In this video I am going to share a very effective training technique that I use in my classroom. It is a strategy tailored for novice artists and it will make you better at drawing what you see (also known as the skill of rendering). I call this process mass drawing / line drawing. The process will seem awkward at first, but I have seen students get great results once they understand the process. So please give it a chance. All that you will need is a highlighter, a pencil and some paper. Lets begin.
This is a mass drawing. I used the highlighter to make a silhouette of the cartoon character, Ni Hao Kai Lan. I scribbled it in quickly and as a single mass. This will serve as a guide for the second step, the line drawing.
This is a line drawing. Notice that it is done directly over the mass drawing. But don't just outline; make corrections. The mass drawing will enable you to see the big picture and the mistakes that you made. Many of my students have found it much easier than guessing on a blank sheet of paper. So dont outline your mass drawing make corrections while doing the line drawing.
Take a second to look at how many changes I made to the original mass, such as the right arm, the shoes and the hair.
Still confused, thats ok, watch the process a few times and you will begin to understand it. Remember that it is just a drill and drills are used to build good habits for the future. This drill will help you build observation skills and comparative skills which will help you develop the ability to draw what you see. I don't expect you to use a highlighter for long. In fact, I will show you a more advanced method, later on in the video. I will also teach you a really cool trick that will get rid of the color from the highlighter.
But for now, remember that there are two steps to this process. Use the highlighter to create a mass drawing of what you are trying to draw. If you are very new to drawing, try to make your mass drawing a similar size to your reference picture or object. With more experience, you can experiment with scale. Remember that step two, the line drawing, is meant to be a correction of step one.
I have observed that when my students do this process for the first time, they struggle a bit, and complain that the yellow or pink from the highlighter "throws them off". Please remember that it takes three tries, on average, to get fully acquainted with this process. I have also observed that the students who improve the fastest, look at their reference image more often. Get in the habit of looking at your reference image at least once for every five seconds.
To get rid of the color from the highlighter, flip over your drawing and start to scribble all over the back. It is easiest to use the side of a graphite stick, but you could also use a pencil. Once the back of your drawing is covered, flip it over again and tape it down over a new piece of paper. Then, retrace over all of the lines. I used a blue pen for this step. When you remove the tape, you will see a perfect print of your drawing
Now, I am using the pencil to create a mass drawing. Notice that I am pressing very lightly while scribbling in the mass. I have observed that using a pencil is a little bit more difficult for beginners due to the tendency to apply too much pressure and leave dark lines. Also it is much easier to differentiate the bright colors from the highlighter then the subtle tones of a pencil. Still, after you feel that you are progressing with the markers, move on to this step. Do not worry about mastering the process with the highlighter, just get comfortable enough, and move on.
Thank you for watching my video, I reply to all of my comments, so feel free to ask me a question, or just let me know how it goes. Remember to try this at least three times before you judge the process. I guarantee that it will feel foreign at first, but I have used it for eight years in the classroom with a high success rate so give it some time. Happy drawing everybody!
In my demonstrations, I drew, Ni Hao Kai Lan, Spongebob, Homer Simpson, Moose A. Moose (Noggin), Characters from Yo Gabba Gabba, Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, Wow Wow Wubbzy, Dora the Explorer, Patrick Star (Spongebob), Stitch (Lilo and Stitch and Blue the Dog from Blues Clues (Nickelodeon Noggin). I am confident that this process could teach you how to draw any cartoon.