I lived too far away to spend much lap-time with Dougie, so I wrote him these letters.
Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artists that ever lived. Here is a drawing he made with simple lines, a lot like Ben Shahn.
Face and Dove
Picasso drew this picture of a lady’s face and a dove. A dove is a white pigeon. It is often used as a symbol of peace. Why do you think Picasso drew a beautiful face next to the dove? Does that say something about what peace is like?
Pablo Picasso and Ben Shahn knew each other and they shared ideas. Remember Ben Shahn’s drawing of the sad boy with the big ice cream cone?
The boy does not have hair or a top to his head. Look at Picasso’s picture. The top of the head is left out, just like it is in Ben Shahn’s picture.
Both Ben Shahn and Picasso drew in ink. In this drawing of the Face and Dove Picasso used simple lines without going back over them, without erasing, or trying again. That’s hard. Try it. Get a felt tip pen and draw something without going back to fix anything.
Does yours look funny? Try it again. And again. Do many. You will be surprised when your pictures start looking right.
We drew an eye like Ben Shahn. Let’s draw an eye like Pablo Picasso. Let’s draw the lady’s left eye, that’s the one on the right side of the picture. Start with the line that is the upper eyelid. It’s a bit like a squashed walnut-shell. Make the center the highest part.
Now add the line that is the bottom of the eye lid. Make it closer on the left side.
Now add a little hook that shows where the tear duct is.
Now add the iris. That’s the colored part of the eye. Try to make it as round as your can, but make it flat on top. That makes it look like the eye lid is covering part of the eye. Look at someone’s eye. You never see the whole circle of the eye-ball or the iris.
Now add the small inner circle. That’s where the lens is. In Picasso’s picture it is not a whole circle, but looks like a hook.
To finish add an eyebrow. Use the eyeball as a measure. Make the eyebrow as high over the eye lid as the eye-ball is round.
Did you find it hard to do? Now you know how good Picasso was at drawing. Try it again. And again. Try it in pencil so you can erase and fix things. Then try it in ink, like Ben Shahn and Pablo Picasso.