14 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I am puzzled by this book, and although I read the entire book through to the end, I feel I must be missing something, based on the many enthusiastic reviews.
First of all, I really was attracted by the author's premise that there was a technique of precise measurement that could be easily applied, without tools, in an observational drawing situation. To me that implied that this technique referred to drawing from life - e.g. drawing figures, landscapes, etc., observed from life, out in the field, etc. When the author uses the term "observational" I interpreted that to mean drawing from life - i.e. observing life. What else could it mean?
However, because every single example of his technique is applied to copying photographs, rather than drawing from life, it seems that a better title for the book would be "How to Draw Precise Copies of Photographs." The biggest challenge to students of drawing is not how to copy a photograph. It is always understanding the proportions of their subject as observed from life, and then understanding how to translate those proportions to paper. It is always difficult for beginning (and often even for advanced) students to accurately translate, for example, a seated live figure to a drawn image that fills up the page. They don't know how to visually measure the proportions and duplicate them on a smaller or larger sheet of paper. The author's technique of placing dots and reference lines on the photograph and then copying them to a sheet of drawing paper is simply not applicable to live observation. One cannot put dots and lines on the model or the landscape.
Mr. Xu is quite right in saying that drawing classes do a poor job of addressing these problems. Variations of his methods (bounding boxes, bounding polygons, reference lines using landmarks, etc.) are in fact taught in drawing classes, but the reason they fall short is that when drawing from life, the student is unable to accurately translate what is observed to the paper. Like the butterfly effect, each minor inaccuracy compounds to result in a drawing where the proportions are obviously inaccurate. Students get better with practice, but that's because they become better observers of proportion, not because of these techniques. Those students who are not able to visually see the proportions never make much progress.
At the very end of Mr. Xu's book he presents a few examples of quick sketches he has done from life. However, here his techniques go out the window because they simply don't apply to life drawing. However, he feels that all the copying of photographs should be helpful in this situation. I'm not so sure. Are the techniques he presents really an advance over the old fashioned grid system he despises? Maybe when it comes to making an accurate copy of a two-dimensional image,there might be some increase in efficiency. But for observational drawing from life we have yet to find the magic bullet.
Maybe I've missed something important and I'd certainly be open to hearing where I've gone wrong.
To play devil's advocate, and to look at the problem in a different way, check out the 20,000 year old drawings in the Cheveau Cave in southern France. Consider the remarkable realism and perfect proportions of many of the images. Not only did these artists not have years of art academy training, nor did they spend decades copying the old masters, nor did they have computer graphics at their disposal, nor did they have their models frozen before them on a pedestal - and they were working in the near total darkness of a cave. No, they were drawing from memory, from their intimate observation of these animals, because their very survival depended on this degree of observation. It's humbling to think about this.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
As one of Dr. Xu's art students, I can attest that this book is filled with insightful and helpful tricks on how to draw better in terms of accuracy and efficiency.
Before taking Dr. Xu's class, the way I drew was similar to the contouring method (a.k.a. outlining), which is only a test of how good your hand-eye coordination is. It's just as difficult as, if not more difficult than, writing without looking because it's easy for your hand to wander off course without you even knowing. You don't have any markers to help exactly pinpoint where each point is, so you can only estimate the size and location of everything. If it turned out looking horrible for me, the only thing I could do was erase everything and redo the entire outline, which was so time-consuming that it would take me two hours to try to draw one good-looking apple.
I also used to have a tendency to immediately jump to perfecting the details, instead of focusing on the big picture before gradually adding the small details. As it is with most things, it always worked at first in the beginning, but when I kept on drawing, everything was out of place and out of balance, and the worst part of it all was I had no way of correcting it without erasing everything. So, I struggled to achieve the accurate proportions, perspectives, and relationships, and as a result, my drawings lacked quality and finesse. For instance, whenever I drew a portrait, I had trouble making sure the eyes and the nose and every component were all scaled and positioned correctly because I had no effective or efficient method of approach. Even when I tried fixing one part, another problem would just appear, and suddenly, it became this chain-reaction of problems that never seemed to end. Even though, I always tried my best on my drawings, those small mistakes and flaws here and there always accumulated much more quickly than I anticipated, and soon enough, my drawings looked absolutely atrocious.
You can imagine how frustrated I must have felt, stuck at this standstill, unable to improve because my toolbox was only limited to the contouring method. That is, of course, until I enrolled in Dr. Xu's class. Dr. Xu taught me that the key is to control the Degrees of Freedoms (DOF), systematically instead of individually. It makes perfect sense from a geometric point of view, and it explains why drawing can be so tough, as it was for me, if no scientific approach, like the contouring method, is used. During the seven-week course, I learned Dr. Xu's ABC method, as well as other various techniques that deal with using angles and scientific principles to control DOF's without using any measurement tools. I learned to draw with layers, perfecting the basic structure first before working inwards towards the more detailed aspects in order to achieve a more refined and accurate overall end result. And now, I no longer have to use the outlining method because Dr. Xu and his book have generously given me a wider range of tools to work with. With these new tricks, I can now draw objects much more accurately and much more efficiently, whether I'm drawing a simple cartoon picture of Mickey Mouse or a real, complex, 3-Dimensional human body.
With Dr. Xu's techniques, the drawing process is simplified into a step-by-step procedure of assembling basic shapes, where you control more and more shapes as you advance further on in your drawing. Ultimately, it's all about seeing everything, no matter how complex it is, as not an irregular figure, but a composite figure that you can easily deconstruct into elementary shapes, like triangles, rectangles, and circles, that we all know how to draw. You might think that Dr. Xu's scientific method is too difficult and intricate to learn because of all of the fancy mathematical principles involved. But in reality, it's much simpler than the mind first perceives it to be. If middle-school students can quickly master it (as in the seven-week course Dr. Xu offered at the UC San Diego Extension), then anybody can do it. Give it a try because the best part of it all is that as long as you can draw points and lines and measure angles, you can pretty much draw anything.