Back to life drawing class

charcoal figure

charcoal figure, pre-class warm-up, 20 minutes

This week saw the return of life drawing classes. As it had been a while, I did a couple of warm up sketches at home first. The charcoal one (above) came out a bit murkier than intended, as I was using very lightweight paper which made it hard to smear or erase very well. It took me 20 minutes – at least half of which was spent trying to remember how to draw people! The 4B pencil sketch (below) was quicker – ten minutes.

8B pencil, pre-class warm-up

8B pencil, pre-class warm-up, 10 minutes

The class itself turned out to be larger than I’m used to. We began with a series of ten minute sketches, which served to show me just how rusty I was. Our instructions were to ‘just draw’ – i.e. not worry about measuring – using only a pencil.

4B pencil, 10 minutes

4B pencil, 10 minutes

For the first couple (above and below), we just drew however we pleased. I found I naturally began working out length, width and placement of the various parts of the body by using comparative measurements and looking at negative space, and I think this helped a lot with getting the figure right proportionally.

6B pencil, 10 minutes

6B pencil, 10 minutes

For the next drawing (below), we were told to use the side of the pencil nib (i.e. broad strokes). To enhance this further, I chose an 8B pencil. I can’t say I like the results, but the aim was to work in a less fixed manner, and it was a step towards that, at least.

8B pencil, 10 minutes

8B pencil, 10 minutes

For the drawing below, we were asked to use the pencil nib, but holding the pencil near the top (rather than in ‘handwriting’ mode). I liked this hold, even though I don’t think the drawing is that special.

6B pencil, 10 minutes

6B pencil, 10 minutes

The final two poses were half an hour each. Both featured the model lying on the floor, on heaps of cushions covered with a throw. In the first one (below), I like the contours of the body. I spent a long time looking at the shapes of the legs, especially – the angles around the knees and the hollow at the top of the thigh.

6B and 8B pencil, 30 minutes

6B and 8B pencil, 30 minutes

In the last one (below), I only vaguely indicated that there were cushions beneath the model, so it does look a little like she’s floating, as well as making her look like she had skinny shoulders – although there were slim, they were actually partially obscured where they had sunk into the cushions. Obviously, this was a highly foreshortened view, but I was relatively pleased with it (although I think the head was a bit too small). Again, I used negative space to work out the areas between the arms and the body, which helped to place the other parts of the figure (using comparative measurements again).

6B pencil, 30 minutes

6B pencil, 30 minutes

I’m hoping to have the chance to wield some charcoal next week!

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