Exercise 1 Basic shapes
I started with a couple of experiments, the first in 4B graphite pencil and the next using black conte:
In both cases I was using the basic shapes as an aid to construction, and then building the image from there. With the conte, I’d originally thought to start building tone from that point, but didn’t feel the exercise was heading in the right direction. Reviewing the instructions, this exercise is about using the basic forms as part of a construction process. I approached the sitting poses again:
In the first drawing I simply started using the basic forms to analyse the pose, proportions and elements. Considering that I started another drawing to progress my consideration of the pose. The intention was to keep with the simple shapes, but to extend their representation a little more. In the last drawing I deliberately selected a new pose, starting with the basic forms and trying to take the drawing slightly further down the path to a finished drawing. These are all relatively quick drawings, 10 min or less for the first two and slightly more for the last.
Moving forwards, I can see this sort of approach helping the analysis of the pose and fitting the whole into a more complete composition. In the drawings with the cat, for example, it would be relatively easy to modify the pose successfully from the sketches (and possibly photos) after the model was no longer available. I’ve come across the simplified form approach many times previously, but this is the first time I’ve persevered with to the point where its value is starting to show through. It is (in effect) continuing the conceptual approach started in the last project. The approach Andrew Loomis uses, for example, is even more sophisticated – but needs significantly more practice to apply.
Exercise 2 Essential elements
This exercise seems to be about studying light and dark within the context of the model, similarly to some of my earlier life drawing:
It also brings in some of my earlier shapes practice, as it is starting to draw on the tonal work to convey the underlying form. As some of my work on the exercise is happening on the train without a live model I decided to try based on the line of action figure drawing practice site initially:
As a start this seems to be somewhat successful, although there are plenty of issues with the drawing it has acceptable proportions and gives an impression of the overall form. I particularly like the area where the thigh, hip and torso meet. One area for improvement is the medium itself, as I suspect conte or charcoal on a good quality paper would help.
Exercise 3 Stance
Again, some of my previous life drawing followed the idea of this exercise – looking at a series of short poses. Some of my current figure drawing practice based on Croquis Cafe and the drawing practice tools also falls within the remit of this exercise.
I decided to follow the previous exercise by changing medium. As an experiment I decided to try fine liner. This is a medium I’ve struggled to master so far, but it does have the advantage of being much more definite that the graphite in terms of mark making. I followed the same basic approach
The observation of the overall stance is reasonable, and I’m making progress in mark making with a fine liner. Its still a little random in places, but I think it is improving. I tried not to descend into scribbling even on the background. The is still an outline around much of the figure though, which my tutor is suggesting I should avoid.
Exercise 4 Energy
The essence of this exercise seems to draw dynamic poses quickly with a flowing medium to get the essence of the figure, rather than fussy detail. I decided to start using long (10m) “Action” poses on one of the drawing practice programs, using a brush pen in an A4 sketchbook.
I tried doing the same drawing a number of times, but observed that the first one was always the most interesting. To counter this I moved the session timer down to 2m. The idea was to give enough time to consider the image, but only enough to draw once and fairly rapidly. Most of the images didn’t represent the figure that well, but these are some of the more acceptable ones:
The brush pen is very much a line medium when used like this, and every line stays. I am, therefore, struggling to find proportion and a reasonable representation with a first line every time. As an aside: I also need to stop using both sides of thin paper when sketching with a brush pen. It shows through too strongly.