When I was studying art in high school I could not comprehend why one teacher never seemed to be satisfied with my portrait drawings. I was able to achieve such great resemblance with the subject through meticulous shading and pencil smudging – the perfect use of possibilities that a 2B pencil can offer with its grayscale variations. And yet she thought it was lacking personality. At the time I didn’t understand at all what she meant by that.
In university we rarely had any drawing assignments, so my skilled grayscale-hand got rusty. But one time we had to put together a huge portfolio with a lot of sketches, including drawings of everyday objects such as shoes and pots. One night I was sitting at my desk fighting boredom while trying to draw a saucepan and realized that if I wanted to draw it in my usual way I would have to do a lot of tedious and uniform shading. So it is out of laziness and boredom that the idea struck: why not draw just the contours of the object and the lines between dark and light areas to give it depth.
That drawing took me only a few minutes to make (and as I have a rather short attention span then energy efficiency is extremely important for me) and ever since then I have never gone back to pencil-shading or even pen-hashing to differentiate light and dark areas of an image. I wonder what my old teacher would say about my drawing style now…
Have you ever made any valuable discoveries out of laziness?
Graphic tablet or pen and paper?
Video: How a photo becomes a drawing