The book starts with a simple copying exercise. You're supposed to draw this rabbit:
. . . and then set it aside for later use. I'm assuming he wants me to come back to my rabbit later and say "man, I didn't know anything back then. What a sorry excuse for a rabbit! I'm soooooo much better now." But for now, I think my bunny is pretty sweet. So take that, future badass-drawer Suzie.
I've heard it said that, during his "interview" for the Sistine Chapel commission, Michelangelo simply painted a perfect circle and the Pope hired him immediately. Tilton also emphasizes the importance of practicing the foundational shapes of drawing - circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and "peanuts." So I spent the week drawing circles. I can't tell you how exciting this was.
"When you're drawing a ball or sphere, even though you're drawing on flat paper, imagine your lines going behind and around the form. You should get the feeling the line is lighter as it goes away from you, lighter on the top or area in the light, and heaviest on the bottom. Keep at it. Before long you will know when it 'feels right.'" That's straight from the book. Not only did the page above take me a couple HOURS to sketch, but I wasn't able to imagine my "lines going behind and around the form." What does that mean?? And it still doesn't "feel right." If it really is a matter of practice, I'll get it. Maybe not Michelangelo-get-it, but definitely non-wonky-animal-head get it.
As I drew myself a little 4-quadrant cheat-graph to begin this sphere I thought, "why not just trace a paper cup?" I didn't, of course, but seriously, what's the point of a freehand circle, besides to show off? Drawing the circle itself was the hardest part. The shading was too much fun, creating chaotic darkness around my imperfect light. If I were to change anything I'd probably make the light a little rounder. I guess I got lazy. And tired of circles. Sheesh.
Wow, this felt like a book report. Sorry for the boring post . . .