I started off this part of the course with a fresh try at drawing with energy as my attempts at gesture drawing in Part 4 – Drawing Figures where rather crap and so I read more of ‘Force’ by Michael D. Mattesi. So with a Chinese marker, larger sheets of drawing paper and my new found knowledge of applied force and road of rhythm, I set out to create more quick and dynamic figure drawings. Not only were these energetic drawings a vast improvement on any of my quick figure drawings in Part 4 but they were a great inspiration for the next few exercises.
I had been struggling in the Quick Poses exercise in the last module but the Quick Studies exercise in Part 5 was a breeze due to the fresh practice at energy drawings and also applying what I had learnt, unlike the hairy sketches in Part 4 the quick studies in this part were smoother and with a new found confidence I drew faster and faster sometimes getting the drawing time down to 3 minutes.
After researching how famous artists used line I took that new found confidence and applied it to the second part of this research where I had a go at using line in the style of famous artists. The results weren’t that great, I’m not sure if drawing in the style of Klimt or Schiele resembled the two artists’ work but I was pretty happy with drawing in the style of Hockney, Ingres and Giacometti, particularly the last two artists.
I’m not sure whether I did enough drawing with colour in the using colour exercise but I do feel that I did ample experimenting with mixed media particularly the collage work which I was quite happy with, producing the drawing below was particularly satisfying but I may have to go over the hair in black.
This drawing in oil pastel below gave me some very interesting ideas for Assignment 5, which I will reflect on in the next post.
I was trying not to get sucked into producing nudes for the rest of this module but that’s the direction I felt I was going in as I knew there was so much I could do with the nude figure and so many drawing tools I could use for them, I was especially happy with the drawing below in hard pastel that I produced for the Tonal Studies exercise which I will also send off for assessment. I love the way that I used contrasting colours to build up the tone and form of the sitter with very fluid hatching.
This module gave me enough ideas and time to reflect on the type of piece I wanted to produce for Assignment 5, I knew I wanted to produce a full figure drawing, I knew the sitter would not be totally nude as I wanted to draw folds in cloth again but what I hadn’t decided on was if it was going to be an expressive figure drawing or analytical study or what medium I would be using for the assignment.
The first drawing I did for this exercise was a portrait of my daughter. I felt guilty that I have used my girlfriend as a muse for most of the figure drawing exercises in this course and so I decided to make it up for it with a tonal portrait of my oldest daughter.
For this portrait in pastel I used mostly diagonal single hatching on a dark blue Ingres paper. I am really happy with the finished drawing but I seem to be having the same problem with positioning as I didn’t draw an outline first I just went straight into building up the picture with hatching starting at the cheek.
Ideally I should have done the next drawing in pencil, maybe on a thick watercolour paper but I decided to go with charcoal on a large sheet of paper. The proportions are good but other than that the drawing is quite sloppy.
I did the next drawing in pastel on a beige Ingres paper using the colour of the paper as a neutral tone for the chair and the upper body. The drawing looks slightly out of proportion and indeed it is, but only slightly I was drawing with the board on the easel, I spent most of the time drawing while holding the easel tilted towards me to try and avoid this.
This is a photograph that I took with my phone of the drawing on the easel tilted back while I was working on it. You can see the difference in proportions.
The next drawing was also a quick one but this time from life in Conte Pencil and White Pastel on eggshell (I think).The outlines are probably too strong tho and it may have been better to build up the background and so I continued to draw until I had a drawing I was satisfied with.
This time I chose pastel pencil for my medium and beige Ingres paper and working from a photograph I drew with flowing hatching that followed the contours of the body building up the tones with about 8 different colours. The results were great but again the positioning was still not so great and so I decided to improve on this by starting a new drawing, something that I can send of for formal assessment.
Working mostly from the last drawing until I got to the face that is I did my best to position the figure on the A3 paper so I could fill as much as the paper up as possible, it was definitely an improvement. The proportions of her breasts and bum in the last drawing were probably more realistic though as I went with the flow in this last drawing. The face is a lot better but I was warned by my girlfriend not to mess about with it and to leave it as it was and so I did.
A Fresh Try at Tonal Studies
Unhappy with most of the tonal drawings above and buy know getting slightly bored of using pastel on Ingres or charcoal I decided to have another go at the exercise and began researching other possible techniques and mediums.
Firstly I looked at lifting off charcoal rather than drawing with it and after completing the drawing below I decided that this technique was suitable to drawings of parts of the body rather than the whole figure.
I then did a quick tonal study from a photograph in 6B pencil, this was great for hatching and I was able to build up the form really well but it I still wasn’t satisfied knowing that I could find abetter medium for these tonal studies.
Researching the Old Masters
I remembered the studies in red chalk by the old Masters and so I decided to take a closer look at some of these drawings. I looked at drawings of several old masters including Bernardino Gatti, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo focusing on studies of the figure rather than portraits.
In several of the studies the artists seem to show light with white chalk and show shadow with darker chalk but it was quite clear to me that it was possible to depict light and shade by layering the one colour. However, because I already decided to do the next set of tonal studies on A3 drawing paper so I could draw on my lap I decided that red chalk wouldn’t be precise enough on A3 but a Sanuine Conte pencil would be an excellent substitute.
I decided to commit myself to one drawing an evening for five evenings spending at least an hour on each tonal study. The fully nude poses in my quick drawing studies helped me to get the proportions better than the semi naked poses above and so I went with very similar poses for the next group of drawings.
For the first of these drawings was probably the most difficult of the poses and took the longest time to draw. I used a black conte pencil for the darker tones, this was probably out of insecurity than anything else, so to was the drawing of the bed between the legs not believing that I had got the shape of the legs right.
The next drawing was better, this time I stuck to Sanguine and more precise hatching, the light source came from above and there was a lack of shadows but the pose worked well and until this point this was my best study so far.
For the next pose was easier as I didn’t have to draw the details in the face. The proportions of the head look slightly out but this is due to the hair, the back of her head is actually flat like alot of Chinese and South east Asians. I liked not having to draw the full feet but getting the soles of her feet and toes right was still difficult.
For some of the quick poses she was sat in the chair and I actually drew the chair, for the next drawing I left the chair out and glad I did. This study took almost as long as the first in this series to complete but drawing the shape was the easiest, most of the time was spent building up the layers of colour. This pose worked best for me and once I had drawn the outline I knew spending time on it would be rewarding, this became my favourite drawing to date, it actually reminds me of some of the red chalk drawings of the old masters.
For the final drawing I chose a standing pose from the back with a V shape between the arms I drew something similar in the quick poses exercise and I knew that by choosing this pose I would get do depict muscle tone which is one of the most appealing features of the red chalk drawings by the old masters. The foreshortening of the feet made this a difficult pose though and I had to redraw the legs due to not getting the proportions right the first time.
I really enjoyed working on the last five studies in Conte, this can’t be said for the first set of drawings in this exercise which I believe now were ruined due to rushing myself trying to get this 5th and final part of the course done quicker for an earlier assessment.
It was really worthwhile to come back and have another go at this exercise with a clear mind, a better choice of drawing materials and a better choice of poses.
More Tonal Studies – George Seurat
On advice from my tutor I looked at the works of George Seurat, I was familiar with his paintings but not his charcoal and Conte Crayon studies and so I browsed through Georges Seurat, 1859–1891 by Robert L. Herbert to take a closer look at some of his works and to give me some ideas on how I could approach this exercise differently.
I was amazed at how he had managed to capture tone and wish I had come across these works earlier. I picked a handful of drawings out that really appealed to me, these were the darker drawings and the reason for me doing this was that I wanted to use a white conte stick on black pad drawing by candlelight, I have been doing some paintings by candlelight and I felt that I could gain some influence from Seurat’s works.
Working in white conte stick the first drawing I did was very sloppy, however I did come back to this a bit later and add a bit of colour, it still wasn’t a tonal effect what I was hoping to achieve, the next two drawings were a lot better.
For the second drawing my girlfriend was i a seated pose facing away from the candle, with her face in shadow it was easy to capture the silhouette of her face, The third drawing was not so easy as I sat her facing towards the candle and with the light shining on her face on these small sheets of paper it was very difficult to capture her correct facial profile.
The fourth study was much heavier and darker, this time mostly in orange, red and brown pastel. Facing towards me it was easier to capture her facial features, they are not perfect but I am happy with the overall effect of using these colours, that were very close to each other on the spectrum on the black paper. I feel that if any of these studied look like they have been influenced by Seurat’s drawings then this is it.
Facing towards the candle, the 5th study was worked over and over again to get the proportions right, this compressed the layers of pastel which made the drawing looked aged and effect that I think looks really great but I didn’t manage to capture in the photo below.
I took a break from colour for the sixth tonal study to have another go at drawing her facial features in conte, I hadn’t managed to depict them in earlier sketches and so I drew a closer to her at an angle to get them right.
In the earlier studies with conte and pastel I had chosen to warm colours this was influenced by the orange-red tones of some of Seurat’s studies, for the final and probably most difficult drawing I chose cooler colours.
For this exercise I started off working with the model and from there I moved onto sketches. Last weekend was a big public holiday here in Thailand, mothers day, the Queens birthday which was actually on the 12th but the Thais have 4 days holiday.
I had previously tried to draw in the style of Alberto Giacometti; although I wasn’t too impressed with a lot of his work, which I had said in a previous post made me feel uncomfortable and a little anxious, I did like some of his work. and I rather enjoyed drawing in his style in the second part of the research point which I think reflects in the first piece for this exercise below. The ability to create a 3D form from squiggles is just too appealing to me and oil pastel felt like the perfect medium for this drawing. I am already starting to think about my final assignment and this was basically a practice piece for the upcoming assignment trying to produce an expressive (maybe), erotic nude, with some type of cloth covering part of the figure.
The second piece should have been bigger, also in oil pastel I tried to produce an expressive drawing with a different technique rather than a different medium. The technique I chose for this was a very contrasting technique to the squiggles above, horizontal hatching. The pose was also very different, this time the model wore no cloth at all and was laid down with her head towards me. The problem here though was trying to produce some shadow below her head to show that her hair is actually spread out across the floor, as looking at the finished piece below it looks like the head is floating.The other problem with this drawing is that the figure should fill the plane however when I was drawing the figure was happy with the outline and therefore I didn’t want to change it. So I filled the paper with furniture.
At this stage I had an idea for the next piece. Firstly I uploaded the several photos of different drawings to Facebook so I could print them off at work later that evening and see which ones look best ripped or cut up as a collage.
I bought three packs of different coloured paper, orange, yellow and peach (I think) I then printed the picture out at 9 copies to a sheet to see which looked best. I decided on drawing 2 above and the photo below shows how it looked printed out.
The net day was my birthday and I spent the afternoon getting creative:
The next challenge was to create a collage piece using the printed sheets of paper for the cloth draped over the model. I chose to do this drawing on watercolour paper and to draw the model in watercolour pen.
Firstly I drew the whole shape of the model with cloth draped over her in pencil and then with a black pen I drew around the shape of the cloth so I could see it through the paper enabling me to draw shapes in pencil to be cut out. Unfortunately the lines made by the black pen were too wide and so I had to make the shapes bigger to cover up the lines around the left arm which now looks withered.
From there I started to cut out and glue on small pieces of orange paper to depict the shadow in the folds of the cloth but I decided that I would probably mess up and and instead to finish these details in an orange watercolour pen with the darker shadows in green. After I finished with the cloth I finished of the shoulders, head, arms and knees, the vibrant lighter colour pens really made the darker colours stand out. I think because of the thin left arm the knees look two fat, this is my only regret here.
For the next piece I chose sepia ink with a dip pen and brush as my drawing tool of choice, I originally wanted to do a different coloured wash over the top but decided against it as I loved the plain and simple finished piece too much.
In this research point for this part of the course, Part 5, option 4 Drawing Figures we were asked to look at the different artists’ use of line which I did in my last post. However, I wanted to take it one step further and decided to try and ‘Draw in the style of’ some of those artists. Note I said ‘try’.
The first artist I tried to draw in the style of was Gustav Klimt, I thought drawing, not in the style of his bejeweled paintings but in the style of his erotic sketches would be easy, not at all, my lines just don’t flow that great and the drawing seems rather dull.
The second artist I decided to try and draw in the style of was Egon Schiele, I tried to imitate the jaggered lines of Schiele but I just didn’t get them quite right. it was hard to try and imitate Schiele when my model was a different build to the ones he drew. I’m not sure whether these first two drawings could pass for erotic art either.
I do feel that in the third drawing that I was successful in the task that I set out to do and that was to produce something in a similar style to David Hockney. Using myself as the model and drawing from the photograph it was much easier to try and get it right, having time to think about each line.
I don’t think that anyone could guess that I was trying to Draw in the style of Edgar Degas in the next drawing. I chose to draw with Conte pencil and white pastel over a pinkish wash in my sketchbook when I should have really been drawing on ingres paper which I had run out of. A clothed standing pose would have also been a better decision.
I think the 5th drawing, in the style of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a decent attempt but again I would have been better with a different medium a sharp pencil on A3 or A2 drawing paper rather than 0.3 and 0.5 tip Rotring drawing pens in my sketchbook. However, I think I did quite well with the details and folds of the dress.
The first attempt (on the right in drawing 6) was probably my favourite drawing out of all these in this piece of research, producing something that was similar to the artist’s work and yet I believe, developing on it.The second attempt on the right however was not so great.
This exercised proved I had improved considerably since the Quick Poses in the previous part of this course and it was all the projects in between that had got me here. After studying proportions, form and structure I approached this exercise with much more confidence and I think this showed in the drawings I produced below compared to previous quick drawings.
All though I produced better sketches than I expected, it wasn’t a problem free exercise. The first problem I came across was with drawing the clothed figure. I found that I got the proportions almost spot on straight way with the model naked but with clothes on I got distracted. I fall into the trap of drawing the clothes rather than drawing the outline of the model and then drawing the details of the clothes in afterwards, i.e. folds. And because of this the proportions on the first few quick clothed figure studies are slightly out.
I Started off by drawing different poses clothed on A3 sheets of paper in 3B pencil before moving on to drawing nude poses in my sketchbook. For each pose I tried different pencil hardness’s, all the while trying to complete each new sketch in shorter periods of time, even managing to get my time down to 2 minutes for poses where it wasn’t necessary to draw facial features.
I drew the model in many different poses and for the poses that I had difficulty on the first attempt, I made a second and sometimes even third attempt at drawing the same pose, taking into consideration all I had learnt in Part 4, Drawing figures with each attempt the drawings improved.
The poses that created the most problems for me were the poses that needed a lot of foreshortening on the legs such as Drawings 4, 17 and 18. Another problem, that I encountered was when the models head was tilted to one site, however, there was more likeness in these drawings, even with the shorter drawing periods, than I have managed to capture before. I even had some success in capturing different facial expressions, like laughing and smiling (Drawings 20 and 21).
I found that looking for shapes within the figure such as the square within the folded arms in the drawing above (Drawing 8) and the ‘V’ between the arms on drawing 13 helped me to get the proportions and right and so help me to position the figure on the paper.