Figure drawings

I started figure drawing classes again two weeks ago. These sketches from the first class were done with a big Chinese brush and ink and we had to make as few marks as possible. It was only to be black and white calligraphy lines and marks. I was a bit overwhelmed by all that dark ink and don’t think I grasped it completely,  but it was an interesting exercise and it at least got me loose in as much that I couldn’t fiddle – calligraphy doesn’t allow for fiddling and I was forced to go with  continues lines. I also found that the big brush loaded with all that ink had me go even bigger on the paper, so much so that I cut off the model every time…either the feet or the head had to be sacrificed. And we already worked on very large format, 46 x 55 cm (18  x 21″).  These sketches took about 5 minutes each.

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Last week we had a professional artist for our instructor and I loved every minute of it! He is quite a character, as interesting as can be and I would love to paint him! He walked around and looked at our work and he repeatedly named the things we needed to keep in mind, to look at, the whole time…And because he had such a lovely nature, it was almost like background music, not disturbing at all. I even dreamt of it that night. And it did sink in. This model was a bit fuller than the normal, but she had “beaucoup de caractére“, strong personality and  presence. She was positioned in great light and did simple, yet elegant poses.

Things I’ve learnt last week:

  • Compare, compare, compare! A line/shape should always be placed on the paper in relation to another line/shape. Compare the horizontals, the diagonals, the verticals all the time.
  • Always start with the biggest and most simple shapes first.
  • Keep it simple, see shapes and forget about details until the last minute.
  • Decide beforehand what it is that is striking in a particular pose and concentrate on capturing that…the light, or the emotion, or the expression or a gesture.
  • Don’t be afraid of mistakes!!
  • Don’t concentrate on making a beautiful drawing!!
  • Draw what you see, not what you think you should see.
  • Enjoy the process.

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