Timed Drawing Exercise – Unplugged

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Gettin’ Sketchy – Unplugged – Season 4 Episode 2

This episode aired live on YouTube on June 9, 2021.

In this episode of Gettin’ Sketchy, Ashley creates a drawing of an electrical cord and plug. This may seem like an unlikely subject for drawing but it forces us to focus on composition and precise execution. Complex details are absent, but interesting relationships of simple shapes and forms are there – making this an interesting and challenging subject for sketching.

Here’s a look at the completed drawing…

Drawing of an electrical cord

Realistic Pencil Drawing
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Considering Composition

Composition in art refers to the way the elements within the picture plane are arranged. Composition affects how our viewers interact with our art and influences our success or failure. Unfortunately, the importance of composition is often overlooked by beginners.

Creating a strong composition may seem like “guesswork” to the inexperienced artist. Fortunately, composition can be learned and the more that you practice it – the more it will improve.

See also: Composition in Art

In this work, the composition is the “star of the show”. The subject may be a mundane object, but the composition is interesting. There is a nice balance between the positive and negative space, a variety of shapes and forms, and a feeling unity created by repetition. There’s also a nice sense of space developed through overlapping and placement. The meandering cord also pulls the viewer’s eye through the sketch.

This successful composition is no accident. Ashley carefully considered the composition before making any marks. He took several different photos of the subject, experimenting with slightly different arrangements. This is important to note. Successful compositions often emerge through experimentation. This is one reason why thumbnail sketching is so important.

See also: Improve Your Drawing Skills in 6 Days

25 Days to Better Drawings
Learn a new drawing concept and skill every day for 25 days. Each drawing concept taught includes a short drawing exercise (less than one hour) that reinforces the concept taught.


Materials Used For Unplugged Drawing Exercise

The materials used in this drawing are simple and easily accessible to most. Ashley uses two graphite pencils and standard white drawing paper. A harder, HB pencil is used for the initial sketch. A General’s Layout pencil is used to shade the drawing once the initial contours are established. This pencil is a darker pencil, somewhat equivalent to a 4B pencil.

See also: Artists Graphite Pencils Explained

Photo Reference

The reference image for this drawing exercise was developed by Ashley. As we have already established, the success of the sketch starts with the composition of the photo.

Here’s a look at the photo reference…

Reference photo for unplugged drawing

Drawing Exercise Unplugged – Conclusion

We often assume that the subject is the most important element in our artworks. While the subject is clearly important, it doesn’t carry as much weight as we may assume. Even everyday, “boring” subjects can be interesting for sketching or more refined drawings and paintings. Composition is clearly important in any artworks that we create. But its importance and its presence is more noticeable when the subject is subtle.

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