Yesterday, after about 4 months with Drawing Basics, I finally finished the Curved Shapes section of the course.
The course provided a multi-page pdf with 12 shapes in total to draw. That might not sound like a lot but on average I’d say each took at least 3 hours to complete and often much longer still. The first attempts took a good two days per working 2-3 hours each day. Towards the end it was 1-2 hours each day. I’d always take a break once the rough shape was ready before doing the final pass.
Over the summer I had a few weeks where I didn’t do any work on this, and interestingly that actually seemed to help, as I came back to the drawing board feeling less afraid of using my eraser and more free with getting lines on the paper and using my eye to get me where I needed to go.
I’m very happy with the method taught in the course for building up the shapes, though it does take some practice for sure. After doing the 12 assigned sketches I feel that I’m just getting the idea of how to approach these.
The core of the method is in the block in, which is an extension of all the previous lessons with the addition of developing a feel for how to break the complex shape into simpler segments. This is the hardest bit for me, and I’m sure a skill I’ll be refining for the rest of my artistic career.
One thing is for sure, a course like this really builds an excellent foundation. Though the projects are simple on the surface, it’s clear that they are very transferable. If I was given one of these shapes to draw 4 months ago, I’d never have been able to get them as close as I can now. So I can confidently say, at about 1/3 of the way through the course, that it’s already been well worth the price of admission.
Disclaimer: I’m just a guy taking the course, no one asked me to do these reviews and I receive no compensation for them.
Every once in a while something comes along that combines all the elements in just the right way. This performance by Andrey Moraru is one of those rare gems. He perfoms with lightness and a spontenatiey that is rare in the world of handbalancing routines. He blurs the lines between dance, circus, yoga and tai chi in a manner that seems natural and effortless. Simply a stunning performance.
Update Sept. 5 2017
Andrey has recently told the story of how this groundbreaking video came to be
–The ‘FreE MaN’ Story-
Only a few short years ago I was in Las Vegas with no work offers for months on end and no network to turn to, feeling way down.
I had NO gameplan other than waiting endlessly for contracts that never came. My career came to a screeching halt and was going nowhere at that point in time.
I had zero vision of how or where to go to continue with my initial mission of life of true adventure and creating something inspiring and extraordinary.
I had to admit it to myself: I completely failed at achieving my dreams and making my mark in the Art world…and this is probably
the end of the road for my show business ambitions. It just wasn’t working anymore!
So, for one last try, despite the hopeless state of mind that I was in, I decided i should at least attempt to make a video of the act I kept working on and changing for several years but was NEVER hired to perform for any of the shows or companies I dreamed of working for at the time. Nevertheless, it was a labor of love but I had nothing to show for it, no evidence of it’s existence and nothing to promote it with.
ENTER: Alexander Alexandrov whom I met through Allan Mccormick. Alexander was a talented videographer, Artist, Director and the man I turned to for help in making this video happen.
He lived in L.A. at the time, busy as ever, but miraculously happened to be available for 2 days to come to Vegas to do the shoot.
I couldn’t find one theater stage to film the act on but he had a much better idea…
‘Let’s film it outdoors’ he insisted. Deep down I initially rejected the idea (my stage programming dictated the rules) but quickly changed my mind when he showed me another demo video he had done for a female dancer.
I hiked mountains and walked through desert almost every day for months all around Las Vegas couple years earlier when I needed to find myself and the idea of taking our shoot into the barren lands hit very close to home. In a very promising way that is.
We set out for 5 am departure time two days later (Sunrise lighting was a must) and the only thing left undecided was the music. I just couldn’t find something that rang the bells of my heart until I entered online search for “Moby”. The last song on the new album I never heard of called “Wait For Me” was: “Isolate”. Guitar strings of the opening seconds and piano sounds that followed took me by surprise and I experienced a myriad of feelings the moment it’s sounds entered my ears.
I had my song. Not a single doubt about it.
We drove out to the desert at night to meet the rising Sun and we filmed for hours in the heat that quickly followed.
The desert sand, rocks and clay I was balancing and dancing on was as uneven as they get but there was no turning back and I had to utilize ALL of my skill and will to make it look seamless.
After Alexander dropped me off at home I slowly walked to my room in silence, leaving the trail of sand and dirty clothes with shoes behind, collapsed into bed exhausted and dehydrated, feeling sick as a dog and fully convinced this was and will be a complete failure…
Few days later when the video was done I uploaded it onto my youtube channel in the evening and went to sleep expecting nothing special to become of it.
I remembered far too well my every previous effort going unnoticed and had no reason to expect anything different this time around.
Next day and in many months to come I was shocked to discover the video was everywhere, all over social networks and all I could do was sit and watch in disbelief. My new journey was just beginning and I recieved all affirmation, confirmation and re-assurance I needed to regain confidence in my abilities as a student of Arts and Handbalancer. A lot of it had come from Yoga community in particular which was a pleasant and flattering surprise. It made me determined to continue pushing boundaries of physical limitations and finding many diverse ways of expressing myself.
This video helped inspire and re-inspire countless people all over the globe and turned my career and life around 360 degrees!
So, the conclusion of this little story is: You can do anything if you don’t give up and keep searching to find your true self. Voice of truth is more powerful than any make-believe appearence of it and you don’t have to try to be like everyone else. The goal is to find yourself, your truth and help others discover it within themselves and express it to other people who might be lost and looking for their own light in surrounding clouds of darkness.
My utmost gratitude to everyone involved in inspiring this work and helping to make it happen.
Find your truth, your own freedom and enjoy this lifelong ride!
When I was in my late 20’s I started doing a lot of art, most weird abstract stuff. Over time, I stopped as I became more involved with yoga, I just didn’t really feel the need to do art anymore as yoga became an outlet for my creative urges.
Some 20 years on I’ve suddenly wanted to do art again. However taking some of the lessons learned in the interim. For one, at that time of youthful angst, most of my art was pretty dark, and thankfully I don’t feel the need to tap that spirt again. Also technically, I had some skills, but doing something like drawing a recognisable face was impossible for me, even as a caricature.
So a month ago, I decided if I want to draw, I want to learn how to draw from the ground up. I don’t see learning the skill of drawing as different than learning any of the multitude of skills I’ve learned over the last 20 years.
With that in mind, I started researching how to draw, and found books, online courses and so on. But most of them started from drawing objects or figures. I wanted to drill all the way to the bottom as a start. Thankfully after much searching, I came across the Vitruvian Fine Arts Studio, an art studio in Chicago, that also offers online classes taught by mater teacher David Jamieson.
David Jamieson at work
Their Drawing Basics course was exactly wahat I was looking for. A true bottom up approach to learning basic drawing skill. And by basic I mean BASIC. The course starts with just working on drawing lines, lots and lots of lines.
From there you learn to simply assess angles and draw more lines, on those angles. Pretty basic, right? And also pretty fundamental and critical if want to draw actual things, since drawings can be broken down to a combination of these two things.
It took 2-3 weeks to work through this part of the course at around 1-2 hours a day.
From there, you start to slowly add to the two most basic skills, first by drawing triangles of various sizes and shapes and then to oddly shaped polygons.
Working on the polygons exercise.
Here is where it gets interesting, because errors in judging angles, or slightly curved lines will punish you, hard. I didn’t have too much trouble with the exercises to this point, but this section, and I’m still working on this section, really slowed me down. Slowed me down in a good way, now it really matters if you get those angles just right or not, you really have to start to use your eye and see in a way I’ve never been able to before.
My first efforts were pretty far off target, see the drill isn’t to draw any old random polygon, no the drill is to as precisely as possible recreate the dozen or so examples provided in the exercise’s accompanying pdf file.
With these shapes one wrong angle or line length will distort the entire sketch and make it look like a 3rd graders replication. Putting it together really took some time, I think I spent an entire Saturday afternoon on one of the first polygons. But it gets better and you can see your eye start to slowly develop, which of course is the whole reason for starting this course, so it’s really time well spent for anyone wanting to learn to draw life like sketches or drawings.
I haven’t got there yet, but the next steps are to draw curved shapes and then learn to work on shading via a large number of value and progression drills.
The final sections deal with drawing actual, physical objects, namely, classic geometric objects, cubes, cylinders, and spheres.
The course culminates with taking the single objects you drawn and making a still life from them.
A few final comments on the course, each exercise is fully video documented, so you can watch David actually do each and every exercise himself, with his commentary. These videos range from 30 minutes to over an hour. Some sections are sped to double speed, which actually helps as well.
Also David can be PM’d or you can leave comments for him under each exercise.
I do wish there were more features for interacting with other students, perhaps a forum for example, but overall this course is well worth the money spent, assuming you are willing to put the time in. This isn’t the kind of course you can just watch the videos and skip to the end and expect results. I can see it easily taking 3 months and I’m anticipating up to 6 months at the rate I work.
From there, Vitruvian currently has two other online course offerings, a cast model drowning course and a portrait drawing course. If you take a look at David’s and his students work, you’ll see why this seems like such a good investment and the three courses together provide a path to learning to draw realistically and beautifully.
I had to replace my modem this week, which should have been a fairly straightforward plug and play swap out.
It almost was too, unfortunately my modem’s power supply shares the same power strip as my iMac. ‘So what?’, ‘Why would that matter?, you ask. Because even though Apple makes great hardware (at least up to 2015) they suck at making cords and adapters.