Venue: Frankston Chisholm
Tutor: Bill Hay
One of the advantages and pleasures of being in a classroom situation is having the opportunity to do a collaborative work with other students. Often you don’t know how it will all turn out until you put up the finished piece and have a chance to stand back and look at it.
For this session, our tutor had set up a large sheet of brown craft card on the floor, and as we completed poses of our model, he selected a variety of them, to make up a narrative of the lesson.
For those that may have read the classics, like The Illiad, The Odyssey or The Aeneid, the poses and story that we ended up telling on paper, looked to me, very much like an epic tale just like one of these.
(NOTE: Drawings of nude male figure follow in this article)
Today we concentrated on 10 minute sketches. This enabled our model to create some very challenging poses for us to attempt.
Life drawing isn’t just about observational skills, or knowing the human body, it is also about interpreting the poses, working out where the weight is being placed through the body and creating an interesting arrangement by including the surrounding information if it is relevant. This may include chairs, tables, curtains, rugs, cushions etc, to create a story. Some models bring their own props, like belts, hats, scarfs, walking sticks etc. This is great because it helps the artist to get a feel for the personality of the sitter. The lines created by props also help when sketching out the proportions of the body, as you now have other references to guide you.
My method of drawing at the moment, especially when using inks, is to use the diluted pot to start getting the outside shape of the body working. You may notice in my examples that there are lots of little marks around the finished drawing. These are my initial marks where I did all of this working out and measuring. Given that each pose is only 10 minutes, this has to be done quickly so that I can get into the final darker lines and some of the shading to create form.
I have a similar method for quick drawings in pastel, charcoal and pencil. Rather than the strict measuring that I used in the past, I find that a general estimate of the head to torso to legs is enough to get me going these days. My earlier method meant that my drawings were very stiff and lacked the fluid flowing lines of a living moving body that I was looking for. Other artists have different methods, but for me, I am finding that this method is working and I am enjoying the process of discovering the forms of each model’s poses far more.
I will include one of Ricki’s more challenging poses below as well as a view of our collaborative effort. I think that the weekly drawing sessions are benefitting everyone in the class and I am seeing some substantial improvements by students, including myself as we relax and have fun interacting and learning with each other.
Samples from this week’s session below (10 minute sketches, ink on A2 paper):