Welcome back to another Figure Drawing Friday. I’m still reaching into the archives this week and you’ve seen part of this image before in this previous post. Specifically, the butt of the figure on the left encroached on the previous crop of this week’s drawing and the seated figure is one you’ve seen before.
I didn’t draw these on the same day or on the same page. I combined the images digitally afterward. There was a time when I planned to combine a bunch of my figure drawings into a printed book, but I never got around to it. Perhaps I will resume the project in the future. I drew both illustrations with Col-Erase Carmine Red pencil in a Strathmore 11×14 hardcover sketchbook. At the time, I still drew smaller than I would today. For figure drawing any thing less than 18×24 feels cramped to me now.
The Seated Figure
As I said in the previous post that featured the seated figure, I’m really happy with that drawing. I should have drawn in the clavicles to further define the form in the front. I’m pretty sure at least some indication of the clavicles was present in the lighting at the time.
The Standing Figure
I drew the figure on the right in two or three minutes. It was a very short pose. Back then, I drew from life two or three times a week so I had a pretty good rhythm and my drawings came to me fairly quickly. It’s amazing what consistency can do for your work when you draw from life. Heck, consistency makes a big difference in all your drawings. I know it does for me and yet I still struggle with drawing often enough.
Back to the drawing… the standing figure came out pretty well. I like the realistic shape of the shoulder and the transition from the armpit to the breast and the foreshortening of the raised leg. I also feel like the tilt of the hip came out correctly.
Welcome back to another Figure Drawing Friday. This week, I’m once again reaching into the archives because I haven’t drawn from life in a few months. I drew these images independently in my sketchbooks and composited them digitally. The red female figure is a quick gesture drawing that I did during a two-minute pose. I’m very pleased with this drawing. I drew it in red pen (Pilot Precise V5 Extra Fine), so what you see is the first attempt with no wasted marks. I rarely get so lucky to get proportion and structure right so quickly and the first time I put a mark down.
Elderly Couple at Buffet
The elderly couple in the image came from a quick drawing session at a hotel in Washington D.C. a few years ago. I drew these people as they browsed the breakfast buffet. This is another ink drawing…if I recall I used a Copic F02 Drawing Pen, its razor point is great for fine lines, but terrible on paper with any kind of tooth because it scratches it.
Fifteen Minute Poses
The nude female in the remaining two drawings is a model I’ve drawn frequently. These poses we’re both approximately 15 minutes long. If you look at the drawings carefully, you’ll notice I completely blew it on the model’s likeness. If I didn’t point out that the drawings were of the same person, most viewers would not expect that they were the same person. Likeness is so critical to get right and so easy to get wrong. I drew these two illustrations with a mechanical pencil, probably an Alvin Draft-Matic .5mm. That was my go-to mechanical pencil before I got my Rotring 800.
In those days, I often drew from life with a mechanical pencil, but I would not recommend that to anyone today. With a mechanical pencil, you lose the ability to create line variation with a change of your wrist’s angle. Instead, I recommend you either use a traditional pencil or Col-Erase pencil with a long sharpened point, or better yet, a color pencil like a Prismacolor Black or blue, a china marker, or charcoal pencil. Sharpening a long point will give you more surface area for line variation and if you use a soft enough tool — I recommend 6B — you can get good variation in the darkness of your marks.
The drawing on the left has proportion issues, but I like it anyway. The drawing in the center, of the model sitting and leaning forward, is high on my list of favorites. It was one of those days where everything just worked.
I like the foreshortening challenge of the pose and am pleased with the rendering of the shoulders, hips, and legs. The angles of the shoulders and neck are realistic. However, I should have have drawn the clavicles to make it stronger.
Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s already Figure Drawing Friday again. The drawings featured this week are from a few years ago. This was when I had a drawing venue that allowed opportunities for figure drawing from a model several times a week. The frequency with which you draw from life dramatically impacts your ability to do it well.
When I did these drawings, I was mostly drawing line art without a ton of value. My style and approach has changed a lot since then. However, I was able to drop lines and proportions and shapes onto the paper with good accuracy very quickly at the time.
I should also mention that these drawings aren’t very large. I drew them in an 11×14 hardcover sketchbook and used col-erase blue pencils. All four of the drawings are of the same model. You can see some variation in the likeness of her face. Likeness is always hard to capture consistently. Her figure, however, is fairly consistent in all the poses. You can see some of my construction lines in the drawings. At the time, I usually began a drawing with the rib cage (as a simple oval) and the hips (another oval) connected with a simple gesture line to approximate the spine and general energy of the pose. The poses for these drawings varied between 3 and 20 minutes.
Todays’ Figure Drawing Friday post is an old drawing I did in Col-Erase blue pencil on Strathmore drawing paper. The pose for this drawing wasn’t very dynamic, but I really did like the line of her body as the model reclined. I obviously exaggerated the hips and lower body. I like the way it turned out. The proportions are ridiculous, but I think the rhythm of the drawing works.
Here we are again on Figure Drawing Friday. This is a 5 minute short pose drawing. I’m pleased with the overall gesture and the lighting, particularly the shadow of the staff (broomstick) across the model’s shoulders. I’m less than pleased with the claw that is her left hand. When I draw short poses like this, I usually focus on the large parts of the body and generally just use a squiggle or two to imply the hands or fine details.
The finer details like hands and facial features take time to get right, A quick sketch representation of details like this works well in a short pose. However, once the drawing is done, or the time is up, you only have a squiggle where a key part of the drawing should be. Hands are as important in communicating as the face is.
Sometimes you surprise yourself. This is a large gesture drawing, done in two minutes, on 18 x 24 newsprint with a charcoal pencil. This particular model had a wonderful shape and the pose accentuated the roundness of her form. The triangular overall shape is softened by the roundness of the shoulders and legs. There isn’t a single straight line in the whole drawing. The only thing close is maybe the eyebrow.
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.
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.