Three Figure Drawings

UPDATED TODAY

At the moment I have access to models through a group that meets weekly, sadly there is no teaching element just access to a model for a couple of hours. It has been extremely worthwhile to have this access as I know not everybody does, consequently I have no control over the poses or timings. The majority of these drawings are based on life models with one or two from the Croquis Cafe on You Tube. Looking through my work I can see there is not a lot of standing poses and none longer than 10 minutes. For this reason I am posting several drawings for each category.

There’s a real mixture of drawings included here to try to give a range of the suggested poses, all are done in charcoal as obviously it works well when sketching fast. Some are better executed than others but some I have chosen some for their expressiveness.

Standing Pose

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As I’ve done several shorter drawings I created a slideshow. Generally I am happy with the results, overall I have tried to focus on the stance to make it convincing, trying to convey the shift in weight.

Sometimes it’s not possible to show the whole body as you can’t always see it but I hope I have the proportions correct, not always.

All of the standing poses are short timed poses, this must be easier for the models as our sessions are a couple of hours long, fortunately I do have longer poses for sitting and lounging.

Seated Pose

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The side view of the model on the chair is a quick sketch from the Croquis Cafe which worked quite well. The second one I chose for the marks I’ve made . Five minutes was just enough to add a head too, I don’t always manage that.

 

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Hopefully I have been successful in drawing the two different body types, sometimes the limbs can be a little thinner or shorter than desired but the torso usually works out fine. I always start with the shoulders and I think this works best for me, if I do the legs first then they tend to be longer than the torso.

 

The curvy model has modelled for a long time and I think this helps, she is always relaxed and comfortable in her poses. The other model is more angular and I find it challenging to draw her without making her look too muscular or masculine, I’m not sure I am always successful.

 

The drawing on the left is quite a successful drawing, the model is relaxed reading her Kindle and everything appears to be in proportion for once! This is probably one of my favourites. Perhaps because she is reading it seems to display a little of her personality too, it makes her more real to me because of it.

The one of the right appears fairly accurate although I think I have given her very tensed shoulders, whilst she does tense up to hold her poses I can’t remember how tensed they were. That’s probably something to look for in future, I hadn’t appreciated that I was able to add mood to the pose!

Finally yesterday I decided to try some colour and was relatively happy with them.

I was happy to try colour, I know I can be a rigid when it comes to materials but that’s because I want to master them. These are charcoal and chalk pastels. I had real problems with foreshortening yesterday so that’s something I need to practise. Just as well I am about to study faces too as that’s an area I can improve on. Both drawings seem convincing although perhaps the one on the left has more accurately caught her posture.

Lounging

Sometimes I think my quick sketches are better than the longer ones, there’s no time to think and just draw.

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2 minute sketch

Some of the finer details are lacking a little shape but the overall pose is pretty plausible

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5 minute sketch

.Using the croquis cafe for this 3 minute sketch I paused it for another 2 minutes trying to get the back right, it was tricky but I liked the pose so have included it.

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10 minute charcoal sketch

The proportions seem incorrect to me here, I have made her look much broader and longer in the torso. The right arm was problematic, there was a blanket on the ground which was too dark to make out the folds and ridges.

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5 minute sketch

This is really a quick scribble, not focusing on accuracy just quickly trying to establish a likeness.

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15 minute sketch

The angles of this caused me a lot of problems but, it gives a fair sense of a the pose. The upper torso seems better drawn than the lower, the legs were difficult to capture.

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23 minute sketch

Even though this was a longer sketch I could not get her face right. I think I have found this model harder to draw as she is more angular. There are a few problem areas, her right leg and arm, her neck is a little too long but the lounging pose is credible.

I don’t always enjoy the longer poses as I think I overthink them and then the drawing gets overworked, some of my better pieces are the faster ones.

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Stance

This is one of my very first life drawings and goes some way to capturing a standing pose. The details are not great.

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2 minute charcoal

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3 minute left handed in crayon

 

The following sketch was done holding two crayons at the same time in my left hand, my brain was fighting me all of the way:

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3 minute left handed sketch with 2 crayon simultaneously

I think it makes quite an interesting sketch.

Today I did a couple of sessions on the You Tube Croquis Cafe which has been recommended by other people on this course. It’s not the same as having the life model right in front of you but it is nevertheless good practice.

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1 minute sketches

I don’t think these are too bad considering the time constraints. The right hand one is probably better, the figure is more solid, the weight is on the right hip.

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2 minute sketch

Here, she is leaning her weight onto her left knee, resting on a cushion. Clearly some issues here but I think I caught the pose.

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2 minute sketch

I struggled with this one, it was meant to be a one minute sketch but I paused it for a little longer as it looked so incomplete. A few errors here in details but I thnk it just about works.

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2 minute sketch

There are some problems here with the upper part of the body but the lower part doesn’t look too bad! Although I didn’t have time to add whatever it was she is leaning on so that may look a bit bizarre. I am quite happy with the overall stance though.

Even though this is a challenging exercise, especially if you are using photographs or online video, it is a really helpful one and I think regular practice will lead to an improvement.

Essential Elements

It’s quite challenging to capture proportion and the three-dimensional feel but these two sketches go some way to attempting both. I like the first pose, perhaps because I was able to get the face in a loose way although she is floating a little. I like the twisted posture, I can feel the position quite well and the proportions aren’t too far off.

The second image I also like, I think I captured the volume of the body well and the proportions look good to my eye. The head is possibly too small as she had that turned so I need to look at the head closer going further.

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10 minute sketch in charcoal

This was quite a closed posture so was tricky to draw, there was a lot of crossing of limbs which was pretty challenging to know where to start! It was a tight pose and I have drawn it too small. I should have drawn her bigger, somehow in trying to capture it I have drawn smaller without realising. I’ve made her look a bit cross too but that’s because I am not good on the details yet but I am quite happy with the overall drawing. There are a few elements of error but overall I think it works because the pose is an interesting one.

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10 minute sketch

Normally I start the drawing from the head and shoulders but this time I decided to draw the legs first. As a consequence I have made them too long in length so I had to compensate by giving her a longer torso. However, I like the stance, and the turn of her head, in spite of the proportional errors I think I have captured her leaning posture, maybe the arms are not long enough but I think she looks quite elegant in my version!

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1o minute sketch in charcoal

I really like this sketch, I think I have captured a good pose, complete with foreshortened legs, which are always tricky! This model did a few yoga poses for us, she really was sitting this upright. There’s a little bit of confusion around her tummy and right arm but this paper does not erase well so there is a bit of smudging, but I don’t mind that. is her neck too long? I notice sometimes I don’t allude to the neck much so not sure if I am overcompensating or not looking properly, it’s hard to reflect on something that happened a couple of weeks ago but I should take the neck into consideration also.

I think this may give the best sense of the pose as it is quite straightforward, fairly simple but captures the essence of the pose perfectly. I didn’t overwork it either which can be a problem for me sometimes.

I missed my class this week so decided to try one of the online videos from the Croquis Cafe for a sixth pose. I was able to find a model posing for ten minutes. The first problem I found was that I needed to use a smaller pad (A4) to sketch from so I could see the screen well enough. I actually found this harder than drawing from life. I usually draw on A2 in class and I like the freedom to move, the smaller size does make me feel a little confined. I think it’s good practice though to try and draw on different sized paper from time to time.

I also chose to do a male model as I have only drawn females so far.

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10 minute pencil sketch

It takes a few quick sketches before you get the sense of the body so it took me a while to get the shape of the body here. Typically I don’t use an eraser as I am focused on finding the line, an eraser slows me down and distracts me.

The arms look different lengths, and I’ve lost his neck (this is obviously an area to think about in future, I’m only noticing it now as I’m writing up this exercise). This drawing is the one I’m least happy about it, I did find it harder than drawing from life. Before I launched into the ten minute sketch I should have done some two minute ones to get familiar with the body first.

It takes a little while to become accustomed to the models’ bodies so I think the model I have drawn most has been better represented here. I will get the opportunity to draw the male model in a few weeks’ time so I am looking forward to improving on my male figures!

Generally speaking I am happy with all of the poses, I think I have captured the movement and posture fairly well. I am enjoying this part of the course so far.

 

 

A Longer Study

In my life drawing class the longest pose available is thirty minutes so I am going to post a few that I have done.

This is a fifteen minute study, using charcoal, no erasing:

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15 minute charcoal sketch

I like this pose and I think I captured its characteristics quite well, it has the volume and presence that makes it a believable study. The proportions look good to my eye. I find that in class it takes a few attempts to get anywhere near the proportions and this was done after several quick studies.

A longer study of the same model, this time 25 minutes, also in charcoal:

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25 minute charcoal sketch

Whilst I am quite satisfied with the body, I encountered a few problems, the legs don’t look right, the model’s right knee looks too low and the left upper thigh doesn’t look right, the dreaded foreshortening has caught me out here. I did have a problem getting the chin right as she was looking down so the angle was difficult to recreate accurately, but I am happy that I managed to get some facial features in at all as I have been having problems with this area too. Feet are also challenging and her left foot looks a bit awkward here so plenty of things to work on but overall I think I have given a good sense of the pose of the body.

This is my longest study so far, which was for thirty minutes. My main aim here was to focus on proportions and line. I did not use an eraser but instead used a white compressed charcoal stick to ‘erase’ errors and highlight some areas.

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30 minute sketch in compressed charcoal

This shows improvement, I couldn’t see her right foot so well so that seems a little incorrect and I’m not sure I got the size of her head in proportion but I’m not far off so am pleased with my progress so far. It is a very challenging exercise as is there a lot to think about. I have a tendency to just launch into the drawing but I am trying to take time to look first, especially in the longer studies, and also pretend to draw the figure on the paper before committing with the charcoal. I think it is helping. I also found it quite helpful to place the shoulders first for some reason, and draw the torso before I do the legs. In another drawing I did the legs first and she ended up with super long legs, where I then had to lengthen the torso to make it look realistic! I need to do a bit more reading. I got a great book from the library called Anatomy Made Simple for Artists by Jonathan Freemantle which looks ideal for this topic.

 

Quick Studies

I was absolutely delighted to finally find a life drawing workshop after looking all summer. I had a two hour introductory workshop and afterwards was so happy to discover the tutor organised a regular life drawing session, so I can only hope to get some great experience from this.

We didn’t quite cover exactly what was prescribed in the instructions but more or less followed a brief of quick studies followed by longer studies.

This is a one minute sketch:

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1 minute sketch in charcoal

These sketches were all done in 2 minutes each:

 

Sorry for the bad quality images, I have such bad lighting for photography. The first one is in pink crayon so it very pale.

The two standing poses were a little more successful in representing proportions, the seated one is a mixture of sizes.

These were also two minute sketches from a different class:

 

 

Then two longer studies, both for ten minutes each:

 

It’s funny how changing the position leads you to making errors, the torso is too long in the lying down sketch and I didn’t have time to draw the blanket she was resting on.

The second sketch isn’t too bad considering the differing angles. The proportions are slightly better.

Two more from a later session:

 

There were obvious difficulties in getting the proportion right as this is new to me I tried not worry too much about the details but rather focused on getting the volume and general body shape right. I really tried to observe well before drawing and also look at the model a lot whilst drawing. I haven’t really considered planes before but I did encounter a few problems with the different body shapes. Am so grateful though that the models are so different, they have different bodies but are both so great to draw. The models have blown me away with their posing skills, it has been such a great experience.

Life drawing clearly requires lots of practice so I am trying to attend this informal class weekly, going forward I will need to learn how to do hands, feet and faces and also foreshortening is going to be an issue!

 

Drawing Fabric Using Line and Tone

I was quite relieved to change subject matter after a prolonged part three that raised mixed emotions that I am still battling.

The first drawing I used pencil, 2B, to attempt to capture the folds of a tablecloth.

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15 minute sketch in 2B pencil

It was difficult to just use line, although that was what I did. Not a bad attempt, I got a little lost in some of the folds which I found confusing and hard to follow, I tried to capture  too much in fifteen minutes and would have been better to concentrate on fewer folds perhaps. I need to simplify somethings as I am battling to draw everything I see.

For the second sketch, I used conté stick and I was allowed to shade this time.

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15 minute conté sketch

This was more successful but I confess I did try to simplify the folds a little as the first one was a little complex. It was easier to use tone to define the folds than just line.

I then spent about half an hour drawing six different versions using the 8cm square boxes and different materials.

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5 minute sketches in assorted media

Working from top left to right, I used 2B pencil, then vine charcoal. Middle row conté stick then soluble graphite. Bottom row graphite stick and brush pen. I quite enjoy drawing fabric, and like the conté stick and charcoal but perhaps the most surprising outcomes were the brush pen. I have been somewhat fearful of drawing with ink and had varied results but was satisfied with this outcome. I had to work on using line more and be careful not to make errors. I also enjoyed the soluble graphite. Using the different media was good for me and I should do this more.

I think I have managed to create volume in the folds of the fabric, although I used the same tablecloth throughout. I have enjoyed drawing textured things in previous exercises and assignment two so I don’t find this too difficult, rather the opposite.

UPDATED:

I don’t feel happy with my recent work and decided to take another look at it and was disappointed with it. I feel I can do better but have lost some motivation. I’m genuinely not sure if the format of this course is pushing me enough, I suspect I would learn better in a classroom situation.

I decided to work into the conte drawing some more and so this is the newer version. I find it hard to finish the drawings to my satisfaction in the limited time. Yes, I could spend hours on them but that leads to frustration about how long it takes to get through them and obviously means less time for the assignments. I prefer to give myself longer on the assignments which may mean that the exercises suffer sometimes but that’s the dilemma.

Anyway, here is my updated version

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updated version

One of my problems is probably being too literal in interepreting the exercises and rigidly adhering to instructions, I need to work on that.

Foreground, Middle Ground, Background

I pass this spot everyday and noticed that it had definite divisions between the back, middle and foreground so it seemed ideal for this exercise. The view is from a country road so I worked from a photograph, deeming this to be the safest option.

I loosely sketched the scene in willow charcoal before using chalk pastels to work on the background of trees and clouds. This wasn’t too bad. I used a blue pastel and charcoal to add some definition to the trees, just to give them a loose shape and slight tone. I actually didn’t spend too long on trees or the sky as I am very aware that I overdo it with too many strokes so was trying to be gentler on the scene. I used blue in the trees as I know it is a colour that recedes.

I ventured onto the middle ground, with more detail and slightly muted colours. The colours and shapes can be softly smudged to get that slightly out of focus look. The hardest part was by far the immediate foreground, I found it hard to focus on just one area when you are taking in so much information.

On the foreground I used brighter, more vibrant colours and tried to show more detail, I also drew them larger to make them stand out in order to be the main focus.

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country field in chalk pastels and charcoal

 

I think this is reasonably successful although lacking a bit of finesse! The background and middle ground work well enough but it was hard to draw the finer detail of the wild flowers in the front. However, I think the sharper focus as the front of the image makes it work in terms of perspective. It’s hard to show the direction of the light as it was overcast and there was no obvious direct sunlight, there has been a severe lack of that this summer!

 

Developing Your Studies

Reading the introduction to project 3 was a light bulb moment, precisely why I have found landscape so challenging is because I have been overwhelmed with information! Every time I draw outside I am struggling to condense what I see into the limitations of what I can draw on a piece of paper. Putting this into words has helped me, no wonder my brain felt like it was going to explode, it was in sensory overdrive. Photographing scenes and looking at them on screen, and going back and looking at the original scene has helped, as has using a viewfinder.

I’m not exactly sure what I am going to draw in a larger drawing, based on the drawings from project two so, at this point, it seems to make sense to select elements of the ones that appeal to me.

Even though the cloud formations were difficult to draw, I really like clouds so clouds should form a part of my drawing. To recap, here are my three drawings:

From the sketchbook walk:

360° studies:

 

Considering composition, I like the sketches with the paths although the bench is interesting because of the diagonals, the plant pots on the patio are also interesting for the same reason. There are problems distinguishing background, foreground and middle ground so I need to work more carefully. I would say that I haven’t quite found the right composition yet, I need to consider verticals, horizontals and diagonals. Leading the eye around needs consideration.

I feel like I have drawn a lot of trees, which is fine, that has been enjoyable but at the moment I don’t think have found what I am looking for. I think I need to go and look at more open landscapes, perhaps a visit to the seaside is in order, next time there is a dry day. Perhaps also some mountains. Just so that I can compare with the closed landscape I have drawn so far.

In conclusion I need to consider different subject matter, perhaps the coast and/or mountains. Also, I feel the need to draw a more simplified drawing; I can be quite heavy on the mark making and it feels like a good time to experiment with a more minimal approach, perhaps even verging on the abstract, that would be an interesting exercise.

360° Studies

I swear the weather Gods are against me, every time I step outside, loaded with drawing gear, the heavens open. As a result I have been working from photos, which I know is not the same, but in order to get going on this part I need to move on!!

I feel like I am struggling with part three and I’m not sure exactly why. However, using compressed charcoals I attempted  my first drawing:

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fork in the road, compressed charcoals

I really struggled with this drawing and I can’t fathom why, I didn’t enjoy making it and can’t say that I am enjoying Expanse in general but this feels like quite a negative drawing. Maybe it’s just a funk or maybe nature is not for me, I’m can’t say.

Second drawing:

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lone tree in compressed charcoal

Perspective is an issue with the road on the left, the horizon is wonky, everything is at a slant so not the most successful sketch.

At this point I decided to abandon the compressed charcoal and try regular willow charcoal:

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graveyard wall in willow charcoal

This felt a little easier to draw, perhaps because I am more comfortable with the willow charcoal than the compressed? The shapes are recognisable, the horizon is straighter and I think it has more character than the previous two.

Finally, the fourth in the 360° series:

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wooded path in willow charcoal

I decided to try a slightly different style here, to use less strokes as the first in this series was very dark. It has lightened it a little. Not an exciting series I’m afraid. Perhaps my mood has been affected by the consistently bad weather here and also my return from a fortnight’s vacation. Hopefully next week will be better!