Check and log: Proportions

Proportions collage

Have you managed to make a complete statement in this time? What were your main problems?

Yes, in terms of overall shape. The figures are all readable as such. The main problem was trying to measure ‘properly’, which I don’t normally do. The figures looked stilted as a result, and I’m not convinced my measuring was even all that accurate. I found it quite a confusing process, and feel inclined to continue measuring by eye (finding the centre point of the figure or scene before I start, and measuring comparatively from there on). However, I will persevere and see if I can improve when using a unit of measure (such as the head). I was also aware that I need to keep an overview whilst working, in order to relate the various parts of the body to one another better. Additionally, when working on the longer pose, I ran out of space for the feet! I think this was largely due to working with someone unused to modelling, so there was an element of unease at play, and I didn’t want to draw out the process any longer than necessary.

How well have you captured the characteristics of the pose?

Reasonably well, I think. The movements and gestures within each pose are clear. In the quicker poses, there wasn’t much time to focus on mood, but I think the figures have some animation.

Do the proportions look right? If not, how will you try to improve this?

In the main, yes. I notice that I go awry when feeling time pressure – for example, when drawing the longer pose, I saw that I had made the head too big for the body, and so restated that, but then when I saw that the upper body could do with being slightly wider, I left it as I didn’t want to prolong the sitting for the model. But for the most part, the proportions seem to have worked well. Continuing to note negative space is a vital part of achieving this.

What I am noticing, increasingly, is the dichotomy between technique and intuitive drawing. Having a natural inclination to fiddle and get bogged down in detail, usually resulting in tighter outcomes than I would like, I am keen to take a more instinctive approach. I believe that my inherent tendency to ‘correct’ will help me address any glaring errors in proportion, and think that the need to loosen up is the more pressing one. Obviously, I will keep an eye on proportions and measurements, though. I think the main thing for now is to concentrate on the main shapes and lines in a pose – to focus on what it is I want to convey about a particular pose or person, and to find the best way I can of doing that. My intention would be to bring intuition and technique together as I go along. Since doing the above exercises, I’ve found it helpful to begin a drawing by lightly sketching a stick figure, to ensure I can fit the subject on the page in the way I would wish – this also gives me an opportunity to loosely work out proportions.

In addition to aiming for a looser style, I find myself wondering how realistic I want to be…. how much detail is necessary to convey what I want to communicate? If I feel distortion would improve a drawing, should I follow that, rather than clinging to rigid ideas of proportion? Increasingly, I see how important it is for me to have a sense of space in a picture… to leave something left unsaid. Working in a way that suggests rather than illustrates seems to support that.