Life Class resumes…

Life class restarted in January.  The first week, I was completely unfocused. Last semester, I discovered that I made more progress if I arrived at class with a specific focus. I had not thought this through before resuming class.

I began by using an ArtBar on its side to block in the main body shapes of the model in a rather uninspiring pose. I should have changed my position relative to the model but even so… Drawing her centrally on the page doesn’t help.  I added an outline and began shading in a background to remove her from a white page. I had left another piece of paper beneath the page, whose outline showed through, so I developed this further with deliberate frottage of a piece of corrugated cardboard.  It remains a boring drawing but I might develop the frottage as a background in future drawings.

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In an attempt to warm up, I tried several different pens and pencils while drawing a single 15-20 minute pose. The drawings below were made in an A4 Winsor & Newton sketchbook and were drawn in clockwise order beginning with the gesture top left.  The angle of the model’s spine in the drawing improved with repetition.  The curve has to flow in line with the waist.

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Here is one drawing that I liked from the first week back.  It was actually a set of three shorter poses which I drew into an A3 Hahnemühle sketchbook with conte pencils.  Having only about 5 minutes for each one concentrated the mind wonderfully.

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Last week was a bit better.  I had decided to focus on proportions again after the mess of the first week, with partial success. The drawing on the left, below, portrays the model as stocky, which she wasn’t.  The one on the right is an improvement. Both were drawn with red conte pencils.

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I struggled to get the proportion of the model’s legs right, below.  Beginning with a gesture drawing in black fineliner, in which I judged the thighs to be too short, I added mass and length.  I checked proportions of the upper leg several times but seem to have neglected to check the lower one.  The model is leaning away from the viewer slightly so there should be slight foreshortening of the torso. All that said, I rather like the lines and fluidity of the pen and the pencil, as well as the red crayon.  Her foot needs a bit of work still…  However, overall I like this, despite its evident technical flaws.

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The next one is three shorter poses, again drawn on a single page, beginning with the central figure and drawing the more developed figure on the left last.  We must have had more than 5 minutes for this last one, although you lose track when drawing.

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The last pose was drawn using a sepia conte pencil.  I find conte pencils to be a very useful medium for figure drawing because of their slightly chalky texture, which lends itself well to tonal contrasts and to blending with fingers. I’m quite pleased with the portrayal of the fabric.

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