top of page

Composition Method:  Undirected Drawing

Good composition is the bedrock of visual art.  Put great values and great color on a poor composition and you’re just chrome plating an apple crate - think of a movie with great effects and a story you don’t care about.  

I developed a method of creating graphite compositions after several years of wrestling with abstract art.  I call it Undirected Drawing because it starts without any preconceived ideas and ends with an original composition in a style that is not derivative and genuinely reflects the individual artist.  It treats the drawing like a blackboard where the work depends equally on adding and subtracting.  For this reason, the result is a working drawing that may show traces of erasing.

Undirected Drawing works on a principle called Pareidolia, or the tendency to see patterns in chaos.  Seeing faces in clouds is an easy example.  The initial step then is to create the chaos on paper.  This is done any number of ways, the easiest being to fill the drawing paper with light scribbles.  This will create both intersecting lines and enclosed spaces.  Fill in the cells randomly until most of the sheet has graphite on it.  By turning the paper often, these random shapes will suggest things as clouds suggest faces.  Eventually the artist settles on one interpretation, and further develops it to look like what it suggests without becoming too literal.  The completed graphite composition can serve as a stand alone working drawing, or it can be used as the basis for a painting.

bottom of page