Category Archives: Pt 4/project 2

Part 4, Project 2,Exercise 2: A longer study

Find a pose that your model is comfortable with and that they can hold for an hour, such as a seated position; take breaks every 15 minutes or so.

Draw small marks onto the sheet of paper indicating the outermost points of the figure (the top of the head, the angle of the shoulders, the tips of the toes, knees, etc.). This will give you confidence that you’ve measured the proportions correctly and that the whole body will fit into the rectangle.

Draw a long pose with your chosen medium. Keep checking the body measurements up, down and diagonally, comparing one part with another, for example the length or width of the head compared to the hand. Remember that the lengths and widths that you see (the visual measurements) are often very different to the‘actual’physical measurements due to viewpoint and perspective.


I was very pleased with this drawing.  I feel that it completely captures the essence of the pose.  I managed not to overly dwell on detail and feel that pastels was the best choice for this piece of work.  I tried not to outline, but to create form and edges using just shading.  The white highlights lift overall effect.  The proportions do look correct- she had a beautiful shape so it was easier to capture the contours.  There is a sense of weight- the back is straight and there is a sense of physical mass in both stance and form.


This drawing did not work so well.  The pose was not so easy- but I choose to work from this angle because of the practice in dealing with foreshortening that it offered.  I think the arms are too skinny and his position looks a little unnatural- bending slightly too far back.  There is definitely a sense of form and the shading works too.


This drawing is slightly comical- apart from the green head, the face and features are too small for the body and the legs are also too short and skinny.  I think I became overly caught up in details of the elements of the pose, and forgot to step back often and look at the picture as a whole.  The chest and stomach are quite well observed I think.  Next time I will try look at the overall body as a complete shape rather than break it into smaller elements.

One this that works in all of these drawings is the background and surroundings of the models.  I have not gone into great detail but shadows and the shapes of the cushions etc give a sense of presence that is lost when I have just drawn the body in isolation.  The cushions/flooring also help to add a sense of weight and mass to the pose.


This drawing works on some levels but would have benefited from filling the page more.  The deep dark shading around the legs makes the pose believable.  However, I need to add a little more highlighting to lift the effect.  I find this difficult using pastels because the fixative reduces the brightness of the lightest colours creating an end result that can be slightly toned down and  dull.


This drawing made a nice change.  I worked on kraft paper using coloured charcoal pencils.  I like the way the white hints at highlights, while the dark colours create shadow.  I enjoy using the mid-tone colour paper as it stops me getting too bogged down in detail in the mid range.  This picture incorporates some foreshortening on the legs (is that what it’s called when the legs are going away from the viewer?).  The model has a sense of weight and mass on the chair and highlighting through the holes in the chair back hint at the shape of the model’s back.


This picture used a different approach- using just one colour on white paper.  Immediately I arrive at the use of a pencil my approach becomes more caught up in detail again.  The body is overly outlined, which reduces the sense of physical mass.  I prefer the drawings that rely more on shading the create a sense of form.  I cannot decide if the rear leg is too long?  It is hard to compare it with the other leg which is significantly foreshortened by its orientation towards the viewer.    I did measure but that is not always a guarantee of accuracy!!

Part 4, Project 2, Exercise 1: Quick studies

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:






6. IMG_1174


8. IMG_1163


10. IMG_1184



13. IMG_1187

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






6. IMG_1181


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.