This was only the second time working with my girlfriend as a life model and so it was a nice little exercise to introducing her to posing for me for longer periods of time.
I started with a practise sketch to get me used to drawing with charcoal on the large A2 pad. For this I let the girlfriend sit on the floor with her back against the bed. She lives in a studio apartment which is basically a bedsit. The proportions were out as there wasn’t much measuring going what I really wanted to know from this trial drawing was how well I was going to work with compressed charcoal on the large sheets of paper.
The introduction to this project pointed out ‘basic shapes are used to construct three-dimensional fundamental forms…The head is a sphere, arms and legs are cylinders, and the feet and hand are ellipses’ and with that I decided to puppetize my girlfriend.
With me being new to life-drawing I decided to start with a simple pose where there was only a slight twist in the central axis, this first pose with arms straight down, parralel to the edge of the paper helped me to ‘establish the bulk of the drawing in relation to the space around it’ as suggested in the brief.
The second pose was very similar to one that I didn’t do a great job on in the ‘Quick Poses‘ exercise but this time with ample time to measure, using the head as a marker and remembering what I learnt earlier that the head fit into the torso approximately 4 times to the seat of the backside on the seated figure, the results were satisfying.
My girlfriend is very small in height, just over 5 foot so for the next sketch I asked her to sit very close to the edge of the mattress so I could draw both her feet on the floor. I started by using a sanguine conte pencil but realised it was pretty permanent and couldn’t mess about with it as much as I could the Conte, the lines wouldn’t erase but it didn’t matter too much and I decided to go over it in Charcoal. The result of this gave me an idea for depicting movement which may come in handy later on.
I picked up the wrong stick of charcoal for this next drawing that was rather scratchy and almost impossible to smudge in with my fingers but I decided to keep going. This time I thought I would have a go at drawing a face, wish I hadn’t, not in this medium anyway. The girlfriend has an unusual face, she comes from Thailand’s most northern province and probably most northern town and she has a very ‘Thai’ face not like the Bangkok/Chinese faces I’ve been used to seeing over the last 15 years and so any attempt at a face would have to be in a medium that I could play around with.
Again I added a few more details toes, fingers, ankles but worked fast and kept the sketch nice and scratchy with squiggly hatching.
The last drawing was from a photo in hard pastel, I was teaching at the language center and popped upstairs to the art store where there were Nouvel Carre Pastels on sale and wanted to see what they were like and also needed to see what could be done in hard pastel in this part of the course.