Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Free Laws Workshops Online

5/14/20 Workshop notes

John Muir Laws’ books on drawing have long been among my favorites. Although the northern California artist’s focus is on nature (he is especially well-known for his books on drawing birds), his rendering instructions are applicable to all forms. On my bucket list is to someday attend one of his nature journaling workshops in the Bay Area, which he offers regularly (in pre-pandemic times, at least).

5/14/20 1-minute sketches (from photos)
As many instructors have, Laws has moved his workshops online. I’ve been attending his free live Zoom workshops on drawing birds (donations encouraged). Although his basic principles are the same as in his books, he has changed his approach slightly in the way he initially blocks out a bird’s gesture. We work from still photos in the workshops, but he gives us only a minute or so to make each sketch, so it isn’t too much more leisurely than it might be when sketching a live bird.

5/14/20 1-min. sketch (from photo)
Since I have more experience drawing human models than avian ones, it struck me that birds are not much different from people in fundamental ways. For example, the feet in a drawing must be firmly planted under the body’s center of gravity to look realistic. In a life-drawing class, I learned that if you draw a straight line down from a standing model’s head, the line should pass through the weight-bearing foot, or the model will look off-balance. The same is true for birds. Just draw a line straight down from the head, and that’s where the feet go.

It’s seemingly simple but hugely important tips like this that make Laws’ books (and workshops) invaluable.

Check out his events calendar and get on his mailing list to find out about upcoming workshops.  

5/21/20 Workshop notes

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting workshop. You nailed the shapes and postures.


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