Stars Portraits - 3 Dimensional Drawing tutorial

 
 
 
 
Stars Portraits > Tutorials > 3 Dimensional Drawing

3 Dimensional Drawing

by Howard David Johnson

3 Dimensional Drawing

Author : Howard David Johnson

Tutorial submitted on August 13, 2006

To learn the basics of shape, perspective and shading in order to create depth in your work.

 
 


Pages in this lesson : Overview | Shapes | Perspective | Shading | References | Mechanical Aids | Artist Bio
 

Overview

3 Dimensional Drawing

The application of basic shapes, shades and textures draw three dimensionally!

The transition from black and white pencil drawing to colored pencil drawing is very smooth and easy. Just about anybody can sketch or trace some sort of square or circle.

The question is: "how do we make it look like the real thing and not some flat one dimensional graphic on the page?"   How do we make the viewer feel that he or she could reach out and touch it? In short, how do we give it the proper form?

One of the things that spoil most people's drawings is the appearance of flatness, or two- dimensionality. Height and width are very important, but depth is the mark of the master artist.

Nothing- but NOTHING is more important than practice!
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Shapes

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Basic Principles of Shading, Texture, & Form

The application of basic shapes, shades and textures draw three dimensionally!

To make drawing fun and easy I have a simple formula: Shapes and shades.
In drawing, I break EVERYTHING down to four simple geometric shapes:

A.) Sphere (or ball)  B.) Cylinder (or pipe)    C.) Cube (or box)  and  D.) The Cone

These examples of the basic shapes found in everyday objects should get you going with your practice sketching.

Remember - nothing- but nothing is more important than practice.

The square cube is found in the chair and the television. Look around you as you are going about your life and break things down in your mind to their basic forms.

The rectangular cube forms the book. The cylynder is found in the drinking glasses. Slice it and you have tires for a car... the cone sliced forms the lampshade. The human head is a sliced sphere.

Take a good look at the car below left. Visualize the large cube representing the shape of the body with a smaller cube above it forming the windows and roof. The wheels - sliced cyliders of course.

To the right we see an ordinary Colt six shooter handgun. The barrel is formed from a simple cylynder and the bullet chamber is a cylinder encased in a cube.

Of course the outlines of the shape are modified by the artist to suit their purposes. The thing to remember is the sphere - cube - cylinder - cone construction beneath the drawing.

Now let's apply these principals of form to the second most difficult thing in the world to draw - the full human figure. (the face is hardest)

In this action pose shown to the right notice the character has cubes for his rib cage and hip area. while cylinders form the basic outline of the arms and legs. The lower leg is somewhere between a cone and a cylinder. The head is a sliced sphere. The fists are cubes as well. A stick figure is useful to lay out the basic pose before adding the shapes.
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Perspective

Drawing on Perspective

It has often been pointed out that that drawing is fundamentally a two dimensional art and that the introduction of the third dimension savours of trickeries, and either builds lumps on the two dimensional surface or pushes holes into it. In the many centuries of development since the discovery of Perspective this trickery has become absolutely superb.
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Perspective, a technique of representing scenes on flat surfaces in such a way that they appear to have depth. There are two kinds of perspective - aerial and linear. They are often used together to create a scene that looks natural. Many modern and abstract artists do not use perspective, preferring to emphasise the flatness of the canvas rather than create an illusion of depth.

Aerial Perspective is a technique that shows the effects of the atmosphere. Since distant objects cannot be seen as clearly as close -up objects, details are omitted and outlines are hazy. Colors in the distance are tinged with pale blue and are less brilliant than those in the foreground.

Linear Perspective is a geometric technique based on the fact that parallel lines appear to converge at a point in the distance called a vanishing point. the vanishing point is always on the horizon line, a real or imaginary line in the picture that is at the eye level of the observer.

All lines that appear to go back into the picture are angled so that the lines converge at one vanishing point. If there is more than one set of parallel lines, there must be more than one vanishing point. Following these lines as a guide, objects in the distance are drawn smaller than those in the foreground. Below left, we see a two piont perspective. Professional illustrators are expected to be able to bust out a three point perspective at will. Below right, in my unpublished pencil drawing of the flying comic book superhero Green Lantern I did for D.C. comics years ago, we see that use of perspective does not always have to be accurate to be effective and that it can be distorted or carried to extremes for effect. Of course all the perpective lines of the buildings converge somewhere off the paper. Can you count how many perspective points are in the skyscrapers?
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Pro tip: projection equipment. I did a very small sketch of the buildings filling an 11x17 sheet of bristol board showing all the vanishing points of the skyscrapers. Next I used projection equipment to enlarge it many times and shine it on the wall on to another piece of 11x17 bristol board, with most of it spilling over. I enlarged my sketch and traced the zoom in of it using an Artograph, ( it can reduce and enlarge )  which can be purchased for $70.00 dollars at many hobby stores. Apco makes one for only twenty dollars. Then there is the old standard Opaque projector which can blow things up as big as the side of a building. Transparency projectors are also commonly used by professionals.
 

Shading & Texture

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The drawing in of shadows to reveal light direction completes the illusion.


The use of shading immediately gives the objects a sense of solidity. They seem to have roundness, depth, and mass.

Visualize your single light source for a simple drawing,  (visualize several light sources or ambient light sources for more advanced works ). Draw an arrow in the corner of your picture to help you see where all the shadows will fall to help you get started with a simple single light source. Once you have your basic forms in your outline in place the next thing to focus on is adding shading ( black tones ) to reinforce the feeling of dimension.

In this example we see the broadest kind of shading strokes to rough in the light sources for a full bodied story telling illustration with a complete background showing perspective and depth of field. This is a carefully designed rough layout for an illustration from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Nights Dream"

There are many kinds of pencil shading techniques.

Here are examples of intermediate and highly refined Crosshatch technique.

This example was traced from photographs and shaded looking at the photo as a reference for an exercise in shading technique.
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My favorite pencil shading technique is wild scribbling with the side and point of the pencil tempered with much erasing. I use my eraser as much as my pencils using this technique. I did not blend with tissue or blending stumps as the oil from my hand caused more than enough smudging.

This is another carefully planned illustration, this time from the story of Sigfried. These techniques work equally well in color and black and white pencil drawings.

In this example I have two light sources, the sunlight coming in the cave entrance and the firelight from the forge ( not shown ). A very simple rock texture copied from different photographs completes the sketch very nicely.

Leonardo Da Vinci would not train prospective apprentices if they did not finish their sketches out to the edges  of the page. It seems harsh, but the principle does call attention to a very good goal for students striving for excellence.

 

References

References for Drawing

Drawing from the imagination: King Arthur mounted on his horse against the sky beckoning his knights to join him in the quest for the Holy Grail. plate#10 a.jpg (29663 bytes) plate#10 b.jpg (38975 bytes) plate#10.jpg (49101 bytes)
King Arthur & the Holy Grail.jpg (51170 bytes) First, the black and white drawing is completed on parchment paper, then transferred to a quality drawing board by means of burnishing (rubbing the graphite on the parchment onto the drawing paper.

Then prismacolor colored pencils are then added one at a time layer upon layer until they are deep and rich as shown in the finished version.

The finished drawing shown here at various stages of development was exhibited in the British Museum in 1996.

Even though it is a very simple composition with only four colors it incorporates realistic use of aerial and linear perspective.

Drawing from a picture: Shown below is an unpublished example of the use of projection in turning the photo I took of Carmen in my studio into highly realistic line art very fast by tracing it . To put her in a convincing world requires a mastery of perspective. Drawing without any helps is just fine, and most artists insist on it to prove a point at some time in their life, but earning a living as a professional is an entirely different matter as deadlines and hourly pay rates become just as much a consideration as doing quality work
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Drawing from life: Most commonly manifests these days in landscapes and still lifes. Most major cities and universities have classes that will provide live models to draw from. Much practice and observation are required to master this kind of drawing. No two men can draw a line exactly alike and certainly into the lines of each must creep something of the man himself.

Combining all three:
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~Circe Invidosia.jpg (52351 bytes) Here is an example, "Circe Invidosia", combining all three kinds of drawing: drawing from life with the sky, drawing from pictures with the girl and drawing from the imagination with the faces of the souls of shipwrecked sailors in the shapes of the rocks.

This is another carefully planned illustration, this time from Greek Mythology
 

Mechanical Aids

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A note on Mechanical Aids

Did you know the old masters traced?

To create his immortal "Mona Lisa" Leonardo Da Vinci used "Camera Obscura" which is  two mirrors set at 45 degree angles around the corner with parchment over it to trace onto. Michaelangelo used a similar technique for the Sistine Chapel.

I  used to be opposed to mechanical aids like photography until I  found out the Artists I was emulating did it. Think that makes it too quick and easy? You'll find once you've finally got that outline done right you're a long, long, way from being finished in any medium..."
When asked why I work from photos, I like to re-tell Norman Rockwell's story about having to paint a chicken: He set it up on a stump in a barn and goes to painting. The chicken moves it's head. He moves it back.The chicken jumps down. He puts it back. He goes to paint, now the chicken decides to make a break for it... he chases it down clucking and screaming and puts it back. Now it knows he's going to have it for dinner and it goes completely berserk.The next day, he came in, put the chicken back up and snapped it's picture, and the picture held completely still..."

~ HDJ

 

Artist Bio

About the Artist

Howard David Johnson  drew and sketched every available moment of his childhood traveling around the world working with whatever medium he could get his hands on...devoting his life to art very early in life in spite of stubborn opposition from his parents. He was born in Germany in 1954 to an American career Air Force officer and grew up as a boy in the Mediterranean area and Central Europe finally coming home to live in America at the age of 14.

His loving parents never missed an opportunity to take him along to a site or a museum to aquaint  him with regards to his Old World Traditional spiritual and cultural heritage just for fun along the way.

Inspired by African American author Alex Haley, HDJ has gone after the roots of his Scots-Irish-Germanic heritage and found, that, although much neglected, it is a rich heritage indeed.  And that there are also many other exciting cultural and spiritual heritages to share.

His work is ongoing...

He and his beloved wife Virginia have been married 20 years. He lives in Austin, Texas and has Two sons Christian & Erich.
Art Lessons by Howard David Johnson

His Realistic Art has appeared in every major bookstore chain and fantasy gaming shop in The United States and has been used in educational texts and magazines all over the world...as well as exhibitions in some of the world's top Art Museums.

This tutorial comes from HowardDavidJohnson.com

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