Shapes with complex curves can be very hard to draw correctly. As you can see below, I changed my mind about the curve of this bottle many times. Each time I was certain that I was right. I’d come back the next day and look at the bottle, compare it with my drawing, and see that the mistakes were glaring. In the thick of observing and drawing, it is easy to be convinced that you are seeing correctly. I think it is essential to take a step back now and then and quickly glance from set-up to drawing and try to see the object you are drawing as an abstract shape–in this case, not a particular bottle, but a curved shape. I also try to observe the negative spaces between objects as abstract shapes. It’s this odd shift of awareness, like looking at an Escher print of stairs and making the shift of perspective to see it inside-out. You be amazed how errors reveal themselves when you look in this way.

I don’t bother trying to draw both sides of symmetrical objects by eye. I get one side correct, then I place a piece of tracing paper over it and trace it, being careful to include the center line (which I always mark on my drawing), and a horizontal line crossing it that corresponds to some horizontal measuring line on the drawing. I then flip over the tracing paper, aligning the center line and the horizontal mark. Now, using my original line as carbon paper, I trace over the line to transfer a perfectly symmetrical other half. It’s easy and always works.

I’ve made a lot of progress on the drawing of the basket. It’s like putting together a puzzle. The more pieces that are in place, the easier it is to place more. I’ve had to go back and correct earlier work, using my method described above. You can see above that I’ve numbered right on the drawing, adjacent pieces of bamboo on the handle. This is to make it easier to go back-and-forth between drawing and set-up and know where I was looking. I’ll say to myself “strip #3 should be a bit wider,” or “strip #6 should have more of a tilt.” If I don’t do this, I get hopelessly lost in the complexity. Anything I can do to make the drawing easier, is a good thing.

Above, I’ve made my first attempt at the necklace. It’s hard to get everything in the correct perspective. I drew the Chanel logo charm using a circle template. I’ll take another look at it tomorrow to see if I can catch any errors. I won’t bother to draw more than the basic outlines of the complex chain on the necklace. It’s too tiny and complicated. I’ll save that for when I’m painting.