ABSTRACTING

03/06/2020
It can sometimes be difficult to find a strong underlying abstraction to construct your drawing upon. The image of the jungle below is one such case, there are no obvious large divisions of space such as land and sky. In this case it is best to describe the light and shadow areas. The identification of these areas will differ from person to person. So what you are looking for is what’s known as a ‘notan’, an abstract image of just black and white blocks. It’s perfectly acceptable to use artistic licence when designing the underlying abstraction because it needs to be interesting, appealing and balanced.

Identifying the medium blocks is also challenging but there are a few shapes that stand out. These are areas of strong contrast between the lighter value leaves and the darker value shadows.
Looking for shadow shapes is always helpful in drawing especially when it comes to portraits. 

I have chosen the above for the underlying abstraction although clearly light areas will be seen within the two large shadow shapes and vice versa.
There is enough information now to accurately construct the rest of the drawing upon - although accuracy is not at a premium for an image such as this.