better than anything else I hvae tried.

So much of dogs, of course, is their body language.  You live with a dog for years and you know their patterns, know what the slightest tilt of ears or curl of tail means.

As a human, I think I focus too much on faces when I try to capture a likeness, and I'm not sure I need to do that with a dog.  The body postures convey a lot--I recognize these animals in these scribbles and that recognition brings a lot of powerful memories with it.

This feels like a breakthrough of some sort--not so much for my scribbly drawings, but for creativity and achieving our creative goals for meaning.

Keep at it.  Try lots of different things.  Don't expect the expected to deliver what you expect--and be ready for the unexpected to really deliver the goods.

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