Martin’s students draw inspiration from motorcycle

February 20th, 2015 Comments Off on Martin’s students draw inspiration from motorcycle

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Students in Assistant Professor Gregory Martin’s drawing classes are currently perfecting their drawing skills with the help of a motorcycle.

(via Martin:)

“The motorcycle as a subject for drawing classes started when I taught at USC in Los Angeles. Parking was difficult, and I would park my 1969 BMW motorcycle in the ground floor drawing room. Comparing it to the still life I was setting up, it was a far more interesting object and collection of shapes. The students enjoyed drawing from it, and I found that it was challenging in a very useful way. It had a degree of detail and complication that requires simplifying forms down to basic shapes and using sighting techniques.

When an artist sticks out their thumb or a director makes a frame with their fingers, they are using sighting techniques. Utilizing the length of their pencils, students learn to analyze proportional relationships in the subject they are studying and then apply those same proportions in the drawing they are making of the subject. They also employ the pencil as a straight edge and use it for plumb and level lines to get a sense of alignment between the various elements that compose the subject.

The students are asked to draw the motorcycle as large as possible on an 18″ x 24″ sheet of drawing paper but without going outside of the edges of the paper. The only way they are able to do this is to simplify shapes into major forms, use sighting techniques to get the proportions they see to be the same in their drawings, and map out a framework of the entire subject before refining into a detailed drawing using more specific contour lines. If they give in to the impulse to concentrate on details too soon, they will surely fail and make a drawing either too small or too large for the page and of a subject with distorted proportions. Those who follow the process with patience and determination are able to draw a complex subject in proportion and at the desired size with a level of detail they had not previously realized they could accomplish.”

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