Exercise 51: Essential elements
Draw a sequence of 6 different poses, lasting ten minutes each. Look at darks and lights, shapes, weight, proportions, and foreshortening. Draw the whole figure, and don’t fiddle with detail.
I enjoyed the opportunity to work more quickly here – in contrast to earlier sections of the course, where I felt I was on a permanent go-slow! This could be due to being more familiar with the subject matter, from going to life drawing classes.
The first drawing (see above) went pretty well (apart from a slightly odd right foot). The weight on the right buttock feels believable, and I really like the left hand line of the body. Prior to this, I’ve struggled to get much tonal information into quick drawings, but it’s not too bad at all here.
The second drawing (above) looks a little peculiar, as I didn’t include any context, so it looks like the model was capering about, only lacking a pointy cap and a tin whistle. However, in reality, her right foot was actually on the ground, with her left leg bent, taking the weight of the whole figure. The left foot came out very strangely as I struggled to see it clearly.
I was pleased with the third sketch, following my initial apprehension at the pose. The stance reads well, and the roughly hatched shading makes sense. The hand on the chair was a last minute affair, so doesn’t really reflect the weight that was on it.
The fourth pose (above) was a tricky one – the position of the legs seemed complicated. I think I got them reasonably well, eventually – it would have been better had I included a cast shadow beneath the bottom, but time ran out. Also, I misjudged the scale slightly and chopped the end off the right foot.
The fifth drawing (above) was the most successful, I think (despite some narrowness around the right wrist). It was a lovely pose, and the tonal shading worked well. This one made me realise that my drawing has changed in recent months – I know this would’ve taken longer than ten minutes a while ago!
Tried out a charcoal pencil for the last drawing (above), and liked the soft quality it gave. The pose was an interesting one, with all the crossed limbs. I think I actually spent less than ten minutes on this one, as it was a little rushed towards the end. The tones read well, though.
In all, I would say these drawings were successful, especially given the time limitations. I feel I’m beginning to work more loosely, but with a long way to go. I’ve been doing a good deal of drawing independently of the course in recent weeks, and it seems to be having a beneficial effect. I do feel concerned at the time remaining for this course – there is a lot to be done in a relatively short period of time. The important thing, though, is to work regularly, trying out new approaches. I’m doing this increasingly, and feel something shifting…