In the 20-minute sketch below, I started by smudging in a rough background, which also established the outline of the figure. I worked this outer shape, back and forth with charcoal and a kneaded eraser, until it felt right, then added contour lines and interior details. I like the result. It has a fresh, painterly feeling absent from my academic drawings.
|Wendy Seated, 24 x 18", charcoal on newsprint|
Here's one more...
|Wendy Standing 24 x 18", charcoal on newsprint (some edits by Jeff)|
Here's the same approach in paint, from a one-day workshop I took in April with Vadim Zanginian. Vadim teaches a similar approach. I laid in the background and figure as 2 shapes (using an average hue for the fleshtone), working the boundaries back and forth until an accurate figure shape emerged. Details were worked up once the big shapes were set. An advantage of the approach is that the figure (or head or still life) and background form a more integrated whole.
|LA model sketch, 12 x 9", oil on linen|
If you want to loosen up a little, or you want to do something fun, try this method. The results may surprise you. Keep it quick, so there's no opportunity to refine and ruin the result.