What is Rubric Power?

I always got better results from students when I gave them a clear written rubric of what the goal was of the assignment. Last night I discovered why. Life drawing can become the routine like morning yoga where you just do it “because” and don’t focus on barking in downward dog

But having stated that I want to work straight lines against curves forced me to question drawing arms of a bony model. Skill and having habits is perhaps the easiest way to stop thinking when working.
In drawing you can question every line or just draw the same old same old.

Placement in each panel is determined by scale of your figure. Making figures a different size from frame to frame implies some point of time or new gesture or experience.

5 Minute Warmup Drawing


To break up a composition into 3–5 main shapes, create a center of interest through focusing the direction of the brushstrokes and shapes.


  1. 4 panels per page, Define space into 3–5 shapes with pencil, focus on the foreground, middle, back, 30 secs.
  2. Define the center of interest and goal of the picture in my head.
  3. DO a 30 second gesture of the main figure.
  4. Block in main dark areas.
  5. With lines focus on curves versus straights in all of the shapes.


The positive and negative of the drawing is clear. The center moves around in each panel at least. The drawings brush strokes don’t just don’t represent the shapes but move the eye through the picture through direction and repetition.
No defined center of interest
Size of all the shapes are the same

1 Minute Morning Warmup Exercise


To develop the ability to draw figures as cartoons based on representation and the exploration of drawing


  1. Draw a line of action from heel to head as a starting point.
  2. Use the 30-second stick figure to define where the structure is. The limbs are seen as gesture line looking to capture the movement and placement in space.
  3. All shapes work with the relationship of straight to curve.
  4. Experiment with scale for shapes to develop cartooning.
  5. Stay aware of overlaps for placement in space.


Lines are simplified, and consistently work straight and curve against each other for movement.
There’s a clear silhouette.
Proportions are not realistic and always pushed towards character development.
The figure works in space.

Proportions are natural.
Lines are focused on form and not the movement.
The Figure doesn’t work in a 3-d space.

Rubric Myself

In teaching, a rubrics, a spreadsheet of grade standards, to help students understand what the goals and standards of learning for their projects.
Artists just do what they like.

In a life drawing marathon I did a couple of pages of brush drawings that sparked the desire to make the process something I could work on not just have it happen by accident.
My old fart drawing often feels like I’m redoing old drawings so determining what I am trying to do with drawing is important.
The point of blogging is to better understand my own work.
So I set up drawing exercises a few weeks for a morning warm-up and have been using them to focus.
What these exercises didn’t have a clear rubric about what I was doing, it was just repeat and improvise based on feel.

Look Ma I can draw!

The first effort was to create a basic pattern to follow for doing stick figures.
In doing them it’s good to keep the lines simplified to arcs and straight lines so you look at the big shapes in 30 seconds.
When you slow down with 2 min drawings, look more closely at the shapes even when simplifying takes longer to focus and condense the lines in your head.

In the beginning 30 seconds of Gesture

I played where to start the drawing because in 30 seconds you need a system to accomplish anything.
I settled on a line to define the shoulders, then torso, two lines for the legs and arms each and then a neckline that becomes a loop for the head.
There becomes a debate do you use the first line to define the bone and structure or all the fat and muscle surrounding it.
One line is a starting point, by using the joints as points in the line with the length of the line you have a way to place the figure in space.

Two minutes then seems like a long time compared to 30 seconds but when you start trying to condense form into one line your brain has to slow down.
Every bump becomes obsessive and ends up looking fixed in space, lazy cheap Matisse lines end up in looking like crappy graphic design drawing.
Any figure on any logo of a healthcare company of any type.
In the end, while I can do a satisfying brush drawing in two minutes I found a line drawing can’t be as rich in the same amount of time