Reductive Drawing

There is a type of drawing called “reductive.” You start out by covering the entire sheet with charcoal, then use different erasers to take out what doesn’t belong. It creates a different style of picture that’s very effective.

Drawing with an eraser isn’t easy, buy you get used to taking out what you don’t need. You can always put back more charcoal. The important elements are controlling the eraser’s edge to get the right lines. There are some interesting applications to real life. We usually create a lot of background in our life. How wonderful it would be to use an eraser to take out those parts that didn’t work, are too dark, smear our lives. And leave the best image we can create.

Flight (c) Quinn McDonald

–Image: “Flight” by Quinn McDonald

–(c) 2008 All rights reserved. Quinn McDonald.

8 thoughts on “Reductive Drawing

  1. Pingback: Week 2 (Unit 1) – Fine Art – CSVPA LIFE

    • Well, that’s an odd question for a reductive drawing blog. But I’ll tell you. My blog is older than yours. That counts on Google, but it’s not the most important thing. The secret to moving up on Google is knowing Google is a popularity contest with some special tricks. You told your story in narrative order, and didn’t put key words in the first 50. Did you tag your illustration with key words? Did you make your blog suit your audience so you got people to link to it? Once you get people linking to your blog post, you will rise in the Google rankings. How do you do that? Excellent content, targeted to your major audience.

  2. Oh golly, Quinn, my carving group does an annual exchange of prints done by reductive carving. If you are having fun with the drawing, try doing it with carving material and a knife! The hard part is that you can never redo a print, so you start with 100 prints and hopefully end up with about 50 that still look the way you’d hoped they would. It’s fun, challenging, frustrating, and exciting and maddening all at the same time!

    —-You amaze me! The whole idea of carving an image backwards makes my head hurt. I am in such awe that you can not only do this, but do it well and consistently. I can see where it would be frustrating and maddening not being able to “erase,” but since you find it fun and challenging, that makes it a creatively satisfying work for you. And that’s what counts -Q

  3. Lovely drawing, Quinn! The dove has been fixed in our cultural psyche to represent peace, and your creation certainly suggests that to me.

    As to erasing lines, I had an art teacher who told me, “There are no lines in nature.”He was trying to get me to draw as I saw. I never really learned to draw very well, but I began to learn to see — to see with less of a judging attitude. I began to see that there are indeed no lines, but those of our own making. We draw lines of separation, classifying and judging one another, effectively constructing walls of alienation and imprisonment. It’s much more satisfying to view the world in shades of gray (or better yet, in full color) than in only black and white. Peace!

  4. I’d rather keep the less-than-perfect life stuff around; it’s all gone into creating my here-and-now. I once heard somewhere that the ancient Greek visualization of moving through time was that we’re walking backwards, seeing everything that’s gone before but unable to see the future. That’s what I mean.

    —-Wow, now THAT’s a great visual. And I like it a lot. Those clever Greeks. -Q

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