Draw the shape around the object, and you will have drawn the object.
This is what I have been working on in my recent drawings. It is good advice, though often easier said than done. Our natural and almost irresistable tendency is to draw “the apple,” not “the shapes around the apple.”
By focusing on the shapes around the object, you can avoid the “label” for what you want to draw. You are no longer drawing the object using what past experiences have told you is “the truth” about how an object looks. Instead you are making fresh and unique observations.
The graphic for this post features a pastel drawing by Japanese artist Takashi Shuji. He is a self-taught artist whose work strongly emphasizes shape and color. His method of working is very similar to the way that a clay artist sculpts, however Shoji models in two dimensions rather than three.
The flat color on the inside of each object shape makes the eye look to the shapes around the object shape. There is something mysteriously deep and wonderful about his use of black.
To me, his shapes are remarkable in that they represent both “all” and “one.”