Friday, February 3, 2017

A little focus goes a long ways

I know I have talked about how to do this technique in previous years blogs.  I call it the John Lebeouf technique since that is the art teacher who taught it to me.  It is still one of my favorites to teach because it gives students that are not always successful at drawing an opportunity to find some confidence and shine.  So even though we were behind schedule I made sure we made time to get this in.  And actually it worked perfect to do it right after Christmas when they were still struggling to come back from break.  All they had to do was concentrate about a few dots and then connect them.

Damaris W.

Andrew C.

Cassie H.


  1. I think its awesome that this can be done with two different colors, black and white charcoal pencils. They look realistic and you can see the shadows and everything looks natural.

  2. I'd love to know more about the Lebeouf technique. Is it similar to grids? I'm certain Mr Lebeouf would be proud to see this fantastic work!

  3. Actually it is not even close to grids. The technique uses the idea of good old fashioned flip books and concentration. Basically you need to print a picture and cover your copied image with tiny black dots around key points (like eyes, lips, nose, wrinkles). Then you cut it in half, right down the middle and tape the top of both halves side by side over a blank piece of paper. Then have your eyes focus on one particular dot and start picking up the paper as fast as you can. Place a dot on the blank paper so that it matches where your eyes have been focusing. Then flip the copied paper back and forth to check to see if the dot is in the right spot. If it is then focus on the next dot. If not, fix the first dot. Basically you keep going until you have created a dot to dot on the blank paper. Then you the focusing technique for shading. We use black and white charcoal for the final project. Hope this helps. Maybe this year I will try to make a video of it.

  4. Thanks so much for taking time to share the details. This technique sounds like a great challenge, and I'm sure my students would enjoy it far more than grids! Yes, love to see a video -- thx!