Figure Drawing Friday, January 4th 2019

5 minute sketch, from life, on 18×24 newsprint

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.

Anatomy study is critical. One of my favorite anatomy books is Figure Drawing: Design and Invention by Michael Hampton. I’ll do a review of this book in the future. I have two editions of this book. Both are fantastic! Check out Michael Hampton’s Blog here.

Figure Drawing Friday, On Saturday

20 minute figure drawing. 18×24 Strathmore (medium texture) drawing paper and graphite.

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.

This is a 20-minute drawing. I used Strathmore medium surface drawing paper. I really prefer Strathmore’s smooth surface drawing paper but I didn’t have any this time. Most stores regularly stock the medium stuff. Whenever my local art store has the smooth stuff, I usually but two or three pads at a time. I took a figure drawing workshop with Henry Yan three years ago and he recommended both smooth newsprint and smooth drawing paper for use with charcoal — at least for the technique he teaches. I’ve preferred using the smooth stuff ever since. His book is amazing.

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.