Part 4: Project 2: Exercise 2 – A longer study

Brief

Find a pose that your model is comfortable with and that they can hold for an hour, such as a seated position; take breaks every 15 minutes or so.

Draw small marks onto the sheet of paper indicating the outermost points of the figure (the top of the head, the angle of the shoulders, the tips of the toes, knees, etc.). This will give you confidence that you’ve measured the proportions correctly and that the whole body will fit into the rectangle.

Draw a long pose with your chosen medium. Keep checking the body measurements up, down and diagonally, comparing one part with another, for example the length or width of the head compared to the hand. Remember that the lengths and widths that you see (the visual measurements) are often very different to the ‘actual’ physical measurements due to viewpoint and perspective.

Make some notes on your experience of this exercise in your learning log:

• How well have you captured the characteristics of the pose?
• Does the body have sufficient weight and presence?
• Do the proportions look right? If not, how will you try to improve this?

Drawing

I prepared a background of graphite powder – filled an old sock with powder and daubed it all over a sheet of A4 canvas creating some interesting patterns – and then sprayed with fixative and left to dry.

So far in previous exercises my model has been my wife. Happy to pose clothed for me, but not keen to disrobe for nude sketching. I wanted to push myself a bit more with this longer study and so chose to attempt a nude pose.

This is my first nude drawing and with no access to a life drawing class locally I made use of Butch Krieger’s Figure drawing studio: drawing and painting the nude figure from pose photos. New York: Sterling Publishing.

Using a thin charcoal stick I sketched in the figure as lightly as I could and then moved onto a light charcoal pencil and a white tinted charcoal pencil to catch shadows and highlights.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 2 - A longer study - first pass
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 2 – A longer study – first pass

Building slowly over the first pass I used conté crayon to try and provide a more distinct contrast of dark and light and pick out a wee bit of detail of the nude form in repose, thinking. Trying to create some kind of narrative – not sure quite what, but I like the gaze up towards the top left.

This is perhaps now not just a drawing from a photo, but rather a drawing with a story – you, the viewer, decide what that story might be.

Personally, I can see a female figure in moonlight, lying out on a rock surface with a forest tree line in the background (to the right) and a swirly night sky above – so, what is out there?

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 2 - A longer study - finished
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 2 – A longer study – finished

Critique

I like the way that the pose spreads across the rectangular page and am intrigued
myself by the way the figure has turned from being a sketch of a nude form to something more, with characteristics of the original pose beginning to tell a story.

To my eye, the body lies with weight and presence on the rock surface – comfortably connecting with the hard outcrop (my story again).

I may have accentuated the visible breast a bit, but it is certainly a focal point and I think the body proportions work. I have probably not presented the female facial characteristics as well as they deserve to be. However, overall I am pleased with my first attempt at a nude drawing and like the flow – once my eye pulls back from the breast I can allow my eye to follow the flow from feet, up along the outstretched legs, over the torso to the ‘thinking’ head resting on the upraised arm – all framed by the suggestion of a background (forest and night sky).

Or am I just being fanciful?

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
2 December 2015

Part 4: Project 2: Exercise 1 – Quick proportional studies

Brief

In this exercise you’ll draw your model in a comfortable position. Having something in the background helps identify the space and will help you place the figure so that it doesn’t appear to be floating in space. Position yourself so that you’re facing the model with an interesting viewpoint, and use paper on a board or a large card backed sketchbook.

Familiarise yourself with the figure and composition by making some quick preliminary sketches in charcoal or graphite. First, draw five two-minute sketches of the model in your sketchbook, paying particular attention to the proportions and just using the basic lines that describe the figure.

Make rapid sketches to lock your concentration onto what is essential: making immediate assessments and trusting them. Be bold and let your confidence grow. Draw from the middle of the body out towards the feet and the head. Don’t be tempted to draw outlines. This invariably causes problems as the drawing progresses, and you may become trapped by an overly large head or some other problem that will be awkward to rectify. Keep your marks loose and light to start with; as the image begins to come together you can make your marks and lines bolder to create tone and form.

Work on two larger 10-minute drawings. Be free in your use of medium and don’t erase any incorrect lines. Keep drawing over and over until the lines and marks begin to work.

Do some more drawings of this pose, moving to a different position and changing your drawing medium. Try oil sticks, charcoal, conté sticks, pens, ink and brush. Make written notes in your learning log about the planes and shapes of the body and about any challenges you experience with measuring or media.

In the study below, the artist presses in strong, sharp and short lines on a coloured ground to convey the grittiness of a domestic scene. The background is merely hinted at and the subject positioned in a believable space through just a few marks beneath the figure and the chair. Think about the coloured ground and the use of white and how you might try this yourself.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - course notes image
Colin Moss, Popular Press, c.1958 (pastel, chalk)

Warm-up sketches

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, warm-up sketches
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, warm-up sketches

Getting loosened up before becoming more basic.

Quick sketches

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, sketches 1-3
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, sketches 1-3

Basic line sketches in graphite pencil. The body shapes are interesting and I believe the basic line sketches have captured the essence of the forms posed.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, sketches 4-5
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, sketches 4-5

Basic line sketches in graphite pencil. Different poses presenting new shapes captured in basic line sketching.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, sketches 6-8
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, sketches 6-8

Basic line sketches in 3B pencil. These three poses, while more natural, were a bit more complicated to capture. But I think the body shapes are reasonably well proportioned.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, sketches 9-10
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, sketches 9-10

Basic line sketches in 6B pencil. A bit weird this, sketching someone looking as if they are typing at a keyboard, although I think I captured the slouchy posture pretty well in number 10.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, sketch 11
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, sketch 11

Basic line sketches in 4B pencil. Lounging back into the cushion on the couch reading her iPad, this pose pushes the foot out over the edge of the couch in a foreshortened manner.

10 min sketches

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, 10 min sketch 1
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, 10 min sketch 1

Conté crayon on A3 250gsm Bristol Board. Conté crayon harder than pastel and not quite so easy to blend. From sketch 5, I didn’t manage to capture the hunch in the back of the model who was leaning forward resting her hands on her knees. And face and hands remain a challenge. Sprayed with fixative.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, 10 min sketch 2
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, 10 min sketch 2

Soft pastel on A4 160gsm neutral pastel paper. Soft pastel fun to work with, but messy! I liked this pose (see sketch 11) with one leg raised and one tucked in beneath and it presented interesting body planes. Hands a struggle, but face a wee bit better – suggestions of features. Sprayed with fixative.

Other sketches

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, other sketches 1
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, other sketches 1

Charcoal on 24x30cm canvas board.

Using sketch number 4 as the basis, this was sketched on a pre-prepared canvas board that had been covered with blueish acrylic paint. Over three-quarters of the surface I coated iridescent orange acrylic, using masking tape to get the straight line of separation.

The pose was sketched in with graphite pencil into the nearly dry orange and once dry redrawn in charcoal and white graphite pencil blended to create the shading of the fabric. I think the body proportions are about right and the planes fairly well captured, although face and hands remain a challenge. Sprayed with fixative and allowed to run a bit over the charcoal lines on the blue – not very well executed.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, other sketches 2
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, other sketches 2

Initial sketch made with gel pen.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, other sketches 2 completed
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, other sketches 2 completed

Oil pastel on 24x30cm canvas board.

This is a variation of sketch 3, with the model turned to look the other way. Sketched on a light green acrylic ground with approx. two-thirds covered with red acrylic and rubbed away as it dried in places to create patches of the background green. The initial sketch was made with a gel pen and then completed with oil pastel. Sprayed with fixative.

There is something a wee bit coquettish, or maybe dumpy, about this pose and the shoulder seems to have disappeared, although I quite like the jaunty curve of the arm. The proportions are a bit out I think – but I quite like it.

Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 - Quick studies, dyptich
Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 – Quick studies, dyptich

As I was sketching these two poses the idea came that there was some kind of connection to be made between the two by way of an interesting visual abstraction.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
1 December 2015