One of the most important parts of your portfolio and sketchbooks will be demonstrating your skills through the art of drawing. What images do you create in your mind when you think of drawing? I would say you'll be thinking of good representational drawings of objects, places or people possibly? Maybe something like these?
This is usual and is one of the elements that drawing can encompass. But the art of drawing really is any response with materials, usually in a 2 dimensional fashion, to anything you see or imagine. This post is excerts from our new eCourse 'Drawing skills; exploratory' and aims to explore your drawing potential. You can buy the book as it is and study it alone priced £24.99.
If you want to take a look at some of the images/drawings that we discuss on this eCourse, wing your way over to our Pinterest page where we have some cracking work to inspire you.
So, let’s keep it simple for now and focus on the art of drawing from primary sources (things that you've actually seen not from magazines, books etc.). This is because the colleges want you to show how you see the world, what is the world like from your perspective? My advice would be to you not to draw from your imagination as the main drawing activity in your portfolio really should be from life and by that I mean objects, places, etc. But this doesn't mean it has to be limited to still life, bowls of fruit, plants and portraits – the usual things that are set up in the classroom. This doesn't also mean that you have to draw 'something', as your ideas can become quite abstract if you so wish even if they have originated from an object, place or person – we'll show you how on our eCourse.
The reason we don't encourage you to draw from photos or magazines but from the actual object, place, person etc. is that when you draw from photos, the camera already has made a 2D interpretation and selection of the 3D subject, therefore you are losing your chance to do this. Drawings made from photos are often evident and this won't impress the art colleges. However, we have used the photos in our eCourse below to show you how you might go about mounting and presenting the work for your portfolio and to show you what we were working from when we made the drawings further down this post as examples. If you need help with this important aspect of preparing your portfolio, please see our eBook 'How to present and mount your work'.
When you are drawing try to choose subjects that really inspire you, don't just choose something as an exercise in demonstrating your drawing skills that really is dull, dull, dull. Why? Because your drawing will be dull, dull, dull and if it doesn't excite you then how on earth do you expect the interviewers at art college to be excited? So if you haven't already taken a look at the eBook 'Creating a Sensational Portfolio' then this is jam packed with ideas of what you could draw that is sure to get your juices flowing.
I was a student who didn’t get a place at art college, in fact 3 art colleges, was gutted as I thought my portfolio was great. The thing I didn’t realise was that it said nothing about me, what I was interested in and it showed quite clearly that my passion for art hadn’t really been ignited. Okay, so I could draw and paint but the subjects I was drawing and painting were really dreary in hindsight – but hindsight is a marvellous thing, so learn from mine – please! I did lots of paintings of poppy seed heads, flowers and shells, if I am honest, because I didn’t know what else to do. It was stuff we just had lying around at home; it showed!
Looking at the photos above and the drawings below what would you say I had an interest in whilst making these pieces? Form, structure, repetition, contrast of tone and line, mark making etc. Our eCourse will take you through exercises that would produce a body of work of about 15 drawings, once selected to only the best maybe 7 or 8. This is a great thorough exploration of a subject that can then be taken into more development work.
We will soon be producing an eCourse 'Drawing skills; development' that shows you just how you might develop these early ideas and observations into something more resolved.
So what can you use to inspire you with your drawing? Your subject can inspire you but you can also use the actual art of drawing (process) to inspire you and we will go through some exercises in this eCourse to get you trying some new ways of working. As a result you will produce some new kinds of drawing . The images below show you some examples of the results of these exercises. This is not an eCourse that is going to teach you HOW TO DRAW, although we do explore many elements of drawing that will increase you skills and perception of the world around you.
When I interviewed students at art college we would see lots of drawing projects that the teachers had set for students to draw. But there was often very little experimental, intuitive, exploratory drawing that was self motivated and this is the real stuff that they want to see. If you read the eBook on 'Creating a sensational portfolio' we talk in detail about how you can start to explore more personal approaches to your work.
So take a look around you, read our eBooks, look at some of our videos on the Portfolio Oomph website and get inspired! It sometimes takes just the smallest thing to inspire the art of drawing.