Monday, June 6, 2016

Stop and See the Roses

This post is a continuation of a post where I wrote about learning to understand what you see by breaking down complex subjects into their simplest shapes and forms. Practicing this is helping me overcome feelings of overwhelm when I want to draw more realistically or tackle complicated scenes.

I started with a very generalized, simplified sketch from my reference photo, looking at the basic 2D shapes and beginning to indicate the contour lines on the bud, leaves, and petals.

Julie Bazuzi (c)2016
work in progress: roses
Julie Bazuzi (c)2016
Next I focused on the elements of the roses in terms of simple 3D forms and did some practice sketching. I broke the rosebud down into a cone sitting on top of a half-sphere and the stem into another half-sphere on top of a cylinder. If this is all sounding easy so far, add +1 to your creative confidence stat.

Then I considered the overall shape of the rose in full bloom. I sketched a cross-section of what happens as the bud opens. I noticed that the overall shape could be simplified into another sphere and I indicated elliptical contour lines as hints about where petal edges would fall.

Now that I had gained some concrete understanding about what I was seeing, I could more confidently look at each petal without getting so overwhelmed by the abundance of detail. As I began my drawing I started from the outside with the simplest shapes (bud, stem, leaf) and the largest petals. I concentrated on the underlying 3D structures one by one as I worked in towards the center, applied shading, and added detail bit by bit.

I wish I had kept track of how many hours I spent on this drawing. I worked on it over the course of a week, a little bit here, a little bit there each day. And even with my strategies for breaking down the complexity into manageable pieces, I will definitely admit that I started to feel the eye strain as I really honed in on those myriad of ruffled center petals.

Here is the finished study.

Julie Bazuzi (c)2016
Sunlit Rose
study in graphite on paper
Julie Bazuzi (c)2016

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