Among the first drawing assignments I learned in the early days of my college education at York College in Queens NY in February and March of 1976, was to create volume using line weight. My first attempt at drawing the extension cord had an even pencil stroke on each of the turns of the coils. This is my second attempt and looking closely you can see that as the object comes forward to the picture plane the line becomes thinner and lighter while thickening and darkening as it recedes. This use of the line supports the 3-dimensionality of each of the objects in a rather subtle fashion.
These 3 drawings were done on cheap sketching paper using an ordinary pencil with an under-sharpened point. The composition of each piece took into consideration the entire page, which is here shown without cropping.
Doing drawings such as these simple objects sharpens the eye for composition and detail. Changing the line weight in one movement of the pencil helps to develop control of your hand and wrist. Selecting simple standard objects removes the complexity of movement, lighting changes, composition of multiple objects and for me allows a somewhat meditative appreciation of the object.
Looking back on these drawings of pieces of hardware are strangely nostalgic.The doorknob was one of the original knobs in the house I owned in Queens Village at the time of this lesson. The handles were made of clear faceted glass and the bases were brass. They felt good in the hand when you turned them and opened a door.
The vise belonged to my Father who, since he had no need, was not at all handy. I played with it as a child in our basement in Brooklyn, putting small objects in the clamps and tightening the handle gently. I loved the sound of the metal handle as I clanked it from end to end. This green vise has traveled quite a bit in this lifetime and now lives mounted on a workbench in my garage where it is finally being put to real utilitarian use. And now that it is, I no longer notice the sweet sound of the handle and the smoothness of the moving clamps.