Australian Fine Artist

Venue: Frankston Chisholm

Tutor: Bill Hay

As we advance through this terms of Life Drawing, additional materials are being added to improve overall drawing skill. During this session we began with short 2-minute sketches with inks on white paper. This gets the eye and hand co-ordination working ready for the longer poses.

Short poses for many, are stressful, as too much detail is sought, rather than capturing the essential pose of the model. Quick poses are an opportunity to look at where the weight bearing is happening, the movement, the general feeling of the pose and not all the little details. I encourage students in drawing classes to relax and enjoy this process more as it is an important part of your progress towards your more involved drawings later in a session.

These sort simple drawings also prepare you for adding and changing materials as you work your way through learning about your model, how their body differs from others, and how you can interpret what you are seeing to paper.

(NOTE: Drawings of nude male figure follows in this article)

For the longer drawings this week we used brown card. This gives the advantage of a mid tone straight away. If you like to draw tonally, a coloured background gives you a head start, so that highlights, lighter tones, dark tones and shadows complete the form you are looking for.

Pastel artists use coloured pastel paper or card in a similar manner, and the varying coloured backgrounds can also be used to complement the colours that are drawn over the top of them, being allowed to show through in many occasions.

For the exercise this week, we used black ink with brushes or artist-made bamboo “pens” as we had in our first lessons. The ink can be thinned with water to use as a half tone or used full strength. We then were given brown card and a selection of pastels to use over the top or in coordination with the inks. These small additional materials gave us a much larger range of tonal and textural values to play with, making the lesson really enjoyable.

Look at the examples of many artists in the past, and how they have used light toned chalk and pastels to highlight areas of the body, indicate light direction, and give form to the body (and other objects). This is a method of drawing that goes back generations, with a rich history worth exploring.

The fun of mixing up your media can also not be overlooked. Drawing with just pencils or charcoal is great, I draw a lot like this, especially when travelling in the train, or sketching in front of the television, but I urge students and hobbyists as well, to give extra media a go, to extend your usual choice of materials just to see what will happen. You may be very pleasantly surprised!

I will post one of my drawings on card below. It took only ten minutes, so is not perfect. I had to decide where to concentrate my efforts, so the feet, in particular, were not worked on. There were other aspects to the model that I wanted to emphasize, like the shoulders, arms and chest. I hope that this example will inspire others to expand their drawing repertoire and relax for enjoyable drawing.

Sample from this week’s session below (10 minute sketch, ink and pastel on brown 225gsm craft card)
life-drawing-3

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