The DLAB Tech-Tree
When you first open the book, one of the first things you’ll encounter is a page full of mysterious circles. These symbols (shown below) represent the curriculum of the DLAB book. This page gives an overview of the levels that we’ll run through as we explore old and new methodologies that help us to make glorious pictures.
This system has been devised from Ash’s working experience, it has evolved organically over a period of about thirteen years. After university the author made it a mission to investigate drawing and develop a way of teaching that could reach those that felt that this was a skill they would never master.
After years of drawing, the process of drawing has been filtered, leaving behind a skill set comprised only of tools that work, time after time. Techniques and philosophies that promote a fun way of working have remained. Traditional ways of practicing drawing that could be tweaked have been changed to suit this method, and those that hamper or inhibit are dropped. We believe this system is an efficient way to get you into gear and on the road to developing the discipline of drawing.
There are many step by step pages throughout the course of the book, from this you can really see the way a particular drawing can develop. Of course, for the beginner, the earliest instructional demonstrations are the most useful. If you can become adept at constructing the skeleton from which everything else hangs, that is to say the details, then you can pretty much draw anything.
The Difficulty of Drawing
Throughout our journey into drawing we will encounter obstacles. This is inevitable in learning any new skill and it is something we need to come to terms with so that we don’t become discouraged so easily. In the book we will find five levels of difficulty and they are used throughout the book to indicate how troublesome we might find a particular lesson. So, let’s now first consider the easy peasy icon…
The easiest possible setting for the challenges featured in the book.While they pose the minimal amount of difficulty, they shouldn’t be avoided as they may impart a lesson which might be so simple that we perhaps have overlooked it.
We can pretty much walk through a silk curtain with our eyes closed, which is handy since for the lesson above we will find, we will be doing just that.
As we progress, things get a little harder with lessons like the one below which continues our quest into reconsidering sight. The simple act of reversing an image makes it far easier to copy. What does this tell us? Well, it’s one of those indicators that should remind us that if we can’t draw well, it isn’t necessarily completely our fault. Vision isn’t perfect and ideas we have about the world can get in the way. So, with a shift in our mindset and a change of perspective, we can come to see the world in a way that makes it easier to draw from it.
Steel door is the point where we cross over into the really tricky territory. We start to feel a challenge from the lessons and instead of our believing that this is the point of departure for the amateur you should really try to persist, level up the gear and commit to making a break through. What is certain is that, in time you will get there.
Arcane door is the point were will be trying to enrich ourselves with a new found level of sensitivity that we may have not experienced before. Take the below lesson for example. It’s a traditional form of study and the thing that makes it hard is that the sphere doesn’t tell lies… it has a definite, perfect roundness that will reveal any inconsistencies of tone you put in, even to the untrained eye. The trick is to apply value in some extremely simple stages. Once again, sophistication is grown from a foundation of simplicity.
The most challenging level that we can reach in this adventure is that of the Dragon door. This sort of test is what we’re working towards mastering. Throughout our artistic journey, we never really find these sorts of problems to be a breeze. Whether it is trying to capture the likeness of a particular person, object, landscape or animal, the subject will always demand effort, sensitivity and focused attention in order to reach the summit of a given creative problem.