Z fails to draw – part 4 – the twist

Today’s exercise was in two parts. And I found, to start with, that I’m hopeless at symmetry, even if I’m really trying. I knew that, of course but I know it again.
The second exercise was drawing upside-down. That is, copying a picture that’s upside down; in this case Picasso’s drawing of Igor Stravinsky. It’ll take about 40 minutes, the tutor advised.

It was certainly hard and my concentration flagged by the end – or perhaps it was the left side of my brain clamouring for attention, because I got bored before I finished. I didn’t find it hard to concentrate and focus, but had to push myself to keep going, I really wanted to dash off the last part quickly. Since this was an upside-down face, which was really difficult to do, I couldn’t. Thing is, you know what a face looks like, even the wrong way up, so you know you’re not doing it very well. I was quite gratified by the rest, though and even the head was better than I expected it to be.
So, here we go.


The well known optical illusion of a vase or a pair of profiles. I tried it twice and did a lot of rubbing out and trying again of the right-hand side. I wasn’t unhappy with the left one, the first one I did – it wasn’t good but nor was it awful. But if I looked at the picture and copied it, it didn’t match the first side and if I tried to copy my own drawing in reverse, it was quite confusing because I was going out when I was looking at in. Still, never mind.

As for the Stravinsky, I had to overcome the temptation to draw the spectacle lenses the same size. The hardest part was keeping everything in alignment. I started with the top – that is, the bottom of the picture – and worked back and forth, trying to manage proportions. I note that the tie was better than I expected – very tricky – but I haven’t really managed the collar at all. He’s rather a chinless wonder and the upper lip and the moustache are all one. But I did try really hard and was tired and headachy by the time I’d finished.

The twist is a literal one, of course; twisting upside-down.

6 comments on “Z fails to draw – part 4 – the twist

  1. Scarlet

    I love that exercise! You’ve done really well, I only wish you were enjoying it more – you make it sound like some sort of torture session!
    Sx

    Reply
  2. Jan Gore

    Keep going! I seem to remember I did something similar in “Drawing on the right side of the brain”. The idea is to trick your brain into observing and not prejudging. You’ll probably get an exercise on negative space that you might like better – seeing the shapes made by the spaces. Watercolours can be fun – if nothing else I found that it gave you a heightened sense of colour so eg decorating became easier. But the kit is expensive. Good luck with it all. Jx

    Reply
  3. Kestrel

    I think you did a terrific job with Igor. I wouldn’t have gone past his head be4 giving up. I can’t draw even if my life depended on it. My sister is an artist, obviously all the creative genes eluded me. Keep drawing and show your creations here 🎨👍

    Reply
  4. Z Post author

    When I finish the drawing, my left brain takes over again and starts to analyse – keeping it at bay while the pencil is in my hand is quite enough effort! I don’t mean it to sound like torture, but anyone who can draw, paint or create anything beautiful might not realise how difficult this is for one who can’t.

    Thanks, Jan – though watercolours are way above me right now. At least I can rub pencil marks out.

    I can’t draw either, Kestrel, believe me. Copying upside-down is different, somehow. I had a dismal failure yesterday (discovered the draft hadn’t posted, so there are two posts today) and I almost lost the nerve to have another go.

    Reply
  5. dinahmow

    I struggled when trying the “Right Side of the Brain” exercises. I have not done any real drawing for a year;I sometimes doodle and I had a run of doing political cartoons, but I have come to realise that I am better at just making gestural marks and if other people don’t understand them, I just adopt the Alistair Deakin [As Time Goes BY – look it up, folks.] technique of a cryptic smile and “hey-hey…”

    Reply
    1. Z Post author

      I think it can be harder to know something than to know nothing. I’m a clear slate – or possibly a blank canvas. I’ll believe anything and try anything. When i tried scuba diving, because I’m a terrible swimmer with a fear of being out of my depth, I listened and obeyed the instructor. Excellent swimmers did really well, on the whole, except for a couple of them. who really struggled not to follow their own instincts. Competent ones found it hard to follow instructions.

      Reply

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