Blocking In Exercises
For this exercise, you need a crayon or piece of compressed charcoal or graphite, used on its side.
Look at your model or the object and squint a little, blurring any detail. Think only of the shapes.
Nicolaides encourages you to think of the physical weight of the masses. This is great too.
Starting lightly, and in the middle of the main shape, looking mostly at your model, start shading. Work from the centre outwards, build up slowly and do not try to draw the contours at all, nor any detail. This is just a blocking-in of the main shapes.
Extend to the less important shapes as extensions of the main part of the form (e.g. the leg of the model; the head). Always keep looking at the object and mould your shading to fit the main masses. Do not try to refine the edges. This is an exercise. It is a basic exercise that will later be of benefit to you in whatever painting you wish to do. (Most painting consists of blocking-in colour shapes). By practicing with the quicker, cheaper more readily accessible drawing gear, you will improve your painting enormously.
A complimentary exercise is to perform the same blocking in but not of the model or object, instead block in the “negative shape” surrounding it. It is best to use simple shapes at first e.g. a jug.
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