Assignment Four: Tone


Final: Cameron (A2) pencil drawing

Brief: Pose your model in a reclining pose, perhaps lying back in an armchair or with feet up extended on a sofa… Focus particularly on tone and explore the subject’s pictorial possibilities. Make the background important as well as the figure.

My friend Cameron agreed to pose for me. He is great to draw as he is able to relax and adopt very natural looking poses. Also he has lovely legs!

I am reasonably pleased with this picture and feel it is much more successful than my first drawing for assignment four (thank goodness).

What works?
The overall composition of the picture feels OK. I like the chunky sofa cushions; they provide a good background. The foreground foot provides an interesting feature. The cushions around the head also provide visual interest and they and the sofa cushions help to frame the figure. Overall the proportions and perspective are reasonable. The hands look realistic and it looks as though there is a skeleton under the skin.  I feel I have used tone reasonably well to describe the form and managed to include a variety of textures. I am pleased I did not let the challenging perspective put me off.

There are imperfections, of course, but nonetheless I feel this is one of the best pictures I have drawn and I know that I could not have accomplished this a year ago. Something must be sinking in!

What doesn’t work so well?
I worked hard and checked and checked again to try to get the overall proportions correct but even so, the torso is  a little long. There is also something very slightly rigid about body. The face is about 90 per cent Cameron but something isn’t quite right. I think it is that the neck is little long.


Exploring different poses
I got Cameron to stretch out on the sofa with the newspaper and I sketched him from a couple of different angles. Strong daylight was coming from the windows which were at a right angle to the sofa. Light was bouncing off the leather sofa.


I liked this pose but the overall composition was less interesting than my second sketch.


This was the pose I chose to develop. Cameron was very relaxed and comfortable and the angle and perspective gave  strong visual interest.











Exploring detail and colour


I was interested initially in combining a pencil line drawing of the clothes with a tonal pencil  drawing of the body, and coloured pencils for the sofa and cushions but I couldn’t see how to get a satisfactory colour balance. This sketch was good practice for the hands and watch, also for the shape and form of the legs.


This sketch enabled me to practice drawing the pose and also explore the use of colour. I decided I didn’t want a picture too dominated by the brown of the sofa which is why I decided to do a pencil drawing.














Practising drawing the folds of the vest, and the face.


The sole of the shoe was surprisingly complex. I noticed the patterns on the socks and how they dissolved in the light.











Lessons learnt
Don’t be put off by difficult perspective / foreshortening but do lots of practice sketches before embarking on the final picture.

Tiny errors in proportions can cause surprisingly big distortions.

In this kind of pose, feet can be much bigger than your eye might be telling you. I like to think that I don’t need to measure but I do!



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