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Drawing in 3-D with the Twelve Renaissance Words
What does 3-D mean? I've asked zillions of kids this question at school assemblies all over the world. My audiences have responded with some very creative answers: "Three-D means wearing funny-looking glasses to watch a movie." "Three-D means using different colors in your drawing." "Three-D means making your drawing look real." and my favorite: "Three-D means making your drawing pop out of the paper so it looks like it's about to bite you on the nose!" Since you are such a scientific-minded art student, I'll share with you the actual definition of 3-D. Once you understand what this means, you will be able to learn how to create this effect in your drawings.
"Three-D" is an abbreviation for "three-dimensional." Three-dimensional means having height, width, and depth. Most people draw in two dimensions. They use height and width, but they do not understand how to create the illusion of depth on their paper. If I asked your parents to draw me a tree, they probably would draw something like this:
This tree has height from top to bottom, and it has width from side to side. This tree is 2-D, or two-dimensional, because it doesn't have any depth. Without depth, drawings look flat. With depth, drawings look as if you can reach right into the picture and touch the object.
This tree is drawn in 3-D. It has height from top to bottom. It has width from side to side. It also has depth: It looks as if you can walk deep into the picture and sit down among the roots of the tree. You don't need funny-looking glasses or different color combinations to draw in 3-D. You just need to learn a few words.
This is your face before you learn how to draw in 3-D. Your face after you learn how to draw in 3-D with the Twelve Renaissance Words!
Learning how to draw in 3-D is super-easy!
Learning how to draw in 3-D is as simple as learning twelve simple words. These twelve words have been used by great artists for over five centuries. Once you learn these words, you will be able to draw anything from your imagination, or anything you see in the world around you, in perfect 3-D!
On the opposite page I've listed the Twelve Renaissance Words for you. These words have been used by artists for more than five hundred years to create the illusion of depth in their artwork. Remember, when you create depth in your picture, you are adding the third dimension. You are drawing in 3-D!
The Twelve Renaissance Words of Drawing in 3-D!
Over the next two hundred pages you will become very familiar with these words. Each of the words below will help you conquer that flat piece of paper to create the optical illusion of depth, or 3-D! Each of the words will help you make one object look closer to your eye than another object in your drawing.
Our goal is to make your drawings look as if you could reach right into them and pick up the objects. Or as kids at my school assemblies say, "Let's make the drawings look as if they are popping out ready to bite my nose!"
Some folks have told me that copying artwork is wrong or bad. I don't agree at all. I believe copying artwork is great, fantastic, and wonderful! The best way to learn how to draw in 3-D is by copying other 3-D art! When you are copying, you are learning techniques that will help you create your own 3-D drawings. The more you copy, the more you will learn. The more you learn, the more you will draw. The more you draw, the less you will have to copy! Got it? Don't worry if at first all your drawings look just like mine. As you work your way through the lessons, your 3-D drawing confidence will really blast off. You will begin adding all sorts of nifty cool things to your drawings that I haven't even thought of. When this starts to happen, it means that you're beginning to develop your own style. When you develop your own artistic style, you become a true power art animal!
1. Foreshortening: Squishing a shape to make one part of it look as if it's closer to your eye than the other.
2. Placement: Place objects that you want to appear closer to your eye lower on the surface of your drawing. Place objects that you want to appear farther away higher on the surface of your drawing.
3. Size: Draw objects tat you want to appear closer to your eye larger than objects that you want to appear farther away from your eye. Large objects look closer.
4. Overlapping: When you draw an object in front of another object, it will look closer to your eye. If you want to make an object look really far away from your eye, tuck it behind another object in your drawing. This is called overlapping.
5. Shading: By adding darkness to the edge of an object on the side that faces away from your light source, you will push that edge away from your eye.
If I had to choose one of these twelve words that I thought was the most important, I would choose shading. Shading is a POWER word for Ninja POWER Artists. With shading you can make any drawing, even a flat 2-D picture, look super-three-dimensional!
6. Shadow: When you draw darkness on the ground next to the shaded side of an object, you will create the illusion that the object is really sitting on the ground. There are several types of shadows we will be learning in the upcoming lessons.
7. Contour: When you draw lines curving around the surface, or contour, of an object, you give that object volume. You make that object appear to be popping out of the paper.
8. Horizon: By drawing a line behind your object, you create a reference line for the ground in your picture. Everything you draw below that line will appear to be sitting on the ground. Everything you draw above that line will appear to be floating or flying in space.
9. Density: When you draw things very light and less distinct than darker objects in your picture, they will appear to be farther away. Darker objects with more detail look closer than lighter, hazy objects. Think of looking out a window in a tall building. The buildings and trees across the street look clear, and you can see lots of detail. The buildings and trees farther away look a little hazy, with less recognizable detail. This is because of the atmosphere between yourself and the object. Or if you're in a big city, it's caused by pollution. Yucko!
10. Bonus: Ah! My favorite word of all! While you are drawing, always think, "What bonus ideas can I add to my drawing to make it look more brilliant, more cool, more absulutely totally amazing?" When you add bonus ideas, you are adding your own unique style to your picture! Some of my favorite examples of adding bonuses to drawings are the Find Waldo books by Martin Handford. He adds so many bonuses to his drawing that you can barely find his pal Waldo!
11. Practice: These Renaissance Words aren't worth a hill of jelly beans without daily practice. Some brilliant thinker once said practice makes perfect. Well, I say, "Practice makes drawings look totally 3-D" Cool! I'm very profound at times.
12. Attitude: A super-positive mental attitude is very important when you are trying to learn a new skill. Whether it's learning how to ride a bike, play the violin, or draw in 3-D, you've got to believe in yourself. You've got to believe you can and will learn to do it. Not only just learn it, but master it to the point of being a world-famous expert.
For example, let's say that you are just learning how to ride a bike. You get on the seat, hold the steering wheel straight, put on foot on the outer pedal, and push off the ground with your other foot. As the bike beings to move, you begin thinking to yourself, "What am I doing? I can't ride a bike! This is totally crazy! I'm going to crash! I'm going to fall over the bounce on the street like a rubber ball! Help! Help!"
How far do you think you will get with this kind of negative thinking? Not far at all, I guarantee.
This quiet thinking inside your head is called self-talk. Everyone self-talks with themselves twenty-four hours of every day. This self-talk is amazingly fast, several hundred words a minute, much faster than you can speak out loud. Having a super-positive mental attitude means training yourself to self-talk in a "Yes I can do it," positive way.
Now let's try that learning-how-to-ride-a-bike scenario with a super-positive mental attitude. You get on the seat, hold the steering wheel straight, put one foot on the outer pedal, and push off the ground with your other foot. As the bike begins to move, you begin thinking to yourself, "Hey, this is easier than I thought! I can do this. This is really cool. I'm a bike-riding machine. I'm a pedaling animal! I'm going to go to the Olympics!"
How far do you think you'll go? Do you think you will learn how to ride a bike faster? I do.
Copyright © 1994 by Mark Kistler