Help me learn to draw [a bit more] like Jason Polan
May 7, 2008 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Is there a name for this style of drawing? And can you suggest a good course of action I could take to learning it?

Other than "practice it" what advice do you have? I love this simple style of drawing and would really enjoy learning it.
posted by stuboo to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know the name (if there is one), but I do it sometimes. For me, it's the drawing equivalent of free writing. I don't edit or erase (I do it with pen or marker); I do it quickly; I never lift my pen from the paper.
posted by grumblebee at 1:29 PM on May 7, 2008

Looks like gesture drawing -- it's practiced in life drawing classes. Quick, bold strokes, and the model changes poses very frequently.
posted by loiseau at 1:32 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Gesture drawing is what I thought of, as well.
posted by owtytrof at 1:38 PM on May 7, 2008

Best answer: You might take a look at Nicolaides' classic The Natural Way to Draw. Some think it may be too difficult for a beginner, but I think it's worth the read and trying the exercises.
posted by txsebastien at 1:47 PM on May 7, 2008

I'd say contour drawing. There's an exercise that could be called "blind contour drawing" in various books like The Natural Way to Draw. You look at your subject, but not at the paper as you draw. It can yield results like some of those drawings.
posted by DarkForest at 1:57 PM on May 7, 2008

Best answer: Might want to check out the Zen of Seeing.
posted by o0dano0o at 2:09 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'd call it a loose sketch.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on May 7, 2008

2nd contour drawing. When I learned it, blind was the default.
posted by psyche7 at 3:22 PM on May 7, 2008

as an art teacher, I 3rd contour drawing.
posted by nimsey lou at 3:29 PM on May 7, 2008

Best answer: Books that I like, that show step by step how to draw similar to your example:

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cartooning But Were Afraid to Draw by Christopher Hart.

The Cartoonist's Workbook by Robin Hall
posted by chase at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2008

Best answer: Contour drawing, most definitely. It's fun and easy, and can be done blind or non-blind.

You're looking to find the prominent lines in the subject - the outline, the large wrinkles and sharp contrasts and overlappings and corners that define the volume best. You're not paying attention to much texture or shading, unless it's so prominent that it defines the subject in some way. (That said, as with all styles, contour drawing can go from extremely simple to very intensive/detailed/ornate.) But basically, if you want to try it for yourself, I'd suggest blind contour first (no need to buy a book just to learn this one thing):

Find your subject, sit down with pencil and paper, and look at your subject. Find your beginning line - probably an outside line, and position your pencil on the paper such that your subject should fit on the paper (big paper is good) from where you start. Then, don't look at your paper any more until you're finished. Make your eyes follow the line, slowly, and try to get your hand to move the pencil at the same rate and in the same motion. Don't lift the pencil from the paper - even if you catch a glimpse. The results will probably look -awful- to you, at first (or they may look really cool, in a Picasso-esque sort of way), but the point of the exercise at first is to train your eye to see the outlines, not your pencil.

From there, just practice and experiment, and you can try non-blind contours as well, where you can look from the subject to your drawing and back to keep it from going too wonky. The requirement of keeping the pencil on the paper is also not a hard-and-fast rule, and once your eye is trained, you can do whatever you like.

Have fun!
posted by po at 3:46 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I like The Natural way to Draw, but I agree it can be a bit boring and repetitive. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards might be better for a beginner.

Also, everything that po said.
posted by clearlydemon at 4:53 PM on May 7, 2008

Contour drawing for sure. Go to a public spot where you can easily observe people (park, subway) and sketch people quickly. This works very well for me because 1) people move pretty quickly and 2) I'm nervous that someone will catch me looking, so I don't waste time on excess strokes and I don't glance at the paper too much.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 5:08 PM on May 7, 2008

I'd call it "thurberesk"
posted by cptnrandy at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2008

Contour drawing.

Get a big pad of newsprint and a soft pencil. Move your whole arm as you draw, not just your hand.
posted by miffed at 7:48 PM on June 12, 2008

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