I was looking at iPod apps the other day when I came across a neat one called PencilandPaper. It puts a grid over a photo so you can draw it, and it has a few other helpful tricks too. (There are more screen captures with comments at the end of the post.)
Of course I wanted to share this wonderful find with my fellow pencil enthusiasts (aka “you guys”) right away, so I drew a hasty grid (that I thought looked square-ish enough), plotted out this line drawing from a photo of my cat, added clever and subtle shading, and smiled (smugly) to myself as I thought what an easy blog post this would be. Ha! Wrong again!!
When the drawing of my cat started to look distorted, I naturally blamed the app for making me draw the width and height incorrectly because my motto is, “It’s not my fault!”
Please side step into this thought bubble with me for a moment. I searched around for other grid apps and there are quite a few of them. Was I the only one who didn’t know that? Yes! I suspect I was, because I’m totally clueless most of the time. If you come across a neat-o drawing tool, just assume I don’t know about it and give me a heads-up, willya? I’ll gleefully accept any help offered. :)
Okey Dokey, back to the present. After I got over blaming the app for my cockeyed drawing, I took a look at the grid I drew and it was in no way “square-ish enough.” It wobbled and slanted and no two sections measured the same. So, I decided to try and fix the drawing and to show you the entire mess because, well I’m not sure why, but I didn’t let that stop me!
Questions And Answers!
Here are some questions that might be going through your mind about the drawing method I used here. I’ll do my best to answer them!
- Why did you choose such a dark photo?
Next question please.
- What paper and pencils did you use?
Very soft pencils (6B & 7B wooden Derwents) and the paper in my Moleskine journal.
- That paper isn’t really meant for drawing is it?
No, it’s not.
- Well, why did you use it then?
Because it feels velvety and it’s in an awfully cute notebook.
- Do you often make decisions based on touch and level of cuteness.
Yes. For example, that’s how I chose my husband.
- All in all Carol, do you regret choosing such a low quality photo and drawing it on such poor quality drawing paper?
- Do you think you’ll make this series of bad choices, or similar bad choices, again?
Yes! I absolutely will.
- Aren’t you a little embarrassed about that?
Not at all. I understand that mistakes are great teachers who test and strengthen me. Sometimes, as I watch a series of bad decisions unfold, I create an even more productive strength training session by pondering questions such as; How long will this go on? Where will it end? Will I ever recover? Where can I bury the body?
Here’s the pencilandpaper app, which is simple and intuitive to use. The grid toggles off and on, which is handy. The app toggles color photos to black and white too.
It has an awesome contrast slider too, that helps you see the outlines more clearly.
And it has a great zoom. Here it is with the grid on.
And here’s the zoom with grid off, and this is what made me so excited. This is a screen capture from my ipod and, considering how small and how dark the photo is, that’s pretty darned good detail on her face!
With this kind of detail I can draw from any photo right from my iPod, which has become the other half of my brain and never leaves my side, so now I’m a walkin’ talkin’ drawing machine.
If you already have a grid app on your computer or other device, one of the most exciting ways to find your next drawing is to hunt for it in photos. Use the grid as a frame to isolate parts of the photo for super close-up work, or find nicely composed abstract elements with it.
Happy drawing everyone!