Life Drawing Class
Today’s life class introduced a new model to most of us. Annie is a very tall, statuesque figure with grace and poise with fantastic curves and lines – a pleasure to draw.
We started with the usual fairly quick poses of 5-7 minutes, perched on a chair back, standing leaning on
the chair and sitting on the chair. As is usual the first drawing is tight and static, but the standing drawing shows the lean and slight twist in the body with the weight firmly on the right foot. The seated pose was a little off proportionately but the weight of the figure is on the chair.
The next two poses were seated on a chair and on the floor. Standing at the side of the room I had a lot of foreshortening to contend with – I enjoy this challenge and it usually makes for a more interesting image.
The pose seated on a chair, with the model turned towards me showed fabulous long, curvy lines on the model’s right side which were very tactile to draw. I tried to vary the line strengths and use tone to help denote the foreshortening. However, today, hands are getting the better of me, I don’t think I managed to achieve success in a single drawing!
The next, seated on the floor was again a beautiful pose. Annie held her hand up in a most elegant way and I totally made it into a bunch of bananas. In my defence, I was concentrating on the back against the cushions, where the flesh was pressed and folded around the supporting structure. Again, tried to use a variety of line strengths.
The final long pose was around 40 minutes, I decided to move round to the other side of the model as I could only see one hand (and I obviously need the practice), plus the foreshortened, bent leg was more interesting to draw. Although I started out plotting the shapes in the space, as I drew I noticed that I needed to make the upper chest area longer, which resulted in slicing off the top of the head unfortunately. I had also decided to use coloured pencil which I hadn’t tried before in life drawing. This was probably the largest I would have wanted to draw in this media and although it was nice to be able to vary the line strength as with graphite pencil, I did find it limiting with regards to depth of tone.
As usual, with our classes, there was a specific objective or consideration as a theme. Today, we looked at cropping to make an image more readable, selective and/or attractive for want of a better word. We had a selection of pre-cut mounts to put over our drawings to experiment with the final composition. Although, we try to consider the placement of our subjects prior to beginning our drawings, there are inevitably instances where, another image can be discovered by selecting specific areas on which to concentrate, or, as demonstrated above, if you manage to get the placement wrong, you may be able to rescue this with careful cropping.
Below are some attempts to “crop” my drawings of today:
Here, I chose to crop in this way as the model appears to be looking off into the distance, so this gives her the space to do that.
This produced a nice diagonal design which leaves space for the image to “breathe” and allows the eye to follow around the space.
Well, yes, the ulterior motive is to cut out the awful depiction of the model’s hand, however, it also gives a pleasing diagonal design to the image and concentrates the eye on the flowing lines of the figure.
Two images from one. The first is again, an attempt to rescue the unsuccessful subject placement, it also helps give the model a support for her leaning pose. The edge of the crop almost appears to be the object she is leaning against. In the second example, an area is selected on which the viewer can concentrate and transforms the image from a landscape orientation to portrait.
This, again, was a valuable and timely exercise. It is something I will take into consideration for the preparation of my forthcoming assignment of two figure drawings. Of course, the concentration will be on form, structure, line and tone as appropriate but the placement of the figure in the space is also an important factor. I will look back at my still life drawings in my sketchbook as those arrangements on the page contributed to making the entire image more interesting.