Here you’ll sketch a seated figure wearing a plain and pale coloured shawl, baggy jumper or soft dressing gown.
Using very light marks, sketch the overall shape of the seated figure, remembering to fit it interestingly within the borders of the support. Then, disregarding details, concentrate on drawing the body and the fabric as though it were a single form, considering the cloth as much a part of the body as the skin, flesh and bones.
Very lightly and simply indicate the general shapes for the head, hands and feet without going into detail. Your emphasis should be on the overall form of the main part of the body.
Observe how the fabric moulds gently around and softens angles, and how marks and lines can create the illusion of three-dimensional form and believable weight.
As you work, consider how the fabric helps invoke the essence of a living being beneath the surface. What difficulties did you encounter when approaching the cloth/figure as a whole?
The light line drawing isn’t too bad, but already getting bogged down in detail, i.e. the face.
So, I went for it and look what happened – I got it all wrong (never mind the facial expression)! This is pretty brutal sketch in more ways than one! What I did wrong – overuse of hard lines and little if any gradual shading/conrtolled blending (‘Drawing realistic clothing and people with Lee Hammond”, [e-book, location 138].
Back to the drawing board!
Decided to try again on a slightly larger scale and paying more attention to the positioning of the seated figure.
The first pass at shading – starting with the chair to get a feel for moving mark making from dark into light and all points in between.
Built up the gradations in tones using a stump (tortillon). I feel better about this rendition, and it seems like you can almost see the weight of the body sinking into the chair cushion. Although thinking about comments my tutor made on my last assignment work, I am slowly building the drawing, sitting at the drawing board – he has suggested that I try and change tempo with faster mark making.
In the spotlight – model enjoys a well-earned cup of tea. This was a 10 minute sketch using charcoal pencil and stump and the tempo was certainly quicker and I did the drawing standing up using my charcoal pencil more like an extension of my hand/arm. I can immediately see a difference – this sketch is less tight. Maybe still a tendency to overuse black line though.
Stretching her legs, not a sitting but a standing pose, using pencil and stump and again standing to draw. It certainly appears much freer in execution and my feeling is that the fabric of jumper and jogging bottoms follows the shape of the standing figure and suggests the form within in its standing/leaning/ relaxed pose. I also think that there is a better balance of line and shading here.
Back sitting again – well nearly sleeping actually. This time some more experimentation – I had dry brushed graphite powder over an A4 sheet of 250gsm Bristol Board (a ground suggested by my Tutor), although I don’t think I did a very good job of working the graphite powder (it was my first go at using this medium and I worked it in too hard making the background shiny), so more practice required. Using a dark graphite pencil I then sketched in the main form, which even with a dark graphite had the effect of scratching an outline. Next I treied charcoal stick to pick out darker tones and lastly used Inktense block coloured ink and waterbrush to try and suggest the reclined form better. As some added context, the yellow boots are the model’s homage to “Fairies wear boots” by Black Sabbath from their 1970 LP “Paranoid”.
Final sketch in this exercise – need to move on to research and next project. For this sketch I again used Bristol Board, this time drawing with a 6B pencil, working from light outline to shading from dark to light and using a tortillon to create some gradation in tone. Finally, it seemed like a good idea to try a couple of close up sketches of either arm where the contrast in light and dark was most obvious. For some reason I still don’t think my darks are dark enough and the transition tones towards light are kind of wishy-washy.
Anyway, need to move on to more challenges.
Stuart Brownlee – 512319
21 November 2015