Monday, 4 January 2010

Drawing Week: Day 1

Today I attended the first of five all-day life drawing classes - and what a cracking session it was too.

We began with a 30 minute standing pose:

(Note: these drawings are way too big for my scanner, so "poorly photographed" will have to do)

The foreshortening of his left arm and leg was quite dramatic from where I was sitting. It took a while but I eventually got it to the "least wrong-looking" stage you see above, which kinda captures the essence of the movement within the pose. I find getting the weight distribution to feel right is especially helpful in describing the energy in a "held" pose.

Immediately after this pose the model was asked to leave the room and we were asked to put away our drawing and start a new one on a fresh sheet of paper - of the exact same pose - only this time we were told to draw it from memory, in half the time.

Here's my 15 minute drawing from memory:


As you can see I have a tendency to exaggerate. But I must admit I do like the awkwardness of the pose in this drawing. The essence of the movement and weight is still pretty much intact but as an exercise, drawing from memory isn't so much about producing representational drawings of the subject alone, as it is about highlighting how crucial your involvement is to that representation.

Next up was another drawing from memory except this time we observed the pose for 10 minutes without drawing a thing. The model then left the room and we drew what we could recall for the next 10 minutes.

Here's my 10 minute drawing from memory:


I was reminded that a photographic likeness is irrelevant as it's really about discovering how I interpret and process information in front of me and ultimately distil it into a drawing, irrespective of whether it was made from memory or through observing as I draw. Either way all decisions occur in my mind before they make it onto paper, so it's as much if not more about me than what I'm physically looking at.

We were fortunate enough to have two models for part of the day, so the next couple of drawings are of them interacting, which added a tonne of complexities to the process.

Here's a 10 minute drawing from memory I made after 3 minutes observation time:


And a 30 minute drawing from memory, also after 3 minutes observation time:


I love the warped proportions of the male model. To me, it feels quite descriptive of how I thought the twisting in his pose felt (having mimicked the pose myself, during observation time).

Next up, a separate 20 minute study of each model and their relationship to the space they were sat in:

By purposely including a limited number of elements from their surrounding space, you can't help but consider the compositional aspects of picture-making. Definitely a good thing.

My final drawing of the day was this 40 minute pose:

Here I tried to bring together all the concepts we'd been discussing throughout the day.

Looking forward to tomorrow's session!

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