When I was in my 20's I decided that tea is where it's at. Screw coffee, tea's the way to go! I can't exactly remember what prompted the fervent conversion, but down the tea hole I went, frolicking gayly for years among the fragrant Oolongs, Yerba Mates and Senchas of the steeping seas. Mind you, my turn toward tea was also a conscious turn away from coffee. I thought I knew enough about coffee and condemned it as inferior to tea. What else was there to know? You scoop some grounds into the coffee maker, push the button and out comes a bitter muck that gets people all jittery and crazy-acting if they don't get it first thing in the morning. I wanted no part of it.
That was until decades later, when the third wave hit. If you're a fellow coffee nerd, my friend, then you know about the third wave. The sweet revolution that liberated us from burnt tasting dreck in cups, straight into velvety, smooth, bright caffeine paradise. (You've seen all those hip, seemingly overpriced coffee bars with chemists beakers, and a minimal aesthetic, right? That's third wave coffee, in case you're still wondering.)
If you're thinking, "Lady, is there a drawing related point to the coffee conversion. 'Cause if not I'm outie?" Stay with me, because here it comes. When I went all in on tea it was because I assumed I knew ALL there was to know about coffee. Grounds + coffee maker = grossness. NO THANK YOU, let me get back to steeping my 2.5 grs of Chinese Green Tea at exactly 170°F. This assumption kept me from realizing that the little brown caffeine bombs had the same potential for nuanced flavor satisfaction as my dear tea leaves. It made me miss out on a ton of goodness.
And we miss out on just as much drawing goodness (or improvement) if we keep our assumptions unchecked when we sit down to sketch. But how can you rein in assumptions? How do you stop them from stalling your drawing growth? How can your skills experience the equivalent of my third wave coffee revolution? I'll tell you how: By using any and all available measuring tools, BECAUSE you need to abstract what you're looking at. By looking at angles, negative spaces and alignments, instead of letting our minds dwell on the THING, which we've attached names and therefore assumptions to, we can rise above the frustration zone and into a new level of observation. We all know about assumptions. They give us long ears, or something, right? Time to get beyond them! Watch this week's video for the final piece of the Better Proportions series (and catch up on the previous 3 if you've missed them) implement the lessons, and your drawings will experience a surge of improvement. Till next week, happy drawing, Carolin