Michelle McCain Drawing 101

After graduating from college, my first teaching gig started at Fayetteville Technical Community College back in 1998 for the Graphic Design and Advertising Curriculum.

I also served as a chair member on the Board of Directors for the Graphic and Advertising Department. Basic Drawing 101, was probably my favorite class to teach at the time. My required class book, Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain by Dr. Betty Edwards¬†helped students transform their art abilities in no time learning to draw skillfully and beautifully, enhancing their creativity. I highly recommend this book for anyone who would like to draw, teach, or increase one’s artistic capabilities.

Below is a charcoal I sketched upside down from one of the exercises to help see shadows; light and dark, as well as shapes. This exercise reduces mental conflict and causes a shift to right brain mode. In right-hemisphere-mode drawing, the mode of the artist, if you do use words to think, ask yourself only such things as:

  • “Where does the curve start?”
  • “How deep is the curve?”
  • “What is that angle relative to the edge of the paper?”
  • “How long is that line relative to the one I’ve just drawn?”
  • “Where is the point as I scan across to the other side–Where is that point relative to the distance from the top (or bottom) edge of the paper?”

These are R-mode questions: spatial, relational, and comparative. Notice that no parts are named. No statements are made, no conclusions drawn, such as, “The chin must come out as far as the nose,” or “Noses are curved.

© 2011 Charcoal by Michelle McCain of Hendersonville, NC - All Rights Reserved
The last project in class was the Self Portrait. The results were so amazing, we had a difficult time arranging all the beautiful drawings in the glass showcase in the Graphic Design and Advertising building!

This five day class is designed for individuals and small business owners with little or no prior drawing training and perhaps believe that learning to draw well is only possible for those lucky people with “inborn talent”. It’s been proven that the global skill of drawing any perceived object, person or place requires five basic component perceptual skills. These skills are the perception of edges, spaces, relationships, lights and shadows, and the whole or gestalt. Global or whole skills, such as reading, driving and drawing, in time become automatic with the integration of the component skills. Of course the initial learning process maybe a struggle; first in learning the new component skill and then with the smooth integration of all the components. Each skill is learned and merged with the others until you are simply drawing – just as you found yourself simply driving or reading. I recommend this class for anyone who would like to learn how to paint, or just increase one’s creativity. Testimonials


2 thoughts on “Michelle McCain Drawing 101

  1. Fascinating, Michelle. The idea of sketching upside-down to switch into right brain mode was completely new to me. I shall have to try that someday when I’m feeling particularly courageous! Thanks for sharing. : )

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