Exercise Essential elements

Aim of the exercise: To draw a sequence of six different poses lasting ten minutes each. To light the model so that the light hit just one side, to emphasise the three dimensional form. While remembering the basic shapes, to build up the different tonal values with hatching and broad sweeps of dark tone, leaving the white paper for the lightest tones. To draw the whole figure and not fiddle with detail.

What I experienced:

Completed 04/10/13. All the drawings are on A3 size paper and I used charcoal for all of them, as this was the only media that I felt gave me a sporting chance of being able to come close to doing the drawings in 10 minutes each. Though I stuck to the 10 minute limit, once again feeling that this was only fair to my model, I found that I struggled throughout to be able to draw quickly enough. Maria kindly agreed to model for me again and while sitting on the sofa, lit from one side, she changed position for each pose. For each drawing I blocked in the basic shapes that I could see, using the charcoal on its side, as I had done in the previous exercise, and then drew with the charcoal, putting in the darkest tones and using a putty rubber to lift out any of the lightest toned areas that had been covered when blocking in the basic shapes. As far as proportions went, I found all I could do in the time was draw by eye, visually checking reference points as I went, although not nearly as much as I would have liked to have been able to have done.

essential1tone_NEW essential2tone_NEW

essential3tone_NEW essential4tone_NEW

essential5tone_NEW essential6tone_NEW

I found that I didn’t manage to do more than show some of the basic tones, and I didn’t have time to do more than just suggest a background. I think that I got worse the harder that I tried and the 3rd and 4th poses are particularly badly drawn. With the 4th pose I became completely lost when trying to show the position of Maria’s legs. You would never guess from the drawings that I was drawing the same person and I am not sure who was more pleased when I finished the last drawing, me or Maria.

Once again Maria was an absolute brick while modelling and extremely good natured about the end results. It is, however, an aspect of figure drawing that I am finding very hard. If I draw a tree it is unlikely to upset anybody, whether it is a bad drawing or not. People looking at the drawing might think I am rubbish if it is bad, but the tree isn’t going to care one way or another. But if I draw a figure, and do it badly, or not as the person sees themselves, I could easily upset the person that I am drawing and I find that aspect a lot more worrying and I found that worry hard to shake during this exercise.

Things that I feel went well: That I drew within the time limit. This meant that I had to quickly observe as best I could and then go with the line, or area of tone, that I felt was right, there wasn’t time for hesitation. I tried not to fiddle throughout the exercise. These kind of exercises are certainly meaning that I am drawing faster and committing to a line much quicker and I am pleased that I managed to complete six A3 drawings. I tried to place the figures better than the previous exercise, and although I did not manage much of an improvement, I feel that it was a step in the right direction. To a certain extent, there is a feeling of 3 dimensional form to the figures.

Things that I feel did not go well: I found it difficult to draw quickly and accurately. I can draw quickly, or I can draw accurately, what I cannot seem to do at the moment is both at the same time. Hopefully this will come in time and with practice. I found both proportions and foreshortening difficult to capture quickly. I need more time to be able to consider those carefully at the moment, otherwise my depiction of them is decidedly dodgy. I was only able to indicate tone in a very basic way, finding I just did not have time for anything more. I found it difficult to ignore the worry of upsetting the model with a ‘bad’ drawing. I think this aspect was made worse by trying to work to a time limit that for me felt just too short. Once I started each drawing I found I was concentrating so hard on just trying to draw the figure, that there wasn’t time to worry, but I did find that at the end of each drawing I felt increasingly stressed as I worried over what my model would think when she saw them.

What I would like to do following this exercise: I will need to continue to work on proportions and on gaining a better understanding of foreshortening and how to show it successfully.  To continue to practice rapid figure drawings, as well as for some of the rapid drawings, concentrating on a particular aspect such as mass, light and shade, contour lines that follow form, etc as this will help me to develop those areas. Practice using other media for figure drawing as I have mainly used charcoal so far. To continue reading up on the subject and trying out the exercises and examples, from the books I read, in my sketchbook. To look at how other artists have used line, marks and tone in their figure drawings.

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