An illustratively invigorating Monday morning in the hands of the brilliant Scriberia at Shoreditch House Library.
"Drawing is decision making in its purest form."
Scriberia is the home of hardworking pictures; a place in which its scribes can help us to simplify our thinking, tap into our subconscious, and provoke, persuade and change the way we make our points. Founders Dan and Chris believe that drawing can help us to "see the wood for the trees, encouraging us to levitate over a situation and remove the distortions of a personal perspective”.
To bring the power of the picture to life, this morning Dan and Chris kindly hosted an illustratively invigorating session for a group of members. Having briefly introduced the thinking and magic behind their methods, they took us through a series of drawing challenges and exercises — proving that anyone can really draw anything (also explained in their marvellous new book).
This was a great opportunity to sharpen your drawing skills, take away immediately applicable new skills and to get to grips with Scriberia’s unique take on the power of pictures to change the world.
Here's what we learned.
Less is more
When drawing, we are be bombarded by detail – something that can make the task at hand overwhelming. For this reason, the predominant focus of the workshop was to focus on the use of as few details as possible.
To introduce this topic, Chris taught us that just two or three details are required to understand a drawing. To demonstrate, we were told to draw an elephant. Immediately, the majority of the audience launched into the sketch of the entire body of the animal – until Chris reminded us that all we had needed to draw was a pair of ears, tusks and a trunk.
At this point the pair explained the significance of 1950s TV adverts, an era from which they frequently draw inspiration. During that time, economic pressures meant that shortcuts and pared-back graphics were developed in order to get messages across as efficiently as possible.
To summarise, he added that “drawing should become a decision about what to leave out”. Referencing their concept of drawing as a spectrum of detail, he explained how “if you’re less confident as an artist, you shift your thinking to the less detailed end of spectrum. In doing so, your drawing instantly becomes a more direct representation of what’s going on in your head.”
Scriberia believe that if we are able to write the letters of the alphabet, we are able to make the marks of a drawing. Therefore in their quest to democratise drawing, the pair investigated the writing system.
Dan explained how they “exploded the alphabet” to produce a series of fragments, which they reformed into 12 useful components. From squares to squiggles, they call this ‘The Drawing Alphabet’, and confidently claim it can be used to “draw anything you want it to”. This is a technique they will always introduce to their clients for ease of collaboration, stating that using the same language enables them to communicate efficiently.
“Stick to circles and triangles to make your life easier” Chris said.
Thinking where you should place value in an image is fundamental. How can you ensure a drawing of a duck isn’t misinterpreted as a bird? Dan explained that this can be as easy as contextualising the image – adding a line is enough to suggest presence of water, turning a drawing of a bird into that of a duck.
He also suggested that we “Think like a film director. Use the frame of drawing to cheat a little bit and make a scene.” Alternatively, “you can even break up a square and use it as a comic strip”. Breaking a complex scene down into a progression of imagery can be more successful in its delivery than a single image.
Visualising the invisible can be difficult. Therefore, another technique that the pair introduced is one often used in technical and medical drawings: X-ray vision.
From behind walls to inside bodies, by using ‘x-ray vision’ we are able to communicate what’s happening somewhere we can’t see without creating an overcrowded drawing. Similarly, techniques such as zooming in, thought bubbles, and simple annotations are a good way to show detail without over complicating a drawing.
Location:Shoreditch House Library,
London, E1 6AW,
Start:October 23rd, 2017 at 9:00am
End:October 23rd, 2017 at 11:00am
Cost:Free to members