Very Laid Back

A3: Charcoal & wash on paper

Here’s a bit of full-on foreshortening to kick off the New Year!

After a long break of no life drawing since summer I treated myself to four full days of  intensive untutored practice last week, so I feel like I’m just about back in gear.  And what an excellent way to spend that time between Boxing Day and New Year’s eve!

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Stretching curling turning

A3: Charcoal and wash on paper

I enjoy the challenge of foreshortened poses and with this one it just seemed right to emphasise the length and movement through the body by framing the head fairly tightly into the top corner so the model’s torso and legs seem to unravel and extend down the page…or is she maybe curling up…or turning over?

Leaning back

A3: Charcoal and wash on paper

I’ve taken a break from life drawing for a while and have been painting, mainly figure paintings but also landscapes, and now I’m almost ready to come back to this. I never intend to stop but my pattern seems to be to draw regularly for a few months and then have a few weeks off. So far I’ve always come back to it with renewed enthusiasm…

Meanwhile this drawing is one I did earlier. The diagonal pose goes off the page anchoring it to the edges of the paper and I like sense of the light coming in from the right and the dark shadow on the left emphasising the weight leaning on her right arm.

Got a minute…

A3: Ink wash on paper

These three one-minute sketches are each about 10.5 ins/27cm high and it’s all about capturing the gesture of a pose with a brush and ink…and fast!  The model moves into a new pose every minute and there’s no time to think so they’re a lot of fun to do.

I seem to have hurried the photography too. Must set up some kind of reflector system…or an A3 scanner would be cool!

Pushing it

A3: Charcoal and wash

In an attempt to turn poor lighting conditions to advantage I deliberately under-exposed the photo of this drawing to make it all a general grey and then quickly erased most of the background in Photoshop to whiten it and leave the figure blocked in with an overall tone.

As a result this image is no longer true to the original drawing, being a combination of natural and digital media, but there’s something interesting here about ‘mistakes’ working if they look intentional and making the most of happy accidents to create something new.

Big man crawling

A3: Carbon pencil on paper

By taking the figure beyond the frame I was aiming to convey a sense of his size and weight and a feeling of slow or restricted movement.  The wet carbon pencil is bold.  It makes fat black indelible lines and there’s no going back so it feels more risky than a soft malleable medium like charcoal. I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Mediamix

A3: Charcoal on Paper

The cut-out effect is the result of photographing the drawing in poor lighting, which made the whole thing a bit grey, then erasing the background area in Photoshop to lighten it.

I’ve sometimes done this on previous posts to clean them up a bit around the corners but it’s more obvious and deliberate-looking here, and I like how the soft grey links the three individual poses together to create an apparent group of figures.

Quick draw

A3: Charcoal and wash on paper

These are all fairly quick drawings, the two lower poses being about five minutes each, and the feinter washy ones at the top were one or two minutes.

It’s amazing how much can be done in a very short time to capture the gesture and mood of a pose.  There isn’t time to think. You just have to go for it and be spontaneous.

I had a good day today and enjoyed working quite fast.

Headless

A3: Charcoal on paper

So, having said I might like to focus a bit more on the head what do I do here? I leave it really vague and instead get all involved in the fascinating contrast between the light and shade on the shoulder and torso until the pose is over and there’s no time left.  What can you do? To me the head just wasn’t the most engaging aspect of this pose, in fact it seemed almost invisible, as if a veil of light had been thrown over it obscuring any detail.