In this exercise you’ll draw your model in a comfortable position. Having something in the background helps identify the space and will help you place the figure so that it doesn’t appear to be floating in space. Draw five two minute sketches of the model in your sketchbook, paying attention to proportions and just the basic lines that describe the figure. Make rapid sketches to lock your concentration onto what is essential; making immediate assessments and trusting them.
From September to December 2018, I attended Life Drawing sessions with St Albans Art Society, drawing for two hours per week. These are not taught lessons, except for the evening on ‘Drawing the Clothed Figure’. Many of my sketches are either one minute, two minute up to fifteen and twenty minute poses. I worked mainly in my sketchbook and on sheets of paper, using soft pencil, ink and pastels. In my sketchbook I added some coloured papers to use as a background. Sometimes I drew on the white surface or a coffee coloured ground.
I already have a City and Guilds Certificate in Life Drawing, which I did many years ago, so I am familiar with drawing the nude and clothed figure.
Here are a selection of one and two minute sketches from my sketchbook.
Work on two larger two minute drawings. Be free in the use of your medium and don’t erase any incorrect lines. Keep drawing over and over until the lines and marks begin to work.
Here are two ten minute sketches I drew with pen. I decided to draw multiples of the man, as I was struggling to get his overall shape. The drawing on his own shows and extra practise sketch where I started too far across the page, his arm holding the stick was foreshortened so quite tricky to draw. You can see I drew many lines and left them, it seems to add to the quality of the line and gives the figure some movement. I can see his legs are not quite right in the first sketch, but slightly better in the second one. Pen is challenging to draw with as you can’t rub out errors, but I like that. Pencil is good for smudging and drawing quickly especially if your time is limited.
To get the shape of all these figures, I used the background the place certain parts of the body, but I didn’t draw in the background in, except for a mat the figure was standing on. I also applied the use of positive and negative shapes, which I practised in the Still Life exercises.
Exercise 2 A longer study
Here is a longer study of the back of a man drawn with soft pencil. This was a difficult pose because of his feet and angle of his legs. Again foreshortening issues for the thighs and calves. I played around with shading and scribbling to get the man’s overall shape, that includes shading the background around the man. I think the background shading helped to develop the line and positive/negative space. I tried to describe the weight by drawing the pillow he was kneeling on with loose lines. This sketch looks like the model, he was an elderly chap, with some creases and wrinkles on his skin, I treated these marks with soft smudging and line. I think his feet could be slightly larger, but they were curled under the pillow.