Firstly I was thinking of using different materials and ways of depicting the figures. This first study I wanted to use charcoal and rub back but unfortunately the paper was resistant and peeled away.
Then tried brown paper from shopping carrier bags with chalks and conte sticks. This is helpful in building up a better depiction of the figure.
Finally used a combination of both on a watercolour paper. Maybe would have worked better with a wet medium first and then working on top.
So for the final piece I went back to the carrier bag brown paper and different chalks and conte sticks. Partly successful in terms of depicting the weight of the figure on the floor. I think I am still hesitant in getting enough distinction with the tones across the figure.
Wanted to go for a completely different approach with this pose. Using the not looking blind drawing initially and then building up with different materials.
I like the initial image best. It has more character and its abstraction works for the pose.
In line with spending longer on the final image and using a different material I used red biro with a continuous drawing kind of technique. Very ambiguous about this. Not successful.
Went for the Auerbach technique. It is not that accurate but structurally it is more interesting than the biro drawing.
My final pose and technique was thinking about Degas and the drawing I had previously made of the standing figure. So this is water soluble crayons on pastel paper. I have endeavoured to be freer with the mark making. This is a bit of a hybrid in that the form is there, the pose is there but something is missing.
The anatomy studies are definitely adding to the drawings by my growing awareness of the structures beneath the form. However I am feeling driven by trying to achieve so much in such a short period of time.
I have been going to regular life classes but you can’t always get the poses and timings that suit the course exercises. I’m finding that my accuracy changes from week to week and depending on the model what I am trying to achieve.
Recently I was trying to create a large study of a naked lady in a long pose class and had clearly chosen the wrong materials and wrong angle to achieve an interesting outcome. Going to take a step back and think more about the composition before I start and the possibilities of the materials being used.
2 minute sketches in life class trying to get the energy of the lines running through the figures.
Watching someone dance and using a brush pen – working quickly and with as few lines as possible. With more work these kind of drawing could be useful. I am going to try the movement drawing soon and will use the brush pen as an experiment.
The above sketches vary from 2, 5 10 minute poses and different materials. The last 3 are all the same model and I think I have managed more accurately to find the weight and angle of the stances.
Separately I worked on this single piece building up the colour as a way of finding the form of the pose. I like how the torso has come alive in the use of the contours of the marks and have tried hard to keep the essence of the pose and the twist of the body.
Perhaps it is better to over exaggerate the angles in the first place in order not too loose the pose as I work into it.
These first two sketches the model was clothed as the proper model failed to turn up. So our tutor sat for us. I really enjoyed depicting the clothes which helped to find the form and weight of the figure. These were 10 minute sketches.
Then one of the class agreed to sit for us in his underwear. He was a good model and I tried the technique of going as slowly as possible building the form and the tone simultaneously.
This last pose was longer – 40 minutes and I got a bit lost. Firstly the proportions got out of focus so that I felt I was too far on and did not adjust them sufficiently. However I did work more on building up the tonal areas in different ways and with different colours – all conte, chalk and pencil detail. The fact that the sofa is more there helps him look more seated. The study of the upper torso is pleasing. And the legs but somehow the middle is too extended.
Need to stand back and check proportions early in the pose. Different materials adds to the complexity of the image.
This is a pair of studies 10 minutes and 40 minutes I undertook in a life class. I have endeavoured to work slower and with the pencil faintly rendering the marks until I am more certain about the positioning.
I think I have learnt more about how to create the “thereness” of a figure. I find I am not actually measuring but moving across the figure with the ghost of the pencil until I can visualise it before putting in a mark.
The foreshortening of the right leg with the knee facing me worked quite well – although probably still too long in the thigh.
For the longer study I did the same process of building up the lines faintly at first and then moving forward with defining the areas of tone. I still find it difficult to decide how to build up the tonal areas and have tried different ways with cross-hatching etc. In order to render more weight to the figure I need to find ways to depict the context – in this case a sofa.
More looking and less lines!
With this drawing I was trying to spend longer on developing the detail but I am not sure that I have achieved a lot more than the shorter studies. I feel that it is overworked in some areas and underworked in others. Proportions are not accurate enough and the emphasis of the pose has been lost because of this.
I tried to work on this again. I have been reading about other drawing techniques and was attempting not to do too much too early but to build up the lines and tones more carefully.
I think this is more accurate than the previous pose although far from perfect. There is more a sense of the weight of the figure actually sitting down and bending forward.
I need to practice going slower – doing more looking and plotting before putting anything on paper.
Research Point – Foreshortening
Quick sketch with mirror at end of sofa.
A lesser know version of the much damaged Anatomy Lesson of Dr Deijman (1656) – this is the remaining part of a much larger painting. “not literal representations of their public acts, but are allegorical proclamations of the surgeons as the renown masters of the secrets of the body (Kemp & Wallace p25)
Andre Mantega (1431-1506) – Lamentation of Christ
Michelangelo – Sistine Chapel Ceiling – created 1506 – 1512 – the use of foreshortening was very prevalent in fresco painting.
Paolo Uccello 1397-1475 – The Battle of San Romano – an early example of foreshortening – the fallen figure on the left.
JW Turner – life study
Salvador Dali 1904 – 1989 – The Ascension of Christ 1958 – a wonderfully theatrical painting from a unique angle.
Lucien Freud 1922-2011- Reflection with two Children (detail) 1985
Above is the first 5 minute study. I was using pencil and trying to get the sense of slump in the figure. There is weight in the folds of the torso and the back.
Using charcoal and conte stick endeavouring this time to use tone to build the shapes of the model. Although this is not accurate in terms of proportion some of the marks and contrasts are more interesting than in the first 5 minute sketch.
The 3rd 5 minute pencil sketch of a crouching figure. I like the dynamism of the lines although it is more outline than solid form.
Standing figure drawn with pencil lines for 5 minutes. Although it is also just lines like the previous sketch it feels more solid and with weight.
With the last 5 minute sketch endeavouring to make the outlines more interesting and visceral.
There are 3 10 minute sketches for a longer sketch later in the session. Worked with pencil, then conte and finally charcoal.
I found it a very awkward pose as one leg is not visible and the width and length of the back difficult to define. I didn’t measure any of these but continued to lay them down quickly.
This final drawing of the pose was for 35 minutes. I should have done more measuring and checked the angles and relationships of the limbs etc. However I enjoyed and had more success in building up tonal layers creating more weight to parts of the drawing. Used all the drawing materials on this single drawing.
Quick 10 minute tonal study – this perhaps works better because it has context i.e. something for the model to sit on and the background.
Final 6 minute study where I tried not to draw outline and create less marks and be more thoughtful about what to include.
- It is difficult not to just draw outline
- I found it a challenge whether to measure proportion or just go for immediate response especially with the quick sketches
- Less is more in a lot of cases but need to build discipline in order to hold myself back
- I enjoy the darker media especially the conte sticks rather than pencil – makes it easier to create weight and tone to the drawings.
- Need to remember to include some context in the drawing – background, seating etc which helps to begin to develop a sense of place to the sketches.