Most of my decisions, while applying value on the Spock drawing, is whether to draw with, or against the form.

To draw with the form is to run your charcoal, graphite or brush along the longest axis for the form. Such as drawing lines from the shoulder of an arm down to the finger tips.

To draw against the form is to run your charcoal, graphite or brush along the shortest axis of the form. Basically side to side. I use this a lot when drawing gestures to communicate the volume of an arm or leg. Plus I add a bit of curve to it.

For Spock’s face I’m choosing to draw with, and against the form, depending on what I what to communicate. If I want to show the volume of the upper lip and how it curves from one side of the face up towards the nose then down the other side of the face, I draw against the form.

It’s not very often but I do draw with the form in some places. The left cheek, parts of his nose, the crease under the chin and the tear duct on the left side.

The point here is that the direction of your strokes, no matter the medium, matter. Horizontal brush strokes quickly dashed out to depict a green lawn of grass will make the lawn look flatter and have a side to side motion. Yet, painting many, or every blade of grass vertically will give the lawn solidity and calmness.

Mr Spock, draw with or against the form

Previous Spock Posts

Today’s Gestures

Still working daily on The Natural Way to Draw exercises. I find it really interesting that he has students do so many gestures. Literally I do gestures almost every day now. I guess it goes to show how important gestures are.

Daily Composition

On our daily walk to the small park close to us to do our daily pull-ups I was watching a young kid play basketball. The ball had gotten caught in the net and he had to jump up and hit it to get it out.

daily composition

Modeled Painting in Gouache

Another exercise from Nicolaides’ book that I’m enjoying the more I do them. I’m excited to get some watercolors in the mail soon so I can stick closer to his instructions.

modeled painting in gouache

What went well?

Loving how I can be creative all morning on Saturday without interruptions or having to work first.

What didn’t go so well?

This is a hard question today which is great! I need to spend more time on the modeled painting in gouache. I’m really just flying through it and not paying enough attention to the form.

What did I learn and/or how can I do better?

Drawing with, or against the form is super important when communicating anything in art.


  • Session: 2668
  • Work: 1701
  • Width: 14"
  • Height: 17"
  • Medium: Graphite, Charcoal, Gouache
  • Location: Home
  • Art Time: 4.5
  • Creative Time:


Drawing, Painting

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Chris Beaven

I am an Artist and a programmer currently living in the amazing state of Washington. I have a passion for art, but I'm stubborn as hell with it. My day is complete only when I do some piece of art each day, no matter how small. "There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile."