Exercise 1: The Structure of the Human Body
For this exercise, I decided to work firstly in black drawing pens, but they soon ran out of ink (I have more on order though! Phew!), so I then switched to black biro. Looking at the exercise again, I think I was meant to look at the muscles and such, however, I decided there would be far too much detail for me and chose to work on the different positions created from the view of the surface.
There are a few studies which work much better than others; for instance, I think the hands, arms legs and torsos work best overall, whereas there are a few which have gone slightly awry, including the top right foot, bottom right neck and central skull.
For the skull, I think I may have kept changing my angle unknowingly and, once I finally sat back to actually look at what I had put on the paper, I was then able to see where I had gone wrong, i.e. the left side of my skull being too stretched and the nose twisted slightly. I struggled with the teeth in the skull, however, I improvised by only creating the shadows in the ‘gum’ area and the natural gaps between the teeth. I thought the skull would be the easiest to recreate due to the big empty spaces and basic shapes, however, I actually think it was the hardest due to the lack of ‘instructions’ provided and indications as to where this and that should be in relation to other sections.
I think the issues with the feet and other such failed attempts was due to the fact they were created on a small scale, whereas when they were created on a larger scale, they appear more realistic. I definitely agree with my tutor’s comments (and hear them again and again) that to be expressive my style definitely suits a larger scale.
Research Point: Historic and Contemporary Artists use of the Body’s Underlying Structure
The results of this Research Point can be found by clicking here.
Exercise 2: Three Figure Drawings
For this exercise, I attended a local life drawing class. The model asked if there were any preferences as to positions, so I advised about my course and the requirements of the exercise. The model attempted to assist me as best she could, however, there were also other regularly-attending members who had worked in similar ways recently, so the model tried to compromise somewhat.
I tried to carry out quick observations of each pose in my sketchbook before moving on to a larger study with more time. For the quick studies in my sketchbook, I chose to work very fast to get as much information down on the page as possible, but to also try and see interesting areas which stood out with foreshortening aspects or deep contrasts in tones etc.
Standing Quick Close-up Studies
For the first study in this pose, I was aiming for the sketch to be more like that of the second study, however, I found I had drawn the main focus (the breast and chair contrasts) too small and continued to fill the page with the rest of the detail. I recreated this again, but zoomed in much more this time (second study). I then tried to zoom in on the foreshortening of the bent leg and foot, as well as the contrast in tonal values in the third and fourth sketches.
I definitely struggle with recreating a foot which appears to bend back and touch the leg when facing away from me. This is something I think I should really try and work on and to figure out why it is that they do not look realistic – perhaps it is where I have laid my shadowing?
I think the depth, sense of direction and flow of the flesh is well recreated in the drawing pen pieces, however, again, I have pressed too hard. I think these would perhaps be better in biro and in very concentrated areas with varying pressures.
I also think the wax crayon is much more capable of producing softer end results for me, but I also really enjoy the oil pastel as it allowed me to show such things as the slight cellulite in the leg, however, I definitely press too hard when creating the outline. This is something I need to work on also – that fine line between outline and cartoon.
Seated Quick Close-up Studies
For these studies, the model had moved to a seated position on a stool so, again, I tried to focus on foreshortening and tonal aspects. I did not find this pose as interesting as the rest, potentially due to the lack of twists in the body creating interesting areas?
Again, the wax crayon was the more delicate of the media used, though I do really like the contrast created by the oil pastel.
The model moved slightly throughout this pose, so some perspectives are slightly skewed – something I need to bear in mind when drawing from life.
I also think the study of the face was rather unsuccessful at showing the tilt in the model’s head. I think I needed to increase the size of the size of the chin and reduce the size of the forehead perhaps?
Overall, I think it becomes apparent that when I have to work quickly, I focus more on getting the information down than ensuring it is in the most accurate position etc.
Lounging Quick Close-up Studies
The model then moved to a lounging position and I really enjoyed this one. There were several areas of interest to me and in which I was able to show the twists and turns of the flesh over the bones below.
Again, the model moved slightly in this pose, however, I think I was slightly better at correcting my studies to suit.
The third study is by far my favourite due to the contrasts between the flesh and shadows. I think I have managed to accurately measure the feet and have placed them in a believable position.
Looking back at all of the studies created, both large and small, for this exercise, I think I have a long way to go to being able to create life in the face and to prevent it from looking too flat. With more time, I think I could have concentrated on the tonal contrasts to build the detail of the face up.
Looking at these studies and larger pieces, I can see that I still apply a lot of pressure when working rather quickly. I wonder whether this is something I can actually learn to control or whether this is just who I am? I actually really enjoy putting emotion into my work and the deep pressure and darker marks created have a certain ‘release’ effect on me. However, I am determined to show my tutor that I CAN reel myself in (even if I feel uncomfortable doing so) and have every intention of creating final pieces for this Part of the course which are of a much finer quality, taking time to stop and reflect several times and remembering my tutor’s comment of “less is more”!