Exercise 48: Quick poses
This exercise began with a series of 2 minute sketches (see above and below). Although I’ve had some experience of life drawing, I found these sketches felt stilted, possibly because I was working on a smaller scale than usual. (These sketches were done in an A4 sketchbook.) Also, I was making a conscious effort to plot the figure using the head as my measure. This was a different approach for me, as I tend to work by eye most of the time, not having had a great deal of success using the usual methods of measurement. I thought I’d try again though and, as previously, found it tended to stem the flow of the lines. The proportions themselves weren’t too bad overall, but the figures were less fluid than I would’ve liked. I’ll persevere a while longer (when I remember), but do feel drawings come more naturally when I rely on close observation and mental comparative measurements.
For this exercise, I worked from an online life drawing site, as I had no other model available. The site in question allows a 360˚ view of each pose, which I thought would be useful for this exercise. In the second picture (above), the left hand figure is wider than it should’ve been (especially the left leg) – this was because I was focusing on trying to get the length right, I think. One example of what I mean by feeling thrown by measuring in an unfamiliar way. Working in the way I normally do, I’m usually a bit more aware of relating one side of the body to the other, but I lost sight of that a little here.
As suggested in the course book, I resisted the urge to erase errant lines, instead working over them. I also began each figure somewhere in the middle, to see if it helped achieve a balanced and whole outline (with no lost feet or chopped off heads). That did work, although it confirmed that I tend not to enjoy drawing an entire figure. Over the course of the life classes I’ve done, I’ve come to realise that my preference is for moving in to the figure – finding the section that most appeals in each pose. However, it certainly won’t hurt to gain more experience of looking at the whole.
Next, I made a few 10 minute sketches (see above and below). Curiously, they look almost exactly like my 2 minute ones! I made very tentative efforts to include some tone – just enough to indicate the direction of the body in relation to the light – but found that trying to measure ‘properly’ slowed me down quite a bit. That said, the proportions are reasonable here, I think.
The neocolor sketch was a bit disastrous, largely because I tried to leave a thin band of light down the front of the torso… just not thin enough! It makes the middle section far wider than it was in reality. I was finding it hard to relax into this exercise, and it shows. Again, I think this was partly due to working small, but also to the strangeness of not doing these sketches in a life class setting. Association seems to play a strong part in these things. I’m sure once I get used to doing figure drawings at home, it’ll start to flow more freely. The best I can say for this one is that is has a sense of gesture. Moving on…
The final 10 minute sketch I did (above) has good and bad bits. Something odd occurred around the left hand side of her body, just under the right breast – the dark tone broadened it too much, I feel. Also, the left foot went awry, clearly. The neck look slightly wide, but it was flexing as her head was turned. Other than that, the proportions worked fairly well, and I liked the variation in line pressure.
One thing I did notice, interestingly, was that I found it much easier to stick to a given time limit for these drawings (whereas I’ve struggled to do so in other parts of the course). I’m sure this is because I associate life drawing with time restrictions. Association, again.
For the sake of comparison, I thought I’d include some recent life drawings done in similar time frames (using comparative measurement done by eye):
I really like the one above. I’ve noticed I’m particularly drawn to ‘curved in’ poses.
Many of these seem far more fluid than the ones I did in response to this exercise. Interesting.
Even the 30 second/1 minute sketches (above, done working from photos) have more life!
I’d like to try more blind drawing (see above) – also continuous line (see below), and drawing with the non-dominant hand.