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.
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.
For this week’s figure Friday, I’m reaching way back into the archives. This drawing is about ten years old. It was one of those days where I surprised myself with this particular drawing. The likeness of the model is actually pretty good, although I made him look a bit younger than he actually was. I’m also pleased with the gesture of the pose and the weight of the models slight forward lean. This is a simple drawing done in a hardcover Strathmore sketchbook with pencil.
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.
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.
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.