I’m pleased to have got started on Part 3 Portrait and figures especially as it would be very easy to be hijacked by arrangements for Christmas and there’s no way I want to find myself in the new year already one month behind. So I’ve left the unwritten Christmas cards downstairs and got on with it. I love figure drawing so it wasn’t a difficult decision.
Having said I love figure drawing doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with it… I have to do a lot of sketches before I get a result I feel pleased with and I’m conscious from my experience with Drawing 1 that it can be difficult to retain the expressive lines achieved in a quick sketch in the final work… and with painting this is likely to be even more challenging.
I haven’t done any figure drawing for ages and everyone I know is running around in headless chicken mode so I’ve turned to the Croquis Cafe video resource to get myself warmed up and going. The experience is very close to a real life drawing class, especially when viewed on a large screen TV. The models are filmed live so they blink and move a little and the sessions are timed (1 min, 2 mins and 5 mins) so it’s fast and energising.
Altogether I did 60 quick pen drawings (!) of four models over two days. I’ve pulled out the most expressive here and will spare my readers the rest!
Analysis of outcomes
I’ve a tendency to make heads a little small, backs a little long and shoulders too broad but all in all, especially as this is fast work, proportions are not too bad
The models look alive, there is vitality and energy in these sketches and some good expressive marks – this is the result of working quickly. I know from experience that the longer I work on a figure drawing the more life I seem to extract from it.
As I was working I found that if I try to hold the pen loosely that reflects in the marks I make and they become looser and more expressive.
There are several poses / sketches here that I could develop. When I was drawing Brie (see sketch marked *) I started to see some lovely negative shapes around her arms and legs and this made the decision for me about which sketch to proceed with for the linear figure study.
At the start of this project I put together a Pinterest Board featuring particularly expressive paintings and drawings of the figure with a strong emphasis on line. It includes among others Schiele, Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse and Tracy Emin. It will serve as a reminder that I’m not aiming to produce neat, tidy and precise drawings / paintings. I’m after something more expressive, with energy and vitality. Having said that proportions do matter – unless of course it is abundantly clear that some aspect (height, hands, etc) is deliberately exaggerated.