PICTURE PLANE The actual flat surface, or opaque plane, on which a drawing is produced. It also refers to the imaginary, transparent “window on nature” that represents the format of a drawing superimposed over real-world subject matter.
The act of drawing links the two meanings of picture plane. When drawing, you look through the imaginary picture plane to gather information about the space and form of your subject, and you transfer this information back to the actual picture plane of your drawing surface. As a result of this process, your drawing paper is virtually equivalent to the window on nature that you have imagined.
Looking through this artificial plane can be compared to sizing up a subject through the view finder of a camera. You are framing, or selecting, that portion of the subject that you wish to draw from the visual field before you.
These drawings are of the same still life. They use the picture plane differently.
RELATIVE POSITION: A means by which to represent and judge the spatial position of an object in a three-dimensional illusion. Generally, the higher something has been depicted on a surface, the farther away it will appear. Usually, objects depicted higher on the page are also somewhat smaller to further illustrate their distance.
The figures that are higher in this painting are intended to appear farther away. Notice that the illusion is slightly spoiled because they are the same size as the figures in the foreground ( bottom of the painting).
The cakes at the bottom of this painting appear closer to us, while the ones at the top appear to sit slightly farther away. This effect is also helped by the overlapping of the cakes.
DIAGONALS TO CREATE DEPTH: The diagonal is a simple but effective means for creating depth in a picture. Part of the effect is that similar objects receding diagonally into space appear to diminish in size. A diagonal mark is dramatic and suggestive of action. It is antagonistic to the stability of our bodily orientation and the orientation of your drawing surface (horizontal and vertical). It creates tension as it transports us with great immediacy into an illusion of space.
The diagonal in this painting is subtle, but it helps to define the space of the theater.
Notice the slight diagonal created by the heads of the figures in the back- they help create space and lead our eye to the important figure in the center of the composition.
The diagonals in this image create a space where the road appears to move deep into space.
OVERLAPPING: An effective way to represent and organize space in a pictorial work of art. Overlapping occurs when one object obscures from view part of a second object.
Atmospheric Perspective: A means for a chieving the illusion of three-dimensional space in a pictorial work of art. Sometimes called aerial perspective, it is based on the fact that as objects recede into the distance their clarity of definition and surface contrast diminish appreciably.
In Humboldt County you can see atmospheric perspective in nature all the time!
An effective way to begin and get all objects quickly placed on the page in a drawing is to begin to mark the page where each object is located.
In this instance this technique slowly begins to define objects in the drawing. The mark making shows action and expression!