Exercise: Observing the Human Figure
Set model in comfortable and relaxed pose, sitting or lying down. Make sure there is sufficient light on both the subject and your working surface. As you’re concerned more with line than tone in this exercise the shadow cast by directional light is not a major concern.
As the only other living being in the house at the time was a spaniel (a stretch too far), I had to use myself as the model. This will be a common theme so have read through this section and made some notes on how I may accomplish the brief regardless:
- Material: conte stick
- Warm up 2-3 minute poses
- Longer pose 10 minutes maximum
As I seem to relate to scale and proportion better whilst standing, my warm up sketches are stood at the easel. As noted next to the drawings, I found the conte stick a little too thick for this size of sketch. Also, we are advised that the model should wear close-fitting clothes so that the form of the figure is discernible – the jeans and t-shirt I was wearing proved to be too baggy and impeded my view.
After a swift change into closer fitting clothes, it was much easier to see what I was drawing. I also decided to draw larger scale, although not quite at the scale that finally emerged, hence no feet! This was not a conscious decision, I just found to reproduce what I saw as faithfully as I could, I had to increase the size of the drawing. I am more used to A2 size, so although I didn’t quite manage it, it is good practice to try.
As the brief did specify that the model should be comfortable and either seated or lying, I cast around to see how this could be achieved. As the mirror was in the bedroom and it was “change bed sheets” day, there were pillows, a duvet and a throw piled up on the floor. I made a base out of the duvet, a couple of large pillows and fashioned a back drop from the throw tucked into semi open cupboards opposite the mirror. Then I had to work out how to actually draw whilst sitting down, I decided to cross one leg over the other and use this to support my A3 sketchbook, this worked fairly well except for covering part of my right arm and hand. It also made a more interesting pose, although comfort did not play a big part! To get around this, I had to put the sketchbook down and study the position of the arm and hand, and then draw from memory, this took a few attempts but just about worked.
NB: All notations at the time are next to the sketches.