BLOG | DRAWING CIRCLES

by Kevin Preston | 6th February 2016

This week I’ve been going round in circles, hundreds and hundreds of times. I decided last month it was time for me to try and start creating my own characters. I have no idea how to do this though, well, I know some of what I need to do, but I don’t have the skills to do it yet.

I spent the week studying from the book Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis. I’m still at the construction phase, so haven’t got very far into it yet. Mainly because the main thing I’ve been doing this week is drawing circles. Lots of them. Why? Because as I was trying to construct the head, a lot of my errors, miscalculations and frustrations I realised were due to my circles not being proper circles.

I searched online, I already had Prokos video on how to draw the head from any angle, where he talks about drawing circles, but I also watched a few others. Every day I’ve dedicated at least 20 minutes to drawing circles on sheets of A3 paper. I’m also analysing what I’m doing, trying to find my mistakes so that I can fix them, but drawing a circle freehand is really hard!

“WHEN POPE BENEDICT ASKED GIOTTO FOR A DRAWING TO PROVE HIS WORTH AS AN ARTIST, GIOTTO DREW A PERFECT CIRCLE – FREEHAND… PERFECTION IS A POWERFUL MESSAGE”

MY PROCESS
The following is a little video I made, showing how I’m trying to draw circles freehand. 

Basically I will ghost (draw in the air) the line a few times, before placing the pencil on the paper. I also vary my sizes, doing tiny little circles that use just my fingers, to bigger ones that use more of my arm. I also stop every now and then to measure my circles, to see what is wrong with them, so that I can try to focus on fixing any issues. I’m really enjoying the process of trying to draw circles, I stick some trance music on and get lost in it. Progress is slow though, it can also be disheartening to look at a page of what felt like circles only to realise most of them aren’t actually circles. However, every now and than I’ll get a run of circles going where they feel like perfect circles and when I check they pretty much are. That feels good and makes it worth it :)

MY STRUGGLES
The main struggle I’m dealing with at the moment, is a technical one … my circles tend to be too wide. If I draw, say, twenty circles, when I stop and measure them, at least half will be too wide. So I’m now forcing myself to draw the circle bigger from top to bottom than I think it should be. It feels odd, as if I’m making them too high, but when I check they’re starting to sync up better with the width.

This is something I have to consciously force myself to do, if I stop thinking about it and just naturally start drawing circles, they will start being too wide again. I’m hoping in a month or so this tendency will be replaced with the correct measurements. I can actually feel my muscles tightening as I focus on drawing the circles, so something must be going on inside my hand :)

My other struggles are messy lines, which I think are because I’m not 100% confident of the lines I’m placing down, hopefully this will improve in time. I also seem to be making my lines too dark. This becomes really obvious when I start trying to turn my circles into heads, the lines are so dark it makes drawing on top of them harder. I also wonder if I’m drawing too fast, it’s my natural speed to draw these circles, but I will try slowing down. So I need to lighten my lines, be more confident with the lines I’m placing down and slow down all while making sure to focus on making the circles taller than I would naturally do them. Madness!

I also noticed something odd, if I draw circles clockwise they will almost always be flatter than if I drew them counter-clockwise. Very odd, I don’t know why this is.

CIRCLES INTO HEADS
Once I’ve done a few pages of circles I’ll take another sheet of A3 paper and draw twelve or so circles on it, with the intention of using the Andrew Loomis method for constructing a head. This is something I want to talk about later, but at the moment I look at my pages of poopy heads and think, “How am I ever going to be good enough to draw the characters I want?”

Andrew Loomis did say “Every Artist must be prepared for a certain amount of struggle with construction, so do not allow yourself to get discouraged.”, so I guess this is natural and just part of the process. Faith is what it all comes down to, faith that it will all come together in the end. I’m off to go draw some more circles :)

If you have any tips, resources or any advice at all on how to practice drawing circles, or what I’m doing wrong. Please let me know, you can contact me here

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“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Thomas Merton

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