Here’s the preliminary line drawing for a Dinotopia painting called “Flight Past the Falls.” I did it on a separate piece of paper, photocopied it, and transferred it to the canvas with an Artograph projector.
The rider on the pterosaur was drawn on a separate layer of paper and moved around until I got the position I wanted.
What I want you to notice is the “draw through,” which means the lines carried across to invisible parts of the form. For example:
1. Circular curve of the bottom half of the globe.
2. Chest of pterosaur hidden by wing.
3. Eye level or horizon hidden behind falls.
4. Curvature of Moorish arch hidden by the flanking buttresses.
Note also the centerline markings on the globe, and the winged sculpture. Also note the perspective grid on the side of the drawing.
Draw-through helps you keep track of what the form is doing when it slips behind something else. If you work out the draw-through on a separate piece of paper from the finished work you don’t have to worry about erasing the lines or covering them up.
You can apply the draw-through principle to figure drawing or any drawing, especially in the early stages. It will make your final drawing or painting more solid and convincing. When an architect draws a building elevation, she knows where the windows and doors are located on the back side of the building.
Earlier GJ post about the skybax model and the finished image.