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.
Welcome back for another Figure Drawing Friday. This time, I actually got the post out on Friday. How about that? The drawing featured this week is a 5 minute sketch done in graphite on 18×24 smooth newsprint. I prefer smooth newsprint over the rough stuff because the way both charcoal pencils and graphite adhere to the page.
I like short poses!
For a five-minute drawing I rarely get this much of the figure down. Instead, I’ll focus on some area that I find challenging and then try to capture that part of the figure or at least the essence of it. It’s an expansion of the approach I use for one-minute gesture drawings.
This particular drawing came quickly. I liked the pose and if you really look at it, captured it with very few lines. Her spine is indicated by one line in the lower back and a small mark between the shoulder blades. The shape on her neck is the basic shaper here clasped hands made. I didn’t even try to capture the fingers in such a short time. I’m particularly pleased with the weight and balance of the pose. It looks believable and the angle of the model’s hips is also authentic. I didn’t get to the feet either.
I don’t like to draw feet, because I’m not great at it
I would probably had drawn in the feet if I’d had another ten minutes or so to refine the drawing, but to be honest, I’ve ruined more than one drawing through feet. The angles of the feet are complex. Some artists can capture the essence of a foot’s shape and make it look credible with just a few strokes. I am not one of those artists. If I don’t take my time on feet, I wind up rendering club-footed figures…thus ruining an otherwise decent effort. Therefore, I force myself just to study feet (and hands) sometimes. Capturing hands well is just about as important as capturing faces when communicating in a drawing and you don’t want to wreck it by drawing shitty feet.
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.