In this exercise you’ll draw your model in a comfortable position. Having something in the background helps identify the space and will help you place the figure so that it doesn’t appear to be floating in space. Position yourself so that you’re facing the model with an interesting viewpoint, and use paper on a board or a large card- backed sketchbook.
Familiarise yourself with the figure and composition by making some quick preliminary sketches in charcoal or graphite. First, draw five two-minute sketches of the model in your sketchbook, paying particular attention to the proportions and just using the basic lines that describe the figure. Make rapid sketches to lock your concentration onto what is essential: making immediate assessments and trusting them. Be bold and let your confidence grow.
Draw from the middle of the body out towards the feet and the head. Don’t be tempted to draw outlines. This invariably causes problems as the drawing progresses, and you may become trapped by an overly large head or some other problem that will be awkward to rectify. Keep your marks loose and light to start with; as the image begins to come together you can make your marks and lines bolder to create tone and form.
Work on two larger 10-minute drawings. Be free in your use of medium and don’t erase any incorrect lines. Keep drawing over and over until the lines and marks begin to work. Do some more drawings of this pose, moving to a different position and changing your drawing medium.
These are all 2 minute poses:–
These two minute sketches use a variety of media including charcoal pencils, graphite pencils, charcoal, compressed charcoal, chalk and magic pencil. I particularly like the latter two sketches (12 & 13) of the female model in which the body shape contrasts against a dark background. I like the gestural finish on both and they way the shading hints at contours and form. I found it easier to work with the curvaceous female form rather than the more blocky shapes of the male models. In most cases the shaded drawings work better than the line drawings, which always end up looking rather flat. I find the results are also better if I don’t stop to worry to much about accuracy- in these cases the result generally reflects the model more accurately than when I overly measure. When I look back at these 2 minute sketches though they are all fairly fluid- I guess two minutes is not long enough to get too caught up in details!!
10 minute poses
I had varying success with the longer 10 minute poses. The last one (no.7) works because of the highlighting , which gives it form, and the contrasting background. No 5 also has form but the model is suspended in space. I need to think about background more generally and in creating context. The same goes for no 6, the picture is very constrained- I used a graphite pencil to create shading by hatching. It needs to be more fluid and gestural to create a sense of “life”. Nos. 1&2 are both wrong- a bit stilted and incorrect in proportion. While nos. 3&4 seem to be pretty accurate.
In future exercises I will try to use oil sticks, pens, ink and brush to see how I get on.