Life Drawing Focus: Still working on proportions

The drawings which follow are from last week’s life drawing class.  The drawings are presented in the order in which they were drawn.  I now take an A3 and A4 pad to class and use both.  I have found it easier to judge scale in the A4 – probably because there is less space in which to plan a drawing.  I also find it useful to use a previous drawing in a session to inform the next one, and this is much easier with two sketchbooks.

I had intended to focus on shapes in this class and I began this way.  I had begun by looking for the main diagonals in the pose (this can be seen in the little sketch in the top right corner).  I tried to be guided by this as I drew the larger model focusing on straight edges first, from which I could then develop a more rounded form.  (As I write this, I have since discovered one very important thing that I am doing wrong and which I have since attempted to correct but that will have to wait until the next post).  

In this drawing below, the head is once again too small for the body and the legs seem a bit too long compared with the proportions of the upper body.  This seems to be a recurring difficulty; however, it occurs to me that some distortion might occur because the model is standing on a stage in this drawing and, as I was sitting, her head and shoulders could have been up to a meter above my eye level.  This might have contributed to the distortion.  I find it frustrating because I do make careful measurements while drawing.  

The model’s right hip (on the viewer’s left) should be taking the weight and so this hip is lower than the other; however, she looks like she might topple over – the leg should be further over to the left, such that the foot lies beneath the hip – it is not taking the weight as it has been drawn!    Drawn in pencil in an A3 sketchbook. 15-20 minutes.

 

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Our tutor commented on the hard edges in the first drawing and I was too tired after a day in school to try to explain auf Deutsch what I was doing so I smiled and let it go.   Perhaps I was not entirely sure what I was trying to achieve because I also had difficulty explaining it to myself in English!  I decided to review the shape focus later and postpone it until next week.  

In the second drawing, I used the general shapes from the first drawing but then created a more rounded form. I tried to be more aware of the size of the model’s head and compensated for my tendency to draw heads too small. The outcome is better proportioned.  There is also an improved sense of balance although the angle of the non-supporting leg, or rather of the foot, does not look correct.  The green ink is incidental to the drawing – I have taken to painting left over ink and paint on empty pages with the intention of doing something with it later.  In this case, I just needed the paper! Drawn in pencil in an A4 sketchbook. 15-20 minutes. 

 

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The following three drawings were each 5 minute poses or so.  The model had brought her inline skates.   In this drawing, I used the side of a piece of crayon to get a sense of the main body mass and light and shade on the model’s body.  Drawn in sanguine crayon in an A3 sketchbook.

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In the second short pose, I misjudged her head size and adjusting it later took it off the page. I haven’t caught the tension in her arm muscles and her outstretched leg should be longer. I like the crayon line on the seated thigh, which creates form in the leg.  Drawn in sanguine crayon in an A3 sketchbook.

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The model stood in her skates for the last quick pose.  The head is in better size relation to the rest of the body – although it was adjusted towards the end (initial pencil mark visible).  Her left arm (viewer’s right) is extended slightly in front and to the side of her hips so there is some foreshortening of the lower arm; however, the position of the elbow seems too high relative to her waist, unless it was behind the plane of her torso, which I cannot recall now but would be unlikely for someone trying to retain their balance (?).  The left hand is reasonably drawn. Not sure why I omitted her right hand.  Overall, I am quite pleased with this drawn figure.   Drawn in pencil in an A3 sketchbook. About 5 minutes.

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The model then managed a free-standing pose for about 10 minutes.  We didn’t know how long we were going to have to draw this pose because she wasn’t sure how long she would be able to stand still without support.  The proportions are reasonable and, actually, in this pose, it is clear that her upper arms are slightly drawn back behind her as she holds the pose.  To my still-in-training eye, there seems to be a good sense of balance and tension in this drawing (a vertical line from the base of her neck passes through the flexed knee to the centre of her feet) – although it could have been further improved by getting both of her feet on the page!   Drawn in pencil in an A3 sketchbook. About 10 minutes. 

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The last two poses of the evening were again longer poses of 20-25 minutes each.  In the first, the model is still in her skates but is supporting herself on a vertical frame.  This drawing conveys better than the last a sense of muscle tautness as she tries to remain in this position for some length of time.  The arm length is better proportioned but the model’s free-hanging arm is rather too thin, although it is partly concealed by her breast. The arm needs more tension for the pose – it would have been active in maintaining balance in this pose.  I have caught a likeness in this drawing for the first time.  Drawn in pencil in an A4 sketchbook. About 25 minutes. 

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In the last drawing of the session, the model posed with a necklace and shawl.  Definitely not a likeness in this drawing. Getting the relative positions of the shoulders, one of which was concealed beneath the bunched up shawl was difficult and I haven’t managed to catch it.  I approached the position of the arms by drawing the negative space between the arm, shoulder and head.  When I returned to it later in the drawing, the spaces seemed different and it is possible that the model moved during this time – it must have been a tiring pose to hold.   The pencil line was too soft to be reproduced well in a scan. Drawn in pencil in an A4 sketchbook. About 25 minutes. 

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