This week’s figure drawing is another drawing I’m pseudo happy with. I actually really like the structure of the limbs and shoulders. The legs came out well even though they’re a little too stiff. The left leg should have a little more sag to show the compression in the chair, but I like the lighting on the lower legs. I’m not thrilled with the likeness, this didn’t really capture the model very well. However, I think the drawing works overall.
I’m not happy with the blocking in of the background. I’m not sure why I used those diagonal strokes to block in the area behind his left arm, but I think it would have worked better if the strokes were more horizontal. As it is, it just looks messy. I’ve also learned to be more deliberate in where I place those dark areas around a figure.
Generally, if you darken the area near a portion of the figure that is well lit, you create additional contrast and enhance that impression. If you leave the background near a darkened or shaded portion of the figure, the principle works the same way for the opposite effect.
Here’s another installment of Figure Drawing Friday. This week’s featured drawing isn’t what I consider to be one of my best, but I like it anyway. I would have liked to execute the subtleties in the shadows better. The mid-tones are not really well done. Overall, from a technical standpoint, this drawing needs a lot of work. However, I still like it.
Here’s why I like it. I like how dramatic the light is. I like the pose, and I am happy with the darkness on her face and the side of her face. Sometimes, it takes guts to go really dark in a drawing–at least for me. The contrast of the heavy blacks on her head is what saves this picture and makes it worth looking at. Your eye is drawn to that point of contrast and the image leaves its mark. It’s only after you’ve taken in this first bit that your eye wanders around the image and if you wander long enough you begin to find its faults.
So, the point is that even our images with poor execution sometimes have lessons in them and are still worth looking at.
During short poses, sometimes called gestures, it’s often taught to capture the motion or the essence of a figure. However, when I took the Henry Yan workshop I mentioned in the previous post, he instructed us to just focus on a part of the figure we found challenging. The rib cage illustrations you see pictured here are both five minute poses. The hands are between seven and ten minute drawings.
I found it very beneficial to just focus on an area of the figure or pose that challenged me. I still do this exercises when I have the opportunity to draw short poses. When I say short poses, I’m generally referring to poses between five and fifteen minutes in length.
When I refer to a gesture pose, it’s typically a one minute pose, and occasionally a two-minute pose.
In a future Figure Drawing Friday, I’ll post a page of one minute gestures.
I intended to post a figure drawing each Friday, but before I posted my first one I already missed my deadline. So, here’s the first Figure Drawing Friday, On Saturday. I’ve been figure drawing on and off for nearly 20 years. It’s an indispensable form of learning and practice but it requires consistency to give you the full benefit. If you don’t figure draw and you want to improve your art, start now. Don’t worry about not being great at it. Nobody is at first. It’s one of those things that takes tons of practice, but it will inform and improve all of your art. It’s worth it.
For graphite drawing I prefer to use a 5.6mm “Mechanical Hardmuth” lead holder from Koh-I-Noor. I have several different 6mm lead holders, but this one feels best in my hand and I like that it has sort of a classic vintage look. I use Gioconda 6B Artists’ Leads with it and love the fact that at that 5.6mm thickness it doesn’t break. When I use charcoal, I tend to use General’s 6B charcoal pencils and while they work really well, I often break them while drawing so I usually sharpen three or four before a session begins just in case.
Thanks for reading. Now, go draw. Hopefully, the next post will be on time.