I love this Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw… “ A tree does not grow from the top down but from the bottom up. Start then at the bottom, and in a loose, easy, tentative manner allow your pencil to move upward as you can feel that the tree moves up…
Yes! The tendency (even when you mark the proportions) to start drawing with the head (yeah… 1 head to the nipples, 2 heads to the navel…la la la..) … think about it! The HEAD. The fucking BRAIN… that’s not seeing the BODY. Gravity matters! Start from the bottom… everything else must have its support from this base.
And yes (Nicolaides again, The Natural Way to Draw), it’s not about ‘parts’.. “Through your ability to grasp something of this, you will begin to understand other things like proportion and perspective, for the truth is that those things are caused by movement and are a part of it. It is far more important that your studies contain this comprehension of movement, of gesture, than that they contain any other single thing.”
It’s so obvious.. and so hard to grasp. Or rather—one has to overcome so much built in resistance to grasp it.
In my open studio sessions… I glance at how others are doing. I seem to be somewhere maybe a little over the average… which is encouraging, given than it’s been more than 40 years since I’ve drawn a human figure from life. Then I start thinking about the ones with significantly greater mastery… like text book illustrations. I respect the skills, the perfect shading, being able to render the forms… I mean, that’s what we’re all here for. But I know that’s NOT what I want to do. The easy rendering, yes.. .the understanding of anatomy, yes… but I don’t want to do ‘Illustrations’… or graphic comic figures (no disrespect here—any one of these graphic artists, their skills—proportion, anatomy, perspective, foreshortening… they can do ANYTHING! they are Amazing!) … but it’s not drawing as I want to make it—and Nicolaides is so liberating in that way.
Drawing… a feeling that I couldn't do it, that I wasn't good enough—even though I wouldn't admit it then, that’s what backed me off of visual arts… step by step. I see now how far I fall short of what I want to do…but see my strengths now as I didn't before… or wasn't ready to trust--, and so much more clearly what I DON’T want, what I don’t need to emulate to justify myself as an ‘artist.’
Nicolaides is my ‘Spring and All.”