Typically when you set out to draw something, you draw with a relatively short utensil, using your dominant hand. This is how everyone learns to draw, and it is what is most comfortable. But for these drawings we weren’t supposed to be comfortable. No, we were supposed to struggle and loosen up and flounder about our drawings.
Have you ever drawn with a three foot long stick before?? Tape a big piece of charcoal to the end of a long stick, and this is what the drawings look like.
I actually had a really fun time making these drawings. It was something totally different and it was refreshing to try. First, I drew a rough sketch of the figure with my long stick, and then, with my hand, I blurred out that whole drawing, and then drew over it to refine the drawing. It is very very difficult to control a piece of charcoal three feet away from you. My stick was also curved so I had to compensate for that as well. But drawing the figure twice allowed room for error in the first drawing, and refinement in the second layer of charcoal. Being literally out of control while making a drawing changed my whole approach. Typically, I like to do a perfect sketch, then budget my time rendering each section of the body until class is over, but when drawing with a stick, there was no way that I was going to get the clean, precise lines that I typically strive for. So, I didn’t even try to make my drawings perfect. I allowed myself to be much more gestural and fluid than normal, and I had a good time doing it. After the charcoal was all done, I went back in which some white charcoal pencil (not on a stick) to bring out some of the high lights. The paper I was using was a cardboard-brown, and so the white stood out nicely.
Then we were asked to do a drawing with our non-dominant hand. We didn’t have to use a stick this time, but if you are not ambidextrous and have ever tried to write with your wrong hand, you know how difficult it is to control the pencil. Though I am partially ambidextrous, I do not practice with my right hand and so it was still very difficult to get the marks where I wanted them. I focused on the line quality of the piece, and decided not to get into extensive rendering because I had to work so slow to control my shaking hand. Just like the stick drawings, being out of control gives the drawing character and energy.