REREADING KEYS TO DRAWING BY BERT DODSON – THE FINAL WEEK

by | Last updated Sep 12, 2018 | Published on Jan 30, 2016 | Art Blog, Learning with the Masters

Rereading Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson
Rereading Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson - Three Simplified Landscapes exercise, by Artist Sophie Lawson
Three Simplified Landscapes. This exercise has you frame the same scene in three different views, simplifying the scene to either black or white shapes. I picked a cityscape from a google search, and really enjoyed both the act of framing the scene, and simplifying the shapes.
Rereading Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson - Four Compositional Studies exercise, by Artist Sophie Lawson

“A DRAWING WHICH HOLDS OUR INTEREST IS ONE WHICH ASKS THE QUESTIONS AS WELL AS PROVIDES THE ANSWERS.”

– Bert Dodson

1. The building blocks of a picture are shapes which include those of the subject and those of the background.
2. Good design grows out of a sense of wholeness and is expressed in the relationships of the parts rather than in the skillfulness of rendering any particular part.
3. Picture relationships are invariably based on some form of ambiguity or paradox.
The idea that the composition is equally shared between the background and foreground shapes was interesting to me, it really made me notice how important the background shapes are. Bert also explains how Paradox is essential to design. Some of the paradoxes covered include –
Repetition – Variation
Simplicity – Complexity
Clarity – Ambiguity
Balance – Imbalance
Active shapes – Passive shapes

“UNDERSTANDING COMES NOT FROM CHOOSING BETWEEN OPPOSITES, BUT FROM EMBRACING THEM.”

– Bert Dodson

The general message is that the key to composition is balancing out opposites. You can take any number of these paradoxes and design them in such a way to create balance. I found it fascinating to read about these paradoxes and how they work in a drawing. I’ve always found paradoxes cool as they really make you think.
I’m going to go a bit off topic, but I believe time both does and doesn’t exist at the same time. I’ve thought about this so much over the years and I’m convinced it’s true. I think outside of our universe time doesn’t exist, at least not in the way it does for us. This would mean, time only exists for us because we are inside of it. So outside of it, if time doesn’t exist, we both never exist and exist forever at the same time! :) This means in a way, the future has already happened. Now, if when we die we leave this universe but still exist outside of it, which I believe happens, that opens up so much possibility. We would exist in a place where we still exist here, so would we be able to communicate? Or would we not be able to communicate because we also don’t exist? What if we are the ones piecing our own life together outside of this universe.
Ah ha, that was a tangent wasn’t it? Tangents are something Bert talks about. In composition a tangent is where an object touches another object or the edge of the paper by mistake. This you don’t want, and if you are not aware of them, they may slip through. Tangents are bad as they confuse the eye, but you can avoid them by purposely drawing them to make yourself aware of them! That in itself is almost a paradox, how drawing them will stop you from drawing them in the future lol
I haven’t even covered Bert’s pattern game, which will improve your pattern sensing mode. There’s just so much to talk about, I think each topic should really be it’s own separate blog post. Chapter 7 was really fun.

“YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR LUCK BY ONE SIMPLE ACT – CARRYING A SKETCHBOOK.”

– Bert Dodson

The main take away from chapter 8, loops back to the message at the start of the book. Always be curious. Always be open minded. Always be ready for inspiration. Always carry a handbag, sorry sketchbook lol Ideas come as you draw, not before! Bert shows some examples of Droodles in this final chapter. A Droodle is a mix of doodle and riddle. These are so cool! I’ve included one below to show how fun they are, basically, it’s a little scene of something that doesn’t make sense until you read its title :)
Rereading Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson, a Droodle - Bear Climbing a Tree
The Droodle above, is titled ‘Bear climbing a Tree’ :) We are looking at the back of the tree, so all we can see is the bears paws as he makes his way up the tree :) While these are fun, chapter 8 on the whole is a much deeper affair. Talking about how you should ultimately have the aim of making lifetime longing or hidden fears the subject of your art. Bert also said something that really resonated with me and made me stop reading during this chapter.
So these final two chapters really got to me. Bert has inspired and motivated me so much, not once, but twice! In 2013 he made me believe I could draw anything, in 2016 he’s made me remember why I started drawing. I feel like my art and life have now merged. My life is my art and my art is my life. I look at life totally differently since I started drawing, I look at it and face it the way I face my art, giving anything a go and seeing what happens. It’s all thanks to this book.
Thank you Bert.

WEEK TWO

Covering
chapter 3 (Proportions: Taking the Measure of Things)
chapter 4 (The Illusion of Light)

Including
Bert’s discussion on three Sighting Strategies:
1. Finding the Midpoint
2. Using Plump and Level
3. Taking Comparative Measurements

WEEK THREE

Covering
chapter 5 (The Illusion of Depth)
chapter 6 (The Illusion of Texture)

Including
four depth principles:
1. Overlapping Shapes
2. Diminishing Sizes
3. Converging Parallel Lines
4. Softening Edges and Contrast

LIFE DRAWING WITH IAN BARLOW 2017

“Every Pose is Different. Ask yourself. What is it about this pose, that gives me a nice feeling?” – Ian Barlow

LIFE DRAWING WITH IAN BARLOW 2016

“Everything’s got rhythm. Look for the movement.” – Ian Barlow

REREADING KEYS TO DRAWING BY BERT DODSON – THE FINAL WEEK

The Final Week of Rereading the Art Book Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. Covers chapters 7 (Pattern and Design) and chapter 8 (Drawing and Imagination)

REREADING KEYS TO DRAWING BY BERT DODSON – WEEK THREE

Week three of Rereading the Art Book Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. Covers Chapters 5 (The Illusion of Depth) and chapter 6 (The Illusion of Texture)

REREADING KEYS TO DRAWING BY BERT DODSON – WEEK TWO

Week two of Rereading the Art Book Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. Covers Chapters 3 (Proportions: Taking the Measure of Things) and Chapter 4 (The Illusion of Light)

REREADING KEYS TO DRAWING BY BERT DODSON – WEEK ONE

Week one of Rereading the Art Book ‘Keys to Drawing, by Bert Dodson’. Covers Chapter 1 (The Drawing Process) and chapter 2 (The Artist’s Handwriting)

REREADING KEYS TO DRAWING BY BERT DODSON

Bert is Back! I reread the Art Book ‘Keys To Drawing, by Bert Dodson’

ART CLASS WITH KATIE COMLEY JONES – THE FINAL WEEK | CRITIQUE

Time for a little critique, after the past ten weeks of creating!

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“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.”

George Santayana