Kim Diment shows how to trace shapes on a plastic photo sleeve to simplify a subject and stop seeing it as a recognizable object.

By Bob Bahr

Several of the participants in this week’s TexArt event huddled with Michigan artist and longtime SKBer Kim Diment to experiment with a method of drawing she has taught for decades with great success. They met in Schreiner University’s Fishbowl, a conference room with exposed windows in the Student Activities Center.

As any art teacher knows, one of the biggest hurdles a person faces when drawing (or painting) is seeing objects instead of shapes (and colors, and values). Diment introduced people to an approach in which you slip an 8″-x-10″ photo in a plastic sleeve, then outline the major shapes with a Sharpie or erasable marker. The artist then pulls out the photo and puts it back in face down, and then copies the shapes onto the drawing surface. The roadmap for a realistic drawing is now done, and success is more likely.

A TexArt participant experiments with Diment’s drawing method.

“Doing this, you stop seeing a raccoon, or the eyes of a raccoon, and instead see all the little shapes,” Diment says. “You can draw a really complicated animal or scene this way and it turns out surprisingly well.”

In her session, expert artists drew alongside people who had never drawn before. The results were startlingly good. Ω

Diment shows how the shapes remain in the finished drawing, but further refinement has blended the shapes into the form of a lion.