I spent a couple of days trying to find a white sheet for this exercise, which believe it or not is actually quite difficult in Thailand because all the bed clothes are usually a patterned quilt and sheet set. I thought about a towel but I didn’t think a towel would be crisp enough so I decided to go with the two orange pieces of cloth that I bought last year and had used in several exercises. Being the cloth that they use to make the monks robes out of and using the girlfriend as a model, this was always going to be controversial.
In the last research point an Anatomy Drawing I mentioned a free e-book I downloaded ‘Human Anatomy Drawing for Artists’, in it I came across ‘The Arm of Saint Peter’ by Leonardo da Vinci, where Leonardo ‘uses folds like curving cross-contour lines to describe the cylindrical forms of the arm’ – Dan Gheno, a study that was influential in the next three drawings.
For the first drawing the model was laid on the floor, feet towards me with her head and hands on a bolster pillow, this helped me to draw a partial outline., curving from the elbow down to the waste ‘A figure drawing must first be outlined or suggested before it can be properly drawn’ – George Bridgman. After suggesting the figure, I drew in the outline of the cloth and began hatching with cross-contour lines to describe the box shapes of the chest, waste and hips.
The second drawing was a tonal study which I( drew from the first drawing not from life, in white pastel on black paper. I was going to draw over the top of this in orange pastel and decided I would do the next drawing in orange on coloured pastel paper…again.
The third and final drawing was in orange and brown pastel with the model in a sitting up position, which was not the best of drawings but it does show off the models figure under the robe cloth and like the other two drawings,
‘Fabric with line and form’, don’t know how I missed that bit. I read it several times as well as in the brief but when it came to the exercise I did two 15 minute sketches using hatching. I can see why we were asked to do it in ‘line only’, so that we would notice the patterns, repetitive folds and the types of folds appear in the cloth.
In his book A Complete Guide to Drawing from life George Bridgman proposed that there are laws of folds, Diaper, Zig Zag, Pipe or Cord, Half Lock, Drop, Spiral and inert, several of which were quite noticeable in the 2 pieces of Monk’s robe cloth that I screwed up and placed on a stool on top of each other.
In the first drawing the types of folds that are most obvious are zig zag, half lock and spiral, with the Zig Zag’s repeating across the surface of the cloth.
In the second drawing which I drew from the other side and at a distance in charcoal these folds were not that obvious and I found myself drawing the inert folds, and I think, half lock.
I kind of cheated for the next part of the exercise, the brief told us to make 5 minute drawings in 5 cm boxes mine were closer to ten centimetres. All of which were 5 minutes apart from the orange pastel on coloured paper which took just over 10, because I got carried away. Again you can see most of the folds that Bridgman described in his book including ‘Pipe’ in drawings 3 and 5 which are almost the same section of cloth.
How accurately did you depict the overall proportions of the figure?
There was only one drawing where the proportions weren’t that accurate and that was the first drawing for the standing pose in the Three Drawings Exercise. I made a second attempt at the drawing and was completely satisfied.
For all the other drawings in this exercise, I feel that I managed to depict the overall proportions of the figure, very accurately.
Did you try to imagine the sitters skeletons and muscles?
Yes I did, but the skeleton and muscles weren’t that obvious in the the three drawings exercise, mainly because the figure was clothed. I have not had that much chance to draw nude figures as it’s the school holidays and the kids have been about while I am drawing but I have chose clothing that still allows me to see the shape and limbs of the subject, which has helped a lot.
Did imagining underlying anatomy help convey structure and form?
Yes, very much so, particularly in the shoulders, chest, hips and arms. Anatomy is a subject that I would really like to continue to learn about and I have enjoyed reading through books on the subject such as Bridgman – A Guide to Drawing From Life and Burne Hogarth – Dynamic Anatomy.
When I saw this research point coming up I already had ideas and when I finally got here everything started to fall into place. The human anatomy is such a massive subject and I knew that I wouldn’t be doing a full anatomical drawing as I didn’t want to get stuck in a hole researching for days, so I decided to focus on my favourite part of the human anatomy, the back.
Firstly, like anatomy drawings by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, a lot of the works by artists in the free e-book are on coloured paper and so I decided that this drawing would be a drawing in Conté Crayon on coloured pastel paper similar to the paper that I had used in Assignment 2 – Observations in Nature. I had used Conté pencils before but not the sticks that I had bought from Silpakorn University, over a year ago now, before I started this course.
I had to start somewhere and so the same night that I downloaded the free e-book I took my camera to my girlfriend’s apartment and after a short debate I decided that it would be my back that I would be drawing and so we did a session in the gym, followed by a dip in the pool to ‘get a pump on’ so that I could get some muscle definition showing in the photographs.
I had quite a few photographs taken in the gym and in the shower at different angles…from the left-hand side, from the right-hand side, arms stretched out at the side, arms at the front, arched back etc. Eventually I found the right photograph for the drawing, a photograph that would help me see where the main muscles and bones were.
After choosing a good photograph for this research point I made a quick pencil sketch in my A4 sketchbook and then did a search for some anatomical drawings of muscles and bones. After discovering 2 great books ‘Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy‘ and ‘Bridgman’s Complete Guide To Drawing From Life‘ downloading them both in PDF format and having a quick browse through, I went back on line and looked for Anatomical Drawings of back muscles.
I found a good image in a similar pose to mine depicting the major back Muscles – www.physioadvisor.com.auand then remembered a quote that I read in the free e-book by by Dan Gheno earlier ‘ A helpful exercise is to first draw the figure in simple, flat silhouette form. Then, try to superimpose your understanding of the bones within’. However, instead of trying to superimpose my understanding of the bones within I decided that I would try and superimpose my understanding of the major back muscles.
On a thick tracing paper I used black and sanguine Conte pencils as well as my Derwent Chinese white pencil to quickly sketch in the major muscles over the preliminary drawing below. The end drawing wasn’t perfect but it was a start. From here I enlarged my drawing onto the coloured pastel paper.
The drawing on tracing paper looked more like a space suit from the ‘Riddick’ movies than anything else so before I committed myself to the final drawing, which actually at this point, I didn’t know would be an ‘in the flesh’ or muscle drawing, I had to do a bit more research.
Fortunately for me the back seems to be the anatomy artist’s favourite subject, as the back plays a significant part in human society and is the largest part of the human body and so finding good anatomical drawings of the back muscles in full display is not difficult, particularly the first layer of posterior torso muscles which is all I really wanted at this stage.
I found a great website www.medical-artist.com that had some great illustrations on so between the site and Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy I was able to check whether or not my earlier drawing and superimposed muscle drawing were correct.
It was time to start on the bigger drawing so I enlarged the smaller drawing onto an A2 sheet by drawing a grid and then drew my outline. I started on the left hand side with white and brown conte sticks, drawing the creases of the flesh by taking the colour off with a putty rubber to depict muscle tone.
As I crossed over onto the left hand side it was easier to see how I would be able to work in the muscle lines in order to make it look like a dissection drawing. This time the muscle drawing was more anatomically correct but it took more colours than what I expected, working with brown and white Conte sticks plus Sanguine and Black Conte pencils.
When I finished the drawing, I thought maybe I should label the muscles by numbering the muscles and then writing the name of the muscles in a key, top left to show some understanding of the muscles drawn. However, so as not to ruin it, I decided to keep it as it is.
How well have you managed to capture the pose? what could be improved.
I think I did really well with capturing the pose throughout the project. However I do think that I could have done better to capture the feeling of the pose. Maybe experimenting with different mediums on different types of paper especially in the ‘Stance’ exercise. could have helped me do this. Since working on these two exercises I discovered ‘Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life’ by George W. Bridgman, which I will be reading and hopefully it will help me get more ‘drama’ into the pose.
Do you think the figures balance, if not where did you go wrong?
All but one of my figures balance and that is the first drawing of the model in tree pose, where I centered the entire model. I then redrew the model looking for areas where the model was balancing.
How did you go about conveying a sense of energy?
I explored a few different ways of conveying a sense of energy, I started by sketching really quickly with a 6B pencil and Conte pencil, focusing on poses that would help me capture the model in ‘action’. In went back to these and added swoosh lines as I wasn’t quite happy with them.
From there I went onto drawing the model in ballpoint pen going over and over the figure with more and more lines,
I experimented drawing moving body parts by hatching from side to side over where the body part should be in a rough blurred shape.
I roughly sketched the figure in a lighter felt tip pen and then went over in a black felt tip pen hoping to convey a sense of energy in that the model would look like she was in motion.
Last but not least I drew very quickly with a ballpoint pen in action poses.
The brief for this exercise was to ‘ Look for the center of gravity in a standing figure. Mark the central axis in your sketches’ and to ‘ change poses every 2-5 minutes’. I divided my A4 sketch book into three panes so i could work smaller and so keep within the 5 minute time frame. Unlike the previous exercises, in this exercise I started from the head down and once I thought the head was in the correct position marked the central axis, which the brief pointed out was from the back of the ear on a side pose, the top of the spine for a back pose and for a front pose started at the top of the head and run down the bridge of the nose.
After drawing the head and then marking the central axis I worked to it as a guideline. The benefits of working this small was that I could capture the stance quite well plus add some detail while working within the time frame. The negative side is that when enlarged the drawings are very sketchy.
The first three drawings took closer to 2 minutes each while 4-6 were closer to 5 minutes and it shows.
Having got confident drawing he different basic stances by now I decided to get a bit more daring with the next 3, hands overlapping behind the head an back twisting to one side in the first two, and the third drawing bending over with one hand on the left calf. This third drawing wasn’t the most difficult nor did it take the longest to draw but it was the most awkward and I wasn’t completely satisfied at first but looking at it now the proportions and stance are perfect it just felt strange to draw what seems like a triangular form.
On the 4th and final page of stances I went for a pose that was a true test to see if I could draw the correct center of gravity…The tree pose. My first attempt would have had the model falling over, while my second attempt was close to spot on, with the knee of the standing leg pushed out to center the weight. Last but not least was the model drinking a class of beer from the back and I even managed to get in some back muscles. I have noticed there is an anatomical drawing coming up and I think back muscles on the right model would be great for it.
It is the big summer holidays in Thailand due to the fact that April is the hottest month ever, anywhere in the entire universe, so from March to May the kids are off. My two daughters are quite energetic when they are together and getting excited because they’re coming to mine, even makes them more so, so barring the weekend when they come over to mine in the summer holidays I usually take them one at a time. My 5 year old was practising dancing for the school show so it was my 9 year old’s turn to come over for a few days.
My oldest daughter Angel is very quiet when she’s by herself as I think she actually likes the peace and quiet my gaff has to offer so when I asked her to model for me she didn’t complain, as long as she could go in the bedroom play with her tablet and ‘listen to’ the TV afterwards.
Now the brief for this exercise was to draw a sequence of poses lasting ten minutes each…Adjust the light so it hits only one side of the model, to emphasize the darkest and lightest forms.
I’m afraid on the first drawing, sketching my daughter in her T-shirt only took about 5 or so minutes but then I spent about another ten minutes going overboard with the sofa as I really feel it needed some darker areas. This time the drawing was done on charcoal in my A4 sketch book as I wanted to see how much control I had with this medium on a small size sheet of paper in the given time frame.
My daughters legs are very long and she is quite tall for her age but she looks a lot taller in this drawing, her body should have been shorter.
My second drawing was done on an A2 sheet of paper and again their was too much light shining on her so I filled in some of the background. Now in an earlier exercise we were instructed from the waste, I misjudged this and had to cut the top of her head off. However, I wasn’t going to start again as I really liked the finished drawing, the only problem I had with it was it was all sweeps of dark tone and no hatching.
The third drawing was a lot more satisfying, this time I sat her on the front of the sofa watching the TV with the light directly on her upper-chest region. In ten minutes I managed to get all the drawing done complete with swoops of dark tone and hatching, the only problem I have with it is her calf looks two short, this is because her legs are at an angle which you can tell by the position of her feet but I didn’t do to well with the dark and light to depict this.
Like the third drawing, the fourth drawing was again very satisfying, this time she sat on the corner of the sofa facing away from me, there was more light shining on her but like the last drawing I managed to use a few mark making techniques to build up the different tonal values and this time it actually looked like my daughter. At first I was worried about just drawing 1 leg but then I remembered Degas’s Lying Nude and how the mind fills in the rest.
Moving away from charcoal I decided to do the next drawing in a bluey grey hard pastel to see if I could build up the different tonal values in a not so heavy medium. I had done the last two seated drawings on A3 Paper as it was easier to relate to that size paper with those two seated poses but with this pose I decided to go back to A2 paper as this pose was mostly head and a long back, still I didn’t judge the proportions right and the drawing could have filled more of the paper up.
I went back to charcoal on A2 for the final drawing and if the profile looked anything like my daughter I might have been somewhat satisfied but looking at the second picture then looking at this one you can see how the legs are too short and the head looks big, I’m not sure whether it’s the angIe am at or I started out to broad.
It was a nice refreshing change after the last assignment to do some quick drawings so I went into this exercise feeling quite optimistic. I had already done some quick 2 minute and a 10 minute sketch at school in my last sketch book from a life drawing site, so I was eager to get on with it. I was lucky to have my girlfriend come to visit me as she is a yoga teacher and a very willing model.
We left the yoga poses alone for now and just started with some simple poses, that turned out to be not so easy. Like I said earlier I did some quick sketches at school from a life drawing site and they really were quite easy. It was very different with a model stood in front of me swaying about.
I did as the brief said and started out drawing from the middle of the body then out to the head and feet and used the black end of my Mars Lumograph pencil for measurement.
The most challenging thing for me here was finding a pose that I could actually I draw and trying different mediums made me realize just how rubbish I actually was at figure drawing. I had always worked from memory or photographs when drawing the human body.
An other big problem I had at this stage was drawing my girlfriends profile and any of her facial features. So at this stage I scrapped even trying to draw facial features and went for drawing the outline of the face.
After experimenting with different mediums (graphite pencil, black Conte and Sanguine Conte ) I went back to drawing with a 3B pencil until I got my confidence up.
After 6 x 2 minute drawings I settled for a seated pose for the girlfriend for two reasons, 1 because she was doing a fair bit of wriggling and 2 because I didn’t want to put her off posing for me in future exercises.
I completed 2 x 10 minute drawings in graphite pencil and compressed charcoal, which I was quite pleased with as they did actually look like my girlfriend in shape and height.
From there I started to do a bit of experimenting trying 1 continuous drawing in felt tip pen which the girlfriend was quite pleased with as it made her look slim.
From measuring while drawing and also measuring after drawing with lines on the sketches I found that the girlfriend’s head fit into her body four times to the bottom of the backside in a seated position if the girlfriend is willing to help me on future exercises then this knowledge will come in quite handy.
The following drawings were drawn using a life drawing site while I was at school just before the summer holidays.
I have no idea what kind of tree I drew in the last exercise ‘Sketching an Individual Tree‘ but my subject for this exercise was very interesting. In the same ‘Trees in Literature’ section of the park was a Banyan tree, and this one was a wonderful example.
The Banyan Tree
The Banyan tree or ‘strangler fig’ is the national tree of India, it is pollinated by fig wasps and then the seeds are dispersed by fruit eating birds. If the seed is dropped on soil it is unlikely to survive but often the seeds are dropped on branches of other trees, where they germinate and send roots to the ground. The strangler fee often envelops part of the host tree and is also known to starve the host tree until it has rotted away inside.
The tree in Chatuchak park had been well and truly taken over and it looked to me like the strangler fig was squeezing the host tree so tightly that the tree had been deformed by it’s grasp, with the branches of the host reaching out in every direction as though they were desperately reaching out for help.
The sun was behind the tree facing me and so the tree was quite dark which was great because I got to use some wonderful tones and like the previous drawings of my alien tree in the last exercise the finished drawing came off looking quite ‘bio arty’.
I started with a 6B pencil and then realised after about an inch of drawing, that the 6B pencil on the more toothy A3 sheet I was using, was far too smudgy and so quickly changed to a 4B pencil.
I began by drawing the outlines of the branches in the top left hand corner of the paper and then drawing in the leaves with a squiggly line technique and from their I moved onto the texture of the branches and then did the same with the top right hand corner working my way down to the tree trunk. This was to make sure I didn’t smudge anything with the palm of my hand. Finally I worked my way to the roots of the tree through the tree trunk.
With the sun being behind the tree I had to try and depict the sun shining through the tree branches and leaves in some way. I tried doing this by drawing the leaves more lightly on the right hand side. I was going to drag my putty rubber lightly over the top from the center of the leaves outwards in a star shape but then forgot and sprayed the drawing with hair lacquer too early.
Most of the leaves that are in the drawing are not on the tree itself but rather on the trees around it with the host tree being practically bare but I wanted to use the branches of the Banyan tree to frame the life of the other trees above and behind it. The reason why I did not do a full background to the drawing was that it would not have done the tree justice plus I wanted to make it look like the life within the branches was spilling over through the roots of the fig hanging off the branches.
How did you use a limited colour palette to create a sense of depth?
Firstly I chose three colours that I knew would go well together, chocolate brown pastel pencil, Black and Sanguine Conté pencils and a Derwent Chinese white drawing pencil. I used the three colours together to create a sense of depth when drawing the trees then on the buildings, shadows etc. I used the pencils at different pressures to create light and dark tones. The Chinese white helped to relieve the colour if I put too much pressure on on the first attempt. Hatching and cross hatching also helped me to take the colours even deeper.
Did your preliminary sketches give you enough information for your final pieces of work?
Undoubtedly yes, they also helped me to eliminate details that I did not need and simplify more difficult parts of the buildings and scenes for the final pieces.
Would you approach this task differently another time?
Yes, most definitely scale is one thing I am very aware of and I believe that all buildings in the drawings are to scale.
Have you captured the colour and atmosphere in your drawings? How did you do this?
In the pencil sketches I think I captured the atmosphere quite well with use of shadow. As I said in the ‘A sketchbook of townscape drawings exercise’ it was a fresh morning and with the shadows cast from the trees around the temple it reminded of me of a road near my home in Wakefield, for me the sketches still arouse these emotions. However, the limited palette study does not seem to depict the brightness and freshness of the day and I’m left wondering what I could have done differently.