Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Today I can take digital photos while they're still alive and active. The magnification is equal to that of the dissecting scope I used to use. Of coures I can't move them around to see hidden parts and understand the structure better. Without my memory of structure from those old drawings these photos might be not quite as useful.
In any case I've greatly enjoyed doing these. They are all on Moleskine A4 Sketchbook paper and all done with a Caran d'Ache ballpoint pen. One thing I immediately remembered as I did them was why I love drawing insects: they are a marvel of structure and shape and they allow an artist to bring to bear many skills.
Drawing the nude is mainly an exercise in curvilinear shapes. Drawing from nature often involves amorphous, undifferentiated shapes, at least when it comes to most foliage and many landscapes. Hard edges are there but not all that often and if so broken up by softness, for instance in tree trunks and the foliage that hides them. But with insects you can have the sweeping elegant curve of a wing coupled with the hard edges of the limbs or thorax.
And of course dragonflies are beautiful as well as having a fascinating life history if you care to study it. Many people will of course love dragonflies for their color, pattern, movement. I do too. But for now it's time to get their structure down. Perhaps in the future I'll be able to sketch them live and add color, trying to get many of their striking qualities captured all at once.
The sketch at top includes, at least as best I can tell, a Blue Dasher and Eastern Pondhawk. The sketch at bottom has the ubiquitous, at least at Morris Arboretum, Twelve-spotted Skimmer and an unidentified damselfly.