Saturday, February 16, 2013

Anamorphic Vessel Drawing

So during class, I told my 7th grade students:

"I was working on this drawing of a floating vessel, and I worked so hard on making it so realistic that when I finished the drawing, it actually floated off the page!"

They were immediately skeptic, but deeply curious, as I've been known to say crazy things like that, which turn out somehow to be true (sometimes my job as an art teacher is to spark a kid's imagination and sense of enthusiasm about the world, perhaps at the expense of a little healthy dose of exaggeration!)

"What, you don't believe me?" I said, "take a look at this..."

Floating Vessel drawing

"?!... how did you do that?"

I made this "Torisian Vessel" with compass and straightedge, using a technique called "anamorphosis". In this case, it involves a common two dimensional drawing that has been "stretched" along the surface of the paper. As a result of foreshortening and perspective, when seen from a certain angle the drawing is reconstituted and appears to be three dimensional.

This is what the drawing actually looks like when viewed "straight":

Anamorphic Vessel drawing

As I usually do with projects of a more technical nature, I began by doing process sketches and studies. I first had to teach myself how to distort an image for the right effect, so after getting some more Da Vinci, Durer and Holbein into my brain, I started simple by attempting an anamorphic sphere.

Anamorphic sphere       Anamorphic sphere view

Even though it was not perfect, the anamorphic sphere sketch was good enough to at least encourage me to go a bit further. I begun doing process for the vessel idea, which in turn was informed and inspired by older notes from 2011.
2011 Vessel Sketches 1
2011 Vessel Sketches 3

2011 Vessel Sketches 4
2011 Vessel Sketches 2 Anamorphic Vessel sketches

The key challenge became to understand and translate the details of an image from a simple square grid into a distorted, stretched grid.
I arrived at a final draft, which just needed some corrections, but for the most part seemed to have worked.

Anamorphic Vessel draft     Anamorphic Vessel draft view

Then it wasn't for another couple of months or so that I finally drew the final piece, which I finished by adding some walnut ink and watercolor.

Floating vessel closeup

To check out a cool little 2 minute music clip about this drawing, click here.

Hope you enjoyed!
See you next time.


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