14 October 1999

YouCanDraw.com's Insiders Communique


Well a "big howdy" to all the YouCanDraw.com subscribers! It's good to be
back in action. It's been a long time coming, so I'll dive right in.

In this issue:

1)"Feature by feature" series: ears.

2) Getting into and staying in the artist's mode

3) Buddy system: update

4) Chat room?


1) "Feature by Feature". To keep you on your toes and in response to
people's request for assignments, I'm introducing this little section. I'll
run it as long as I can come up with ideas and you seem to be benefiting.
It's also an opportunity for you to quick access the YCD drawing book and
see the growing reference you have at your fingertips.
I'll keep this brief as possible.

Ears. I think ears are the easiest feature to draw. Why? Because there's
less pressure to draw super accurate ears in order to get a likeness of
somebody. I mean how often do you look close at someone's ears? You notice
big ears, or floppy dumbo ears, but if they're not remarkable, if they don't
stick straight out, you don't pay them much attention. If you had
big ears growing up, you know what a bane that was (I sure do!).

BTW, plastic surgeons have now developed a
simple procedure to flatten ears that stick way out: they tighten up (by
removing) part or all of the anti-helix. What's the anti-helix? It's the
section just in front of the helix. (Some help I am!) The helix is
essentially the outer rim of the ear. If you examine your own ear right now
with your hand it's the outer rim, it's most prevalent towards the back of
the ear. It's the outside contour of the ear.
The anti-helix is the bowl-shaped area in front of the helix. (If you stick
your finger in your ear right now the majority of that "bowl" is anti helix.

Everybody had "dumbo" ears - at some point or another. Seriously!
As a fetus develops, the ear unrolls like a
blooming flower. It's all helix and it sticks straight out! Then the ear
starts to fold in on itself - thus forming the anti-helix. Those folds use
up the extra slack and force the ear to lay back against the head the same
way pleats in slacks keep the slacks from being overly "bloomed". Normally
this happens before birth. Sometimes it doesn't. If not: you get big ears.

As usual you can get into all sorts of detail, but for the quick sketch, I
think knowing three parts or basic shapes of ear anatomy will pull you
through! Those three parts are:

1) the Helix (including the lobe)
2) the Anti-helix
3) and the "shadow in the middle"

Your mission: Review the ear anatomy in the ears section. Draw them. Review
the ear assignment. (Link below), and then you can do two more things if you
like: 1) send me a drawing of your ears, or a drawing of a drawing of ears,
or a drawing of those of a live subject.

2) Or go to the new section on cartoon ears and do the assignment there.
(click on the "cartoon ears" link at the bottom of the Ears Master Link Page.)


Concentrate on drawing the ears and their parts first. Then,
you can move into memorizing the anatomy. Then, just for fun try drawing
them on a stick figure face. I did some real quick stick figure's - but with a
ccurate ears. The result is pretty entertainuing. Send either to me and I'll
happily post it on the site as part of the permanent collection.

You can mail to:

Jeff Kasbohm
c/o Kasbohm & Company
4702-c West 130th Street
Hawthorne, CA 90250

(If you want your drawing returned, please send self-addressed stamped


2) Staying in R-mode: the artistic mode of the brain.

The whole key in drawing is to access that side of your brain that's built for
drawing. My favorite exercise is the Pure-contour drawing exercise. What is
it? It's the exercise where you find a subject with fairly complicated lines
(like the lines in the palm of your hand or any of the new samples in the
pure-contour section.) Then, with your eyes firmly glued to your subject,
NOT to your drawing paper, you draw every tiny little section - millimeter by
millimeter. Your eyes move just "this much", literally a centimeter or less,
and simultaneously, with your eyes still glued to your
subject, your pencil records the observation. You NEVER look at your drawing.
You do this 10, maybe 15 minutes and you're firmly into the artistic mode.
Go 20 minutes if you don't feel like it's working. 5 minutes of this usually
get me rigged right in. Use a timer - if you don't you might find 45 minutes
have gone by and you've missed your favorite TV show.

If you're unfamiliar with pure contour, the entire section has been
refurbished - complete with an exemplary animation:


and for the master link page on pure contour:


Here's a great photo that lends itself wonderfully for pure-contour practice:


(If not all of the link is "blue underlined" copy and paste into you browser.)

Again, I'd be tickled if you were to send me any of your pure contour
drawings for loading on the web so other people will have the benefit of
seeing they're not alone! And it gives them something to look at and
say: "Oh, that's how you do it. That's pretty neat".

I'll throw this out too: if you send me one an ear drawing (cartooned,
realistic, or pure-contour drawing, or any kind of drawing for that matter)
for permanent use on the web site/book, I'll...

1) credit it to you (use your name and city "contributed by...from...) and

2) I'll review your drawing (or one you want reviewed)

and I'll send you a detailed evaluation of your work (by email - so send
your email address too) and we'll look at your strengths and look for
areas you might want to concentrate on. We'll be helping each other.


Lastly, 3 and 4,

On the "buddy system" idea: not much response. However, I'm going to
offer some guidelines in an upcoming issue that might make you think
there's some merit in it. I know if I didn't have to answer to all of
you, I would still be kicking around all sorts of other "great ideas"!
(that is, I'd never get around to bringing any of them to fruition. I
need a gun to my head to get stuff done. Deadlines and crises keep
me moving. Anyone else like that?) :-)

4) On a chat room:

Any interest in a chat room? I'm just throwing it out. It'd be un-monitored
unless a generous member would like to volunteer time. Possibly another
artist would offer free advice during scheduled times. Just an idea. Let me
know. If there's enough interest, we'll pursue it.


Well I got a little long winded there. Next week the next caricature will be
coming and by the end of each month I'm hoping to have an in-depth evaluation
of a caricature posted. (Keith Richards being the first - almost done).

Until then, keep on drawing!


Jeff k.

Jeff Kasbohm