Epic life drawing session

I went to the life drawing last night and concentrated on improving my drawings in the way that I had talked about in the last post. Stonger line work and better use of the hatching shading technique and I d like to say that it was a overwhelming success so far. I do 8-10 drawings in a session and often the first few poses are pretty weak while I get into the groove and sometimes the last is lacking cause i m getting tired. This time though even the weakest where strong comparatively.



I think one of the main reasons they ve become stronger is my work with that drawing from the bargue drawing course. It really seems to work on all the main skills needed to see proportion and breakdown complex lines into something manageable. I hadnt worked on one in a while but after watching that little presentation about the hows and why s of the academic method by Micheal John Angel it got me excited about it again as I understood what those drawings teach and why its important. They are long and tedious so it really helps to know why the heck your putting yourself through such a process.


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Brown toned paper 2

These are the results from mondays life drawing session. I used the same materials as last week but remembered to avoid a lot of what wasnt working. I used less white chalk and also used more of a hatching technique to represent the tones on the model rather then blending the charcoal. I think overall it works better.


What made the session a bit more interesing is she brought some props like this juggling pin. I think she was some kind of performer as she could use them as well.

I like the effect of the white to seperate the scarf from the model. I don t think it was executed as well or finely as I d like but 10 min doesnt allow time for any refinement.

Often I shy away from drawing the models face as they are complex with lots of little details and it often doesnt add a TON to the gesture of the pose as long as you have the shape and direction of the head accurately drawn. This pose obv was all about the face so had to go with it here.

Best for last imo. The prop isnt well drawn but i think the pose was great and I like the way I captured the gesture.

Overall I m pretty happy with this weeks results so far. Tonight theres another session and i m going to work on stronger line work and also finer and more varied hatching if time allows.

I havent posted any longer studies lately as I ve been breaking my head over this bargue drawing at home. I got a bit ambitious and bit off a bit more I could chew with this one as my understanding of how to make a strong block in which is the scaffolding that supports the rest of the drawing isnt as strong as it should be for tackling a drawing this complex. Long subtle lines and many subtle tones make it a challenging work to copy.  I ve put in the base tones and started on the midtones this morning so hopefully it should only be another week or so till its done. Despite learning a lot of this drawing I m going to go back and copy a bunch of the simpler drawings to strengthen  my understanding of the earlier stanges of producing such a refined work.


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Brown toned paper

Went out to a store yesterday and picked up a new paper. Its a brown midtoned paper that I think is what cardboard and parcels are made from. My results and opinion are mixed about it. It s my first time using such a dark paper for life drawing so the way I approach it is going to have to change as you basically put only the darks with charcoal then the highlights with some white chalk/pastel and let the paper do the rest with the midtones. I m accustomed  to having to put in midtones with the charcoal on the lighter papers and also I get really into getting messy with the charcoal and smearing it all over the place. This doesnt seem to show such good results esp as when the white pastel and charcoal mix its very unpleasant so I ll have to keep those 2 seperate. Basically on top of being I think very promising and a cool experiment this idea is really tripping me up and forcing me to rethink how I go about the life drawing. A challenge like this can t really be anything but good imo.

This is the most successful one out of the bunch. I figured out that the whites and blacks must be kept separate and also to let the paper do most of the work for me. Its good as instead of spending time smearing around charcoal to put in midtones I can concentrate on the important stuff like her gesture.

I believe I captured her pose reasonably well here although something odd is going on with her upper torso. White and black got mixed though and thats unhappy as it turns into a odd and unpleasant grey.

I think the gesture in this pose was captured but her limbs are off. I do think theres a lot of analyse and learn from this drawing.  Again white and black mixed some 😦 but the midtone of the paper was doing its job on the right leg. I do like the way the white highlights her right (our left) side although its a bit too bright. Because my chamois is dirty with charcoal (also white pastel now as well) I wasn t manipulating the pastel with my chamois later in the session. Getting a white pastel only blending tools I think will help as Ill be able to lift some of the pastel off and make it less bright and sharp.

I hope you enjoy these drawings. Not my best in a lot of ways but its going to change the way I approach tones and basically drawing in general so I m going to plow ahead with this idea till the roll of paper is done. Going to be a while though as I bought 1m x 20m of it as it was only 3.50 for the whole thing.

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White Pastel

This monday I added another element to my life drawing. Instead of only using charcoal on the newsprint I brought along a couple sticks of white pastel so I can bring out the highlights a bit more. The results where interesting. I think  the newsprint isnt quite dark enough of a midtone but it still comes out and you def have to learn how much of it to use. Going overboard really can complicate a drawing that should be as simple as possible. I ve been shopping around for rolls of another kind of paper to use and I m looking to add using a white like this to my regular repertoire. I found a paper thats only like 3.50 for 20m of it and its a nice midtone brown similar to cardboard that will also be nice with sanguine pastel/chalk as well so I think thats going to be my next choice. I just would like to mix it up a bit and use something different mostly for interest.


This is one of the more interesting ones. I started by rubbing charcoal over the whole page as she was setting up. I then went over with a chamois and blocked out her basic form and went from there.

I enjoy the simplicity of this one.

This pose was super awkward. Tons of foreshortening and she was bent up in a strange twist. Despite my difficulties rendering the figure I think it has some interesting energy.


So there you go. My first experience drawing with both charcoal and pastel. Enjoy!

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Grinding out issues with proportion

Lately at the life drawing sessions I’ve been working to get on top of my difficulty of drawing the figure in proportion. After drawing that sphere I just so wrapped up in putting in the tones and experimenting with different ideas to put down the charcoal in as few strokes as possible which is fine but I ve decided that I need to go back to more basic exercises. Last week I watched the 3 part series on the academic process that the angel academy in florence posted on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsiP2pUT2qQ) and it occured to me how vital it is to get a strong block in. The “scaffolding” of the drawing really helps you get a stronger image as proportion is more easily maintained and the gesture and movement of the pose gets stronger as well. Even though the series is basically an advertisement for the school I d highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested. I got several fundamental ideas from that short 15 min presentation.

So not surprisingly I’ve been all about creating a stronger block in before proceeding further into the drawing. On monday I brought a HB graphite pencil to draw out a basic plan for the drawing on the newsprint before I proceed with the charcoal. The  HB is so similar to the newsprint that it basically just disappears once I add the charcoal so I get to have my construction lines without them being there in the end.  I ve also been practicing the block in in my sketch book when I’m on the train drawing who ever decides to sit still for a few minutes. I think doing more and more practice with this and learning some fundamental anatomy (just got Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist in the mail yesterday) will go a long way in resolving my issues with proportion and get me farther along the road to making stronger figure studies.

I often struggle with the standing poses like this for some reason so the fact that this is within reason (her arm is a bit long) makes me happy.

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A summary so far.

This gallery contains 4 photos.

November 2010 I found a copy of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. After going through her exercises and learning about  how to approach drawing I came across “Drawing lessons from the Great Masters” by … Continue reading

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