18 January 2010
Figure Drawing - Fall 2009
A few recent figure drawings. The top drawing was done at home in 2 hours from a photo. The other drawings were from a life-drawing class taught by Erik Gist, also done in 2 hours. Aside from model vs. photo, the main difference was that at home I was able to step back from the easel and take a good hard look at the reference photo and the drawing. I caught drawing inaccuracies earlier, saving more time for the finish. It's hard to step away from a drawing when you have a limited time with a live model, but it may produce a better result. I'm going to give it a try next life drawing class.
I recently watched Morgan Weistling's newest instructional DVD called "Painting for the Impatient". One of the points made was how over-modeling can ruin the illusion of form in a painting (or drawing). Over-modeling here simply means using an excessive number of values, making the form look lumpy and distorted. After I mapped in the general shapes in the first drawing above, the image looked busy and unconvincing. I knocked down the value range with a light charcoal glazing over the entire figure, then went back in and picked out light areas selectively with a kneaded eraser. The effect was to unify the overall form. Something to try if your figure looks like a group of disconnected shapes, rather than a single unified form.
The photo reference for the first drawing came from a book called Art Models:Life Nude Photos for the Visual Arts 2, which comes with a CD containing high definition images of all the poses in the book. There are 4 books in the series. At the publisher's website you can also download a variety of individual poses. Much cheaper than hiring a model for a photo shoot.
Final note: The images above were drawn in 2 hours with a Conte Pierre Noire 1710 B charcoal pencil on 24 x 18 smooth newsprint. Erik worked up the torso areas on the 2nd and 4th drawings, and the model's foreshortened right arm/hand on the third drawing.