03 September 2009
Figure Drawings - Summer 2009
It's a good idea to keep your drawing muscles in shape, even if your primary medium is paint. In painting classes, students who can draw seem to have a definite advantage over those who can't. Often when there's a problem with a painting, it can be traced back to the drawing. So as I transition into painting, I continue drawing classes to maintain and improve my skills. This term I'm taking 20-minute figure lay-ins and a figure drawing class taught by Jeff Watts. Jeff is a gifted artist and teacher. He's brutally honest, in a nice way, so you always know where you stand.
Jeff has made it clear I need to work on anatomy. Good figure drawing requires some understanding of it. To shore up my knowledge, I've started to study/copy drawings from Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life. At the moment, I'm focused on legs. I figure I can "practice" legs now or I can spend time correcting poorly drawn legs later. I choose practice. A warning that some beginning students find Bridgman useless, but as your drawing skills improve you begin to understand what an incredible resource this book is for the serious figurative artist.
As my basic drawing skills improve, I find I can focus more on aesthetics, like using cross hatching to energize tonal shapes and edges. I tend to draw smooth tones into my shadows, which can be dull and static. The texture of cross-hatching, added on top of a smooth tone, is a huge improvement. It's most obvious here in the first and third images.
The images in today's post took approximately 2 hours each, drawn with a Conte 1710 B charcoal pencil on smooth 24 x 18 newsprint. Jeff worked on the elbow area of the top image and the knee area of the middle image.