In figure class, the model was late, so we started by sketching whatever was in view. I chose to do a classmate opposite me.

All drawings are in in charcoal and sanguine (except for this first one, only charcoal) on paper,190g/m², 42×59,4 cm (16,5×23,4″) All the poses are about 15 – 20 minutes long.


Then the model showed up, with a huge black dog. With no inhibitions, he took off his clothes, dropped them in a bundle right there and then immediately swooned into this pose. Our goal was to work with foreshortening and use 2 or 3 mediums to push back dark shadows in order to give “life” and depth to a foreshortening pose. In this postion the model’s head couldn’t be seen by me and his right hand disappeared completely under his left leg(sticking out above the left foot) making it look as if is his foot is growing from his arm. I struggled with that portion of the body.


In this second pose, it seems like his arms are miles long…he is a very tall, slender model with broad shoulders and I had difficulties keeping the relationships in balance. His head was in reality crunched lower between his knees, which I didn’t capture close enough to convey the “tightly crunched and taut” feeling of the body.


I could’ve done so much more with this drawing. The body feels flat without the typical bigger ribcage of the male body in and the slim hips and I didn’t succeed in capturing the complete relaxed surrender of the model. My foreshortening could have been much more pronounced as well….I was too scared to really go for it. Pity… this was a great pose, very challenging.


This was the last pose of the evening and it completely lacks energy, even though it is a very static one. What I did get though, was huge feet!  The left side of his body needed much more drop in the shoulder as well as the hip and I could do better with the muscular play in the shoulders and of course…the arms!! The model was really wonderful, he moved into each pose with conviction and grace and wonderful confidence.


Postmortem: I enjoyed doing this.

The body gives fascinating poses with foreshortening.

I’ve learnt that caution doesn’t get you anywhere closer to success. Thus, my fear of overdoing the foreshortening didn’t result in anything better than had I gone for the extreme.

I’ve learnt that good darks is essential in giving depth and dimension to any drawing.

In foreshortening poses, it is essential to forget that you’re dealing with a body, because the lines and masses and values don’t always make sense. Draw what you see.

I’ve learnt to get some distance from my paper in order to get more energy into my drawing. By standing a bit further away, by holding the charcoal looser, working with arm movements, stepping away from the drawing often, loostening up the shoulders often, staying away from looking at details…all result in getting energy and movement on to the paper instead of keeping it locked up in the upper body. It’s a bit like playing a good tennis shot!

Now I only hope that I WILL learn what I’ve learnt!

More exciting recent figure drawing sketches from CathyG, Casey, Dee, Marta, Jana, (oil paints)  Martin, Scott Burdick, Joe Delaney, Anne Delplace (whose work I adore for its vitality and risks and expressions!). There are many more of which I’m sure I have somewhere left out or haven’t seen…let me know and I’ll add it for us all to see and enjoy.

14 thoughts on “Figure drawings

  1. Wow quite a challenge, (for me at least) and you took control and gave it amazing depth and your foreshortening is fantastic. The choice of colors makes a major statement too.

  2. You worked hard, Ronell. I really love the drawing of your fellow student, and the first one of the model. I have been to a few life-drawing sessions (ages ago) and it is a hugely challenging discipline: I have hardly any experience mixing charcoal with sanguine as you’ve done here, but would love to do it someday.

    My experience of life classes is that the model is always either late or doesn’t show up at all! I guess many models are also artists themselves, and therefore a little erratic.

  3. Nice job– you did a great on all these tough poses! “Draw what you see” says it all for me. Amazing how hard that is to do sometimes. I love your comparison of drawing to a great tennis shot!

  4. ‘Crunched’ is still a very pleasing drawing, Ronell because of the fluid lines. Fascinating to read your thought process too. I know if I tried to do this I would be even more in awe of your efforts.

    It’s a lovely combination the sanguine and charcoal. So, to sum up, I love this post!

  5. Those were some tricky poses! Foreshortening is hard enough, but on a tall, slim, male (fewer curves) figure, even more challenging – you’ve captured elements of each pose really well, and it’s great to read your thoughts and discoveries of the whole process – helpful to us all!
    Thanks for the link too : )

  6. These are all just beautiful – I love the color (sanguine?) and the way you can see your hand and movement in each one. I giggled at the first one – I too used to sometimes spend more time drawing the other artists than the model. Made me want to sit in on a life class again.

  7. I agree with Cathy…some of those poses were very challenging, especially the one where is is lying flat…the foreshortening is very extreme on that one. I think you’ve done a great job.

  8. This is hard work isn’t it? I am feeling like I have so much to learn! We can only use conte crayon: noir 2b for this class…at least for now. I miss color! You did wonderful on all of these! I agree…..with foreshortening you have to forget you are drawing a body and concentrate on the shapes coming at you!

  9. You’ve done a great job with these extremely challenging poses! I love the first one too (the one of your classmate). Your marks are so bold and confident – they don’t look at all cautious!

  10. These are wonderful! If you hadn’t pointed out the problems you were working through with each one I probably wouldn’t have found them. My favorite though is the first one of your fellow artist. There’s something so saucy and charming about that one. Thanks for the nod to my attempts too.

Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

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