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?
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.
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?
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