Part 4: Project 5: The Moving Figure

Every Friday evening, I attend a local Karate class. However, this week, I had given myself whiplash by taking my inhaler (seriously, I couldn’t even make that up!) and so was unable to participate. This was actually a blessing in disguise though, as I was able to take the opportunity to concentrate on the following two exercises. Whilst I only created the sketches briefly whilst at the classes, I then finished them off at home later that evening so that the details were still fresh in my mind.

Once I had completed the first exercise (whilst still at the class), however, I realised I was actually putting too much focus on the actual end result and how those depicted were clearly human and defined etc. I then decided to continue with the second exercise using more rapid mark making and forgetting about the inclusion of any detail. I also decided to make a couple of larger pieces using the same method for the first exercise to attempt to correct my error!

Exercise 1: Single Moving Figure

As stated above, I think I misconstrued the instructions in the Exercise (I do tend to find the wording used in the manual rather difficult to interpret sometimes and as though they can have several interpretations and finding the correct one is sometimes rather difficult, so I try to cover all my bases!) and so created very rapid sketches from an instant of looking at people in specific poses and then filling in the blanks with memory.

As appears to be my signature now, I know I have pressed fairly hard in all of the studies. My first interpretation of the Exercise was to show people in obvious movement, shifting their weight in a way which would not be practical to hold in the long-term and so would be believable as movement. I tried to emphasise the fact that the hair of those who had ponytails was swaying and moving in tune with the movements being made.

I enjoyed these studies and tried to hold on to specific images of interesting positions as opposed to simply walking around, for example. I think I have been successful in recreating such things as the proportions of the limbs and body parts, foreshortening, depth and tonal changes to direction of the material and flesh of the subject.

My favourite is by far Study 11 as I think I have portrayed the above traits the best here. In fact, the girl’s mother has actually asked me to recreate it for her as she liked it so much! Whilst I know I have been heavy-handed here again, I think I have been rather successful in the placement of imaginary (from my memory of the moment) shadows, placement of limbs etc so they are believable.

Larger Studies of Single Moving Figures

I decided to create my larger studies in ink due to its fluidity and focussed on two different poses those who were taking part in the class were carrying out.

The first stance I focussed on was what is known as the ‘horse’ stance, where the student will sit down as though straddling a horse, to then use their arms for punches or blocks. I created the study mid-movement, where the student was just about to reverse their stance to face the opposite way in the same position.

The second stance was of a student in Kamae, thrusting with one hand and ready to punch with the other. Again, I created this study as the student was about to carry out their punch.

I was rather surprised by the outcome of the studies and how I think I was rather successful in creating the movement of the moment. The ink was very flexible and seems to hold energetic qualities without requiring much effort of the user.

I prefer the second study due to the increased amount of activity within the piece and the fact I feel I have shown movement with lighter marks and an indication in their positions as to where the movements will / have happen(ed). I also believe this piece holds more information and definition as to the fact it is a human’s figure and the stance in question.

I think I got a little carried away on the first study and trying to show an indication of the face as I feel the two horizontal lines and the curvature of the body almost make me imagine Golem as opposed to a karate student! The student was actually facing away and the horizontal lines were to represent one eye and an ear.

Overall, I think my initial reservations of creating something in this manner were rather unjustified and unfounded as I think this was actually one of my favourite studies so far!

Exercise 2: Groups of Figures

By the time I had reached this exercise, I had realised my error and had not created any group images in a similar manner to those of the first exercise. I was still at my karate class, so I took advantage of the remaining time to continue these studies.

I was actually secretly relieved by my realisation; the idea of drawing more than one person in a crowd-like situation seemed daunting to me. I do not enjoy finer details and imagine a crowd of several people to draw to include a similar level of detail and involvement as drawing something such as a skyscraper with hundreds of windows.

Sketchbook Studies in Charcoal

I began this exercise in the same way as my larger studies from my earlier exercise, using purely line. I then continued to include more and more detail (to a certain degree!). I also decided to mark a couple of pages with a layer of diluted ink to add a sense of a background.

I think as I moved through this section of the exercise, I found more and more enjoyment in it and realised it wasn’t as daunting as I had first thought! My fourth study in this media is by far my favourite due to the background colouration, the accuracy of the measurements, the definition in the seated gentleman in the foreground, the ease the viewer has in understanding the story being told and the depth of the piece.

Sketchbook Studies in Ink

I then decided to do several studies in different coloured diluted inks. I began with just one colour and then changed this to another colour to see how different the results could be. When I used the red, due to it having been diluted, I was rather disappointed with the result and the faintness of the study. I decided to go over the faint red with a blue, but I was then surprised to find that I really enjoyed the result! The colours worked so nicely together and so I decided to create the next one in a similar way, except by using blue and then grey over the top to add a little shadow to the piece.

Whilst I know my tutor does not think my colour work much good, this was something I was really impressed by the result and could see how the colours overlapping created a more interesting dynamic to the piece. I also think they added a little more insight into the movement and energy being used.

Sketchbook Studies in Oil Pastels

Next, I chose to use another of my favourite media for two further studies, oil pastel. I decided to create the first study in black only and then to follow on from my previous ink studies, using two colours for the second study.

I was very pleased with the first study as I think the outcome is very realistic, as is the depth of the piece, much more so than any of the previous pieces. I am aware of the heaviness of the pressure used in certain parts of the study, however, I do think this only helps to increase the depth of the piece.

As for the second piece, I do not think the outcome half as good as that of the ink in the same manner. The image looks cartoon-like and poor in comparison. Whilst I think the placement and measurements of the students helps with the illusion of depth, I do not think the grounds are very well portrayed or separated.

Sketchbook Studies in Acrylic Pens

Finally, I decided to create two studies using the same new-found enjoyment of two colours to assist and to find out whether these would also work well in acrylic pens due to their versatility similar to that of the ink.

I began firstly with gold and then brown over the top but, again, do not think the outcome interesting or believable enough. The depth is poor, similar to that of the coloured oil pastel study.

However, I actually really like the study created in black and silver as I feel the depth and information is actually much more believable and the colours work much better together.

I think I have taken from this that I seem able to work colours together when they are used in inks, but not so much in other media, where blacks, greys and silvers are my strengths.

Inverted Sketch of a Group of Figures

After the success I found in creating the inverted piece for the foreshortening research, I decided this would be a fantastic opportunity to use this method again as I could focus on just the main outline of the people with only the slightest of hints as to the detail within. As with the previous effort, I completed this in white chalk and willow charcoal as I really liked the results of the other piece.

Inverted sketch of a Sensei and her students

I was rather pleased with the result again, however, I think I the white areas are too white in places. I think I have managed to execute the little boy turning to look back at the Sensei rather well and that the weight and measurements throughout are well controlled. I think, perhaps, that I should have included a break-off line somewhere to ground the figures somewhat. However, I think I have been quite successful in creating a sense of depth with the placements and measurements of the figures.

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