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Micro/Macro Worlds

Lesson 8 from: Abstract Drawing: Getting Started with 7 Abstract Art Ideas

Amy Wynne

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Lesson Info

8. Micro/Macro Worlds

Sometimes all your art needs is a new perspective. Utilize zooming and magnifying, creating multiple views, and working with an extreme scale change. This lesson is exploding with possibilities!

Lesson Info

Micro/Macro Worlds

So I love walking on the beach. I find I gain so much inspiration from just beach combing and finding things. It almost feels like it's meant to be when I stumble upon something that I'm like, oh, I really wanna draw that. And I just put it in my pocket, or carry off the beach to work within the studio. So I was walking along the beach recently and I found this incredible seed case. And it just has like, the backside has this vein down it, and has a little shaky sound to it, like a rattle. And it just, I don't know, it just felt like it would be a really cool thing to draw. So brought it here to the studio, and was looking at it, doing some preliminary sketches. And I thought, you know what I really love is the possibility of zooming way in on it, and getting kind of a macro view of something tiny. And I thought, well, that would be a really great way to enlarge it, to enlarge something and work with abstraction. So I did a little photo shoot with it, and I ended up getting all of thes...

e really close up photographs, cropped them into squares. And in doing so, I was able to like really appreciate some of the details. This is like huge compared to that so I want to speak to the possibility of a couple things. One is finding things out in nature, and maybe the idea of like how could I make a larger image based on this thing that I've found, and using photography to find the juicy bits, like using photography to really zoom in and find little moments that you think would be interesting as a drawing. So what I've done is I've created these six different square images based on different views of my beautiful beach find. And what I'm gonna do right now is I'm going to take each one of these and I'm going to put it up behind me here on this grid. And I'm going to do ink drawings of each one. And we're going to see that as I do them, they're gonna start to speak to each other, and they're gonna maybe start to want to be rearranged in certain ways. And I think you'll find that it creates a rhythm and it's just a really amazing way to work larger, maybe even work on the wall or at an easel, and really dive into something small and make it bigger and through that, abstract it. All right, so I'm just gonna pick up this first one. And I'm just gonna clip it here, just so I can see it. And I'm gonna start in this upper-right-hand square. I've got some brown ink, which I think looks really nice as a possible way to render that. And I've got a small brush. And so I'm gonna just sort of take a look at this and then very fluidly use ink on this square to show the basic shapes. And then, we'll sub it for another one and another one and we'll do a few of these and see how they start to work with each other. All right, so I'm gonna get a fair amount of ink on my brush. One thing that I really love about working with ink and actually working vertically is that you get the possibility for some dripping to happen. And some people might see a drip and say, "Oh man, it dripped. It's ruined now." But actually, I think the drip is so beautiful. The drip has to do with gravity. It has to do with taking something and making it feel like it has a little bit of movement, has a little bit almost more of an organic quality to it because it's dripping and it's just sort of like creating and destroying at the same time. So there's the first one. And I'm gonna now take another one, and basically replace this with it. And I'm gonna move down to the next square, and just keep this process going. This one starts from a slightly different place. There's a little bit of a tighter kind of configuration of this incredible egg case. And it sort of, oh, there's is great big shape coming down to the side through here. And it starts to curve around. So the curves and the gesture of this organic shape, that's just not something that you could ever really make yourself. Like, it's something that Mother Nature is gonna present in all its glory. And that's why I really love sort of the happenstance of finding things out in nature and using them. So already, you can see how there's sort of a dance going on between this and this, and how ink can be a really dramatic possibility. All right, let's try another one. So I'm just working quickly, working fluidly, not worrying too much about rendering, but just trying to get sort of some of the basic shapes going, how they sort of slip out from each other. This one has this like amazing sort of S-curve to it, which I really love. And then these little slats just sort of overlap each other, kind of blossom out from each other. This comes like this. There's a big shape here. I'm splashing, ink everywhere. And that's totally fine. That one. Let's do a couple more. All right. I really like this one 'cause it's sort of spiky at the top, and it's got quite a different position and a different sort of shape than the other. So it almost looks like ears sticking up. Yeah, that's nice. So when you're out on a walk, if you're walking your dog, or if you're on the beach, or even if you're in an urban area, you might sort of start a little collection, like a little collection of things that you might find on the street. A dried flower, an acorn, anything that might give you a little bit of a sense of inspiration for making drawings. Let's do two more quick ones here. So this one, again, a different of shape kind of occupying more of the middle. Some downward slants here. And working quickly is a strategy. Working quickly is a way to make sure that you're actually not going to futz. You're not gonna get super precious about things. I think working quickly is actually kind of a gift. And so I recommend the possibility of just working quickly and fluidly with an activity like this. So this last one here, just going to maybe tack it up on the side a little bit, even if it ends up covering these just for now, just so you can kind of see what I'm working with. I love the arc of this one quite a bit. So let's start here on the bottom, and then coming in here, here. And I find I really like putting my brush back in again and again because I want it to have enough ink on it. I want it to have the possibility of dripping. Apparently, I'm really enjoying the dripping on this one quite a bit. And yeah, that's great. So when we take a look at this series, which it is, it's a series of six, you could have a series of four. You could have a series of six, you could have a series of nine, you could take a series and you could step back and look at it and say, I kind of like the movement, but what would happen if I turned this and had it associate with what's below it in a different way? So you can turn things. Now, the drips are going horizontally, which is kind of fun. You can turn things and adapt things and make them sort of relate to each other. You could, I'm thinking might be interesting to flip this one too and see what happens as it starts to speak to the one above it. So let's give that a try. So this is also the benefit of actually like working with a square. So look what happens if I do this. Ooh, that is nice. So you got this kind of curvature. And this one starts to move into there. So there's a lot of movement. You can take six drawings of one thing, and you can turn them in so many different ways to make new worlds, to make new configurations. And this possibility of zooming in to something so intimate and small and making really detailed photographs and taking those photographs and drawing them with ink or charcoal, but I kind of like the ink, up on a vertical surface gives you the possibility for endless variations. Endless variations and working vertically, you get the possibility for the beauty of gravity working on the ink and making these kind of glorious drips. So a drip is not an accident. There are no, it's really a happy accident. So let it happen. Don't get uptight about it. Try working with something you've found. Try working with something organic, try working vertically with a saucy brush and see what kinds of sort of beautiful effects happen when you zoom way in and work up something larger. I think you'll really enjoy the process.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Joan Mitchell Quote
Abstract Drawing Materials
Abstract Drawing Surfaces

Ratings and Reviews


I recently became interested in abstract drawing and painting. This is a great course for beginners. I filled my art journal with several new creative and thought provoking techniques. The “drawing to music” with eyes closed was just the first of several cool ideas. The course will jumpstart your own creativity! Thank you for your experience and knowledge, Amy.

Rachel Franklin

Yes- relaxes your creative efforts! Love her

Student Work