How to Draw


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Rhinestone purse

This is what I drew today. Its an old rhinestone purse that my mother gave me. I never use it, so I was thinking about selling it, but I wanted to check with her first. At first I was just going to photograph it, but for some reason two tasks got crossed in my head (draw something and photograph purse) and the idea of drawing the purse came up. So I did.

This is the drawing:

This is the photograph:

There were a number of things that came up while drawing this. One of the simplest things to note is that most of this is drawn with colored pencils. I started with an H pencil, but for some reason that really didn’t seem like enough. I wanted to show the gold in the purse, and by some very cool blessing my set of 72 colored pencils had a gold. Yeah! So I used it. I also used a yellow for the highlights, and a dark brown for shading and also for drawing many of the triangle “detail” marks that are along the edge of the purse. Mostly, though, it was the gold that got a workout with this.

The real issue/problem with this, at least initially, was the mind-exploding detail of the rhinestones, and how to convey that on paper. I started out the way most people start out with puzzles: define the edge. Once I got that done, I was tempted to just leave it there. But… the near side of the purse had some perspective issues going on that made it thicker, and also showed the metal lip of the purse going into the side.

So I stared at the purse for awhile, trying not to get overtaken by the urge to go eat something and not deal with what looked like an impossible level of detail. I resisted the urge to go bang my head against a wall. I decided I was going to cheat. By “cheat”, I mean that I decided I was going to come up with a pattern that I could draw that would estimate all the detail that was going on with those rhinestones. The parts of the pattern in the real purse that popped out were the angle that the rhinestones themselves made. The other thing was the round brass or gold-colored metal parts that held the rhinestones in place.

So I made a line of gold dots to show the metal holders. And I tried making some angled lines (like a bent wire) that might look like the angles in the rhinestones. It kinda worked, so I did that around the edge of the purse. I did a few extra rows on the near side, and did only one tapering row on the far side.

I went back again and added some lighter angled lines to kind of blend between the first row I drew and the blank space on the inside of the purse. And I added some lines of gold dots to see how that would blend the edge and the center. I’m still not sure which technique/approach looks best.

You may also notice the chain. At one point I thought using only half circles for the chain would look better, but now looking at this on the screen, doing the full circles seems better.

I really like the way this came out. At first, I thought (as usual) that it was going to be terrible, that it was already terrible, and I was going to just keep doing it because I had to get my daily drawing out of the way, and this was all just a learning exercise and it didn’t matter if it was terrible or not. And then about half an hour later it looked pretty good. I left my office for a break and then walked back in about an hour later (this is what happens during weekends… I get distracted and feel like I show be spending time with people) and the drawing kind of popped off my desk.

You just have to plow through that “this sucks” thinking and keep going. Sometimes, yes, the drawing does end up terrible, but then once in a while – WHOA!

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