Thursday, October 01, 2009
Grids, projectors and other secrets
I usually resize images by gridding but its a task that I truly dislike. All that measuring, all those lines, all that transferring of squares. So I decided that I'd invest in an art projector. Not a hugely expensive piece, but one that would allow me to increase sizes of original drawings or play around with reference images to get them to the size I want without tears.
There are a couple of schools of thought about using projectors, or even gridding for that matter. One school of thought brings out the 'are you cheating' concept. This says that if you use a mechanical aid to help you, you're less of an artist for it.
The second school of thought believes that aids are simply that. A method to move you more quickly and more accurately towards the end result that is in your mind's eye.
I have a foot in both courts. I don't believe that using a projector is an any way 'cheating'. If creating an outline or pinpointing angles of facial features or landscapes makes a person an artist, I'd love to let them tackle a full piece complete with values and colour. I do believe that slavish use of a projector or gridding diminishes the ability to make that mind/eye/hand connection that helps you judge and measure and draw effectively. If you use a crutch enough, you will forget how to walk without it.
For the tedious aspects of drawing, such as transferring drawings from a master to a clean sheet of paper. For increasing the size of a piece and for accuracy when it really counts, I believe in using every aid that exists. It doesn't make me a better or worse artist for it, I am still an artist. In your job, I don't ask if you used a computer to create a presentation or a graphics program to manipulate an illustration. I accept that you do your work and use the tools that you need to do so.
After all, who where the original users of similar items? The camera lucida and obscura go back hundreds of years and are reported to be used by some of the most famous artists. David Hockney's book 'Secret Knowledge' looks into the use of tools by artists of the past. Durer's grid seen in the image above is an early form of using a grid for a life drawing. A challenge in a life drawing class I would think!
There is no stygma in using tools to help you achieve a result. The problem only arises if they are what you rely on completely so that you can not produce art without them. There are pluses and minuses on both sides. What is your take on it? Do you use tools to help you?
Finally one of several pairs of earrings I have created that will go into my Etsy store. Sterling silver wrapped from head to toe with tiny clear glass drops that looks like rain.