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.
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.