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Art Lessons: Control Drills

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before runner runs, they have to stretch.
Before you sprint, you have to jog.
To get the body warmed up.
It's the same thing with vocally, well
before you start singing.
You have to warm your throat up.
The same with drawing.
So before you start to draw, you have to
warm up.
It will make you a better artist in the
You know, sometimes when I take a week
off, a couple days off, I get really cold.
And I'm like whoa, what's going on with
I'm not drawing well.
But, you know, realistically, it's like
cuz I just really haven't warmed up.
So I've got a couple of exercises for you
that will help keep you warm,
and allow you to go into your drawing, or
into your painting,
or even into your sketching with a little
bit more umph.
Because that will make it, these exercises
will make you feel like,
okay I'm ready now.
So these are control drills and
some of them may seem really silly.
But, I guarantee you I have done all of
I've had, I know artists who were just at
the highest level who still do these,
and they always benefit from them.
So, some of them might not work for you
some of them might be perfect for you.
You might wanna take some of these and
kinda do your own thing with it,
that's fine too.
But, in the end, really think about
stretching and
warming up before you go for the sprint.
Okay, so the first one is gonna be, just
like a eye hand coordination thing.
So usually I'll do, like, twelve.
Spaces between each one.
But this one is going to do half of the
six, so I can kind of get through this, so
you can get the point of this.
So I'm trying to think about making these
marks equal distance.
And already I just feel like I didn't.
I'm, I'm warming up.
So I got one, two, three.
Four making it like an inch apart, five,
And I've got one, two, three.
It's just so far.
One two.
Then I've got one,
two, three, four.
And as I'm putting the marks down, I'm
looking at the opposite side of the page.
And I'm just putting them down because I'm
saying, okay.
Where does this, where, these have to line
These have to be equidistant from each
So, here, here and here.
So that's pretty much the exercise.
And then what I want to do.
The second part, is that I want to connect
those lines in a straight way.
So I try to go down in as straight a way
as possible.
And this is starting to actually dial
dial into your brain and keeping things,
and lining things up, keeping things
consistent, lining things up.
Sometimes I go down with my line, other
times I just go up with my line.
So both ways are actually really good.
And you'll notice that.
Sometimes you don't hit it.
You're not on target.
Look see this line I kind of went a little
bit that way and I shouldn't have.
But, these actually didn't line up right.
See this one down here I could already see
that it's not lined up perfectly.
See just a little bit off.
This ones a little better.
There you go, just off.
Amazing to all be off, see, that's off,
could had that down.
So all these are gonna be a little off.
Except maybe that one.
And you could continue on with these add
infin item.
You can go from here to the other side.
Because often times when I draw, I'm
looking at, let's say I draw neck, right?
I kinda hit a measurement for the other
side of the neck like this
and then I draw down to the back of the
And I have the pit of the neck here, and I
just kinda make a little mark for
the rib cage, and I'm going down to, to
the rib cage.
I'm drawing down to the other side of that
So, it's very similar, you know, the chin,
top of the mask, the ball, the ear.
And you can see,
it's very similar to these.
It's like, you're making these marks,
whether it's a landscape, a still life, or
a figure.
You know, making these marks.
And you're drawing to them.
So your, your brain is making these very
hemisphere spatial relationship decisions.
So you're dealing with all of the space.
How far is it from the chin to the
To the wrist, to the hand, and all these
decisions you're making and
it's coming out right here and you're
putting it down.
So that sometimes you're just putting a
little mark and
you're measuring it all out.
That's exactly what this is in a very
basic fundamental way.
So you can see how this applies.
When you're measuring and you're drawing a
figure of still life or a landscape.
So these are really actually can be very
useful for you.
So here, once again, not only am I going
to this point, but I'm trying to,
you know, go between these lines, and, and
make it straight.
And tt's all wonky, see, see.
So practice going up, that way, down that
So, that's one control drill that you can
And that's a great one.
Those are just grid control drills.
another control drill that's really
amazing for
your brain is doing drawings with opposite
So, think of it.
You're trying to mirror your drawing.
So, if I'm gonna do maybe triangles.
I take this, left hand and the right hand,
I go in opposite directions and
I try to make sure that they're the same
Like that.
I'll do.
And this gets you really kinda measuring
This gets your brain really fired up.
Oh, you wanna cross the line at the same
time too.
You wanna make that same negative triangle
like that.
So you can do this with a series of
So this time I'm gonna draw inward
There you could see.
And you can see it's not quite accurate.
But, you know, the trick is actually to
keep it equidistant from the middle space.
That way you're kinda always measuring
from this point here.
So you have a straight to measure against.
So let's try another one.
Be a little bit more accurate here.
And your brain has to really slow down.
Pretty intense.
Like your brain does not wanna slow down.
Start here.
Draw down.
Cause definitely, these kind of things
really hurt your brain.
You know what I mean by that, right?
It's like a lot of concentration.
It's the kind of warmups you,
you don't like to do.
And though, these are the bear crawls,
these are the pullups,
these are the squats, these are those
basic fundamental things.
That you know you're gonna be stronger,
you know you're gonna be more powerful,
you know at the end of this, you're gonna
be better for it, but
you don't really wanna do it.
Well that's a long way up to the pull-up
bar, I don't want to, but
I know I gotta do these, I gotta do these,
I gotta do these.
So, it's just keeping ahead
of the curve and stacking the odds on your
favour when you do these things, so
that when you get into a drawing, you're
going to do
a way better drawing cause your brain's
gonna be already ready for it.
You're gonna be firing your synapses,
they're gonna be [SOUND], [SOUND],
[SOUND], [SOUND] firing in a high speed.
You're gonna be in the matrix of the
We'll do a couple more, to get into the
I should call these matrix drills.
Control drills is just like, these are
like way more intensely sci fi
Okay Now try,
I'm talking to myself, now try going fast.
See if you're on point doing that.
Doing like a couple Jewish stars.
Oh my god.
Look at that.
It's like sea curving.
[SOUND] It's good.
This is really good though, so that makes
me really think.
Okay, so.
Even though they're not i, you know,
identical by
any stretch of the imagination or they're
not even close to identical, but
it's good because I feel like my brain is
starting to fire at a deeper level.
let's go into another control drill, now
that I feel like I'm fired up.
And, these are ellipses.
So, oftentimes, it's just really good to
do ellipses.
So, just this ellipse here, think about
this ellipse.
So, you know, you have to think about it
like you're seeing
this much of an ellipse, this much, this
much, this much, this much, this much.
So, you're playing with all these
different ellipses.
Looking into into ellipses, and
that actually is a really great way to
start firing your brain.
So just a little ellipse right here.
Now do a big one like this, and try to
keep it where it's not feeling wonky.
Where it feels like a real,
clean ellipse like that.
And then what you can do is connect them.
So that kinda start to build the
three-dimensionality into your brain.
So you start connecting these ellipses
like this, like this,
like this, like this.
It starts to have its own kind of
Woo, woo.
You know, like that.
Like that.
So it becomes this three-dimensional
You could do it here too.
And you could just kind of play with this.
Here. Here. Here.
Like that.
And we're just gonna go do a little faster
with control.
They call it control drills because you're
trying to control and
sometimes I'll just fill a pad of these.
And I'll also kind of trick my brain.
It's like the reason that muscle confusion
works so well at the gym so
that your muscles don't adapt to one
specific exercise.
And that's the same thing with drawings.
The same thing.
Because, you know, this is all a muscle.
Drawing is like a muscle thing.
You gotta be really, you have to have a
heightened awareness of what's going on.
You gotta be really like fit in your
So, you want to confuse your brain.
So instead of going this way all the time,
you gotta go this way sometimes too.
So you're drawing in a clockwise way.
And then you're drawing in a
counter-clockwise way.
It's almost like you're thinking that,
okay, well now I'm gonna draw to,
you know, in a North American way, right,
cause everything is when trees grow,
they grow clockwise, clockwise, clockwise.
And in South America, when trees go grow,
they grow counterclockwise,
counterclockwise because of the magnetic
So trees are going counterclockwise in
South America.
Same with when you see the toilet flush.
You see the toilet flush in North America
You go to South America it's flushing
Because of the magnetic pull of the earth.
So, think about that, think about kind of
like drawing from a different perspective,
so, yeah, I'm drawing this way, I'm
drawing this way, and
now I'm drawing this way.
And you're gonna have a side that you're
more comfortable with,
you just are [SOUND]
And then you could do, ellipss like this.
incidentally, if you want to kinda take
this to a whole other level,
you could find the center of that ellipse
The center and kind of start doing that as
kind of just breaking it down into where
the center of that is.
So, the center here, right?
Highest point at the top.
Lowest point.
Highest point.
Lowest point.
That's going to be where your mid is,
and like that.
You could do that as well.
Now, particularly when you're doing
control drills, with squares, gonna be.
And you wanna find, this is another good
control drill.
It's also a good way to find an ellipse as
you take the point from this corner
to that corner, from this corner, right.
This is like the first control drill
exercise to that corner.
You're bisecting it and then you take that
you draw it down like that.
And you take that midpoint and you draw
through it to the other side.
So you're always looking at the other
So you take all those points, here, here,
here, here, here, here, here.
You connect them, you connect these points
here, right, like that.
And this
is a science right here, but this is how
you find the ellipse in here.
Just by doing that.
So in other words, if you have, and this
is a good, good exercise to warm up with.
If you have something in perspective like
that, you have that point,
your four corners.
Say you had a box.
And you wanted to find what it would be
like to be defined the ellipse in there,
you find the center, you find this center,
you find this, and this.
That line is no, that line
is wonky you take this, and
that's how you would find
your center ellipse going
back into perspective.
So that's another good control drill right
And of course you could just continue on
with the control drills
in terms of making cubes,
in fact, you might want to just, whoops,
you might wanna draw the cubes in terms of
all the planes like that.
Making tubes.
[NOISE] And you do
enough of those
control drills and
you will be warmed up,
and ready to draw.
So try this.
It's really fun, and you can make it even
You could actually even take, you know,
ellipses and attach them to cubes, and
attach them to spheres.
In fact, let me just get into that, just
for one second cause it's kind of fun.
So, you could take an ellipse, and
you could take a box shape like that, and
you can take a tube like that, and you
could connect them all.
So, you could just connect this, with
this, with this,
and kind of figure how do these things all
work together.
Like that, and
see you could just keep going crazy with
And then you could start doing stuff like
overlapping this shape,
overlapping this shape, wrapping that
shape around,
wrapping that shape around, playing with
different crazy wild things.
And then shading it.
And then giving a cast shadow.
And I have no idea what that is, but
you're just playing with different shapes,
connecting them and having fun and warming