Aim of the exercise: Using different drawing tools to do three drawings, one of the model standing, one sitting and one laying down. Spend between half and an hour on each pose. Make general observations in sketchbook of centre of gravity, angles of limbs, foreshortening etc and also some two minute sketches of the model before starting the longer pose.
On 21/10/13 I started with the sitting pose using the preliminary sketches in my A4 sketchbook to help me to get a feel of the pose and decide on position to draw it from. I would need to concentrate a bit more on the chair next time as in the top right drawing in the sketchbook particularly the chair looks decidedly odd. I then used A2 paper for the rapid sketches doing one in line and one in tone.
Following these I drew the final drawing on an A2 piece of mid-toned pastel paper, using charcoal and white chalk. I tried to keep in mind what my tutor had said about trying to be less reliant on line and utilised light against dark tones and lost and found edges where I could. I worked on capturing the foreshortening as best I could and found trying to visualise the structure and anatomy underneath the clothes helpful for this.
On 23/10/13 I started working on some preliminary drawings of a standing pose. I did some quick sketches in my sketchbook to get a feel for the pose and any foreshortening. As in a previous exercise, my model found it difficult to stand for more than a few minutes, even with leaning on something, so I have shortened the time for this drawing and will return and draw a longer standing pose when I can. I drew several quick sketches on A2 paper using various media: charcoal, conté crayon, pastel and pencil.
I found that I remained looser with soft media such as charcoal and tightened up considerably when I used pencil. I tried to capture the uneven distribution of weight through the hips and general pose. All are very linear and even with the last pastel drawing, where I tried to use tone more, there is still, very much, a linear element.
Initially, with my model only being able to stand in one place for a few minutes, I was going to do a rapid tonal drawing, using a soft media on its side, for the final drawing. However, after looking at the preliminary drawings I decided to actually go with line, aiming for the challenge of avoiding my pretty flat outline that I often draw and trying to show form with a continuous line drawing. I chose to use a felt tip (stabillo point 68), a medium that I would just have to go for it with, while being smooth enough that it would not catch on the paper, using A2 paper and with my model choosing the colour of the felt tip to draw her with. I enjoyed giving this a go and, in the time available, I feel that it has worked quite well, although more line strength variation would be better for another time.
Later on in the day I started on the laying down pose. The instructions for this were that we were to position ourselves at a slight angle to the head of the figure so that we were looking down the model. I drew a sketch in my A4 sketchbook to help me to get a feel for the pose and then drew a couple of quick sketches on A2 paper, one in tone with line added and one in continuous line drawn with a Uniball eye pen.
I had taken longer with the sketchbook drawing than the rapid A2 and it appeared to give a better indication of the pose than the rapid drawings.
After a break my model got herself back into position. For the final drawing I decided to experiment with A2 black pastel paper with white pastel/conté crayon and added grey pastel. I drew initially with a white pastel pencil to establish structure and foreshortening and then tonally with white conté crayon and a conté soft white pastel. I found this a challenging pose to draw but enjoyed giving it a go, although perhaps I should have positioned myself further round to have increased the sense of foreshortening.
What I feel went well: I think that I am showing a little improvement in capturing the stance of a pose. I also feel that there is some improvement in my ability to understand and show foreshortening, although I still have a long way to go with this. What I have learnt, while doing the research point, was helpful in helping me understand better the structure of the body and what was going on beneath the skin, even though I found it more difficult to imagine under the clothes. I am pleased that I am continuing to try and work on larger sized paper and I am also trying to get used to working at an easel so that the paper can be more upright to help reduce distortion. I enjoyed trying the continuous line drawing and feel it worked quite well.
What I do not feel went well: I found it very difficult to place the figures on the paper, particulary when doing the rapid drawings, where I have tended to start right at the top of the paper. I am still finding it difficult to draw more than the basics for an hour pose. Even with having done the preliminary drawings I am still finding it difficult to draw enough in the hour and the backgrounds are only very sketchily indicated because of this. Hopefully this is an aspect that will improve with more practice. In the sketchbook preliminary drawings for the sitting pose the top three look as if the chair is tipping the model out. I will need to draw the chair and its relationship to the model much more carefully next time. I feel that I have not been very successful with the shading on either the sitting or laying pose, being particularly heavy handed and clumsy when I worked on the laying pose. I am still struggling to get proportions right and you would be hard pushed, in a lot of the drawings, to even know that I was drawing the same person. I am also often drawing the head size either too big or too small. My mark making could have been much more imaginative and my use of tone much more effective.
What I would like to do following this exercise: I would like to look at how other artists have used mark making within figure drawing, as well as their use of tone and line and practice some of the methods. I will need to work on not rushing in with a 2 minute drawing, but take a moment to consider placement on the paper. I will also need to try a wider range of approaches to the rapid drawings so that I start to utilise a variety of methods for line and tone, rather than the outline line that I am tending to draw at present. I am still finding drawing the model quite stressful and will need to work on finding a way to relax more with this. I tend to enjoy attempting the rapid drawings but find it harder to relax with the main drawings. As good natured as my model is, I do feel that there is a limit to the number of times that I can draw her badly. I will need to work on finding ways of coping with this aspect better. I have just started reading Drawing and Painting People The Essential Guide which is edited by Jeffrey Blocksidge and Mary Burzlaff and it has some good information of the use of both line and tone in figure drawing and I think it will be very helpful in addressing some of the difficulties that I found while doing these drawings.