15/08/14 & 07/09/14
You will do three drawings – one of the model standing, one sitting and one lying down. Spend between half and an hour on each pose. Look at attitude and movement of the figure before you start. Move around the model assessing which is the position for you to start to draw or ask the model to adjust their pose. Notice the centre of gravity, angles of the limbs and look for any foreshortening. Think about the skeleton beneath and the shape and form of the muscles. Make some very quick sketches and notes in your sketch book.
This exercise was split over a few weeks as I had to work with the availability of models. The first drawing, seated, is a friend who is also a member of a small art group I work with. Elaine kindly offered to pose for around an hour with a promise of regular breaks with coffee supplied.
Drawing One – Seated
I took advantage of Elaine writing up our subs for club day as warm up sketches.
I moved around her and sketched from different view points and angles.
1. Viewpoint sat on chair to rear and side
2. Viewpoint sat on floor looking up
3. Viewpoint stood at rear to side looking down
4. Viewpoint sat on chair front side
This afforded a visual memory and understanding of form before beginning a larger drawing.
Time approx 45 minutes.
Vigorous sketching of overall pose in black conte stick, working around the figure repeatedly. As the figure took shape, strengthened lines where tones were darkest. Added dark brown and white conte stick to block in tone – found that white conte picked up the colour beneath and it all became muddy and flat. Took putty rubber and knocked right back with broad sweeps diagonally, this gave the outline and a ground to work into. Again reinstated lines and dark tone. Used white conte pencil to pick out light areas. The white conte pencil was less prone to contamination from the base colours. Should have worked on the hands further as they are a little small.
Drawing Two – Standing
The remaining two drawings were done whilst on holiday. My husband, having been roped in for more modelling duties, was very tolerant of the standing preparatory sketches and final drawing. It was ideal as the weather was hot and sunny so he was wearing shorts, which allowed me to see muscle tone and structure much more clearly. The sketching and final drawing took around 1 hour 10 minutes plus “tinkering”.
We tried two different poses as below:
1. Leaning over the fence, noting weight distribution onto elbows which pushed the shoulders up and made the head sink into them. The weight-bearing foot was on the right and this was shown convincingly in the sketch, with a bend at the hip rather than the waist.
2. This pose was front on with model leaning back against the fence. Again weight was supported by the elbows but the shoulders were more relaxed, with both feet taking an almost even role in supporting his weight. This is indicated by the slight bend in both knees. There is more foreshortening in this pose, more muscle structure visible and therefore more interest. I decided to take this as the final pose.
As can be seen, the pose was adjusted slightly for the comfort of the model. Some similarities remain, ie it’s a front on view but the weight distribution is altered to one elbow with minimal support from the alternate hand on the fence. The feet are still fairly evenly supporting the weight as there is more of a lean of the upper body against the fence.
I have tried to vary the line strengths to help describe the tone, it was a very bright day with minimal shadow on the model’s left side. This proved a little problematic as initially the drawing appeared a little flat. Having put the drawing aside for a while, I returned to it and tried to analyse what was failing, it wasn’t until I photographed it and looked at it on-screen that I realised the tones needed adjusting. Whereas I was happy with the shapes, measurements and weight distribution, I realised that with the foreshortening I had omitted the tricks for bringing elements forward and pushing others back. By lifting out tone on the model’s right shoulder, it was brought forward, darkening under the left arm pushed it back and gave a more three-dimensional appearance to the torso as a whole. I added a subtle colour tint to the entire figure that lifted it substantially.
Drawing Three – Lying
I think this is the one Glyn was waiting for – lying on the sun lounger reading his book didn’t really feel like modelling, although I had to remind him not to switch hands over holding his book a couple of times. We had specific instructions for the lying pose this time:
With the third pose, laying down, position yourself at a slight angle to the head of the figure, so that you are looking down the model. Note the foreshortening before you begin to draw. Sit with the light source in such a way that you can easily observe the tones and shadows across the body to help emphasise the structure of the body.
Interestingly, as I had (as instructed) or so I thought, noted the foreshortening before hand, I concentrated on the length of the body from the shoulders down. It transpired that the head itself was the most foreshortened part of the figure, so this was attempted in the final drawing unpractised – I think I got away with it? As this aspect can be the most confusing when trying to assimilate what is seen and then communicating that via the brain to the drawing hand, I adopted a trick learnt in life drawing classes. That being not thinking of body, legs, arms etc but of landscape, hills and valleys. This concentrates the mind on the shapes and not specific body parts.
First of all, I was a little annoyed with myself for letting the foot go off the edge of the paper – if I had included the head in the prep sketch, this may not have happened – note to self!
Apart from that, I am pleased with the result. As mentioned above, the head was the most foreshortened part of the body, so it was important to describe the planes and surfaces I could actually see. I took my time, observed closely and drew carefully. I feel I’ve managed to show that I could see mostly the top of the head and achieved the slight tilt to the left, with the folds of jowl and neck merging. The model decided to hold the book with one hand this time, I didn’t argue – I think I had enough to contend with. We were asked to pay attention to the shadows and tones created by our light source, unfortunately, I couldn’t control the sun and the depth of shadow was minimal, but I hope I’ve described the scene as it was. This drawing and prep sketches took about 1 hour.