Part 4, figure drawing

These are sketchbook drawings mostly from internet models. Today a new box of pastel stumps arrived and provided an opportunity for very quick sweeps of shape and form due to their stubby shape. The first two sketches are on gesso-prepped surface, the third just plain sketchbook cartridge. I do like the way this medium, and its size and shape, pull me away from attending to detail at the expense of form, even though the forms I’ve ended up with are nowhere near accurate or in proportion.



I bought a mirror. This is its first use as a model reflector. I need to do many more of these because by even the second attempt, some things seemed to fall a tiny bit into place. I seem to have given myself a Rego makeover!


Looking at the Research Point, a small number of artists came to mind. Unfortunately so many are of nude women under the pervasive male gaze. The more I see this, the less I like it, and the more resistant I am to drawing unclothed models. This extended, a little to my surprise, to a recommended OCA video featuring a female artist. How voyeuristic it felt, the model sitting there naked and all of us watching, clothed and behind screens. I abandoned it, knowing I would be missing tips and ideas from a skilled professional but feeling far too uncomfortable about the vulnerability of the naked woman.

26th July. Two more sketches using myself in a mirror and I’ve discovered that it’s quite lot easier to draw parts of me that aren’t doing the drawing. I’ve used pastel stumps on gesso-prepped paper – the first black, the second deep purple.


This is an illustration of my difficulty with drawing myself drawing. Also the angle of my head and numerous other factors.


27th July. This is another mirror self portrait using a charcoal pencil on gesso-prepped cartridge. I’m quite pleased with the lines and the relative fluidity which may be slightly influenced (unconsciously because, although I’d just looked, I hadn’t had that intention) by the Hockney drawing of Celia in the course materials.


Who have I looked at for comparisons of figure drawing style?

Toulouse Lautrec – before the simplified nature of his posters (necessitated, I understand, by the printing process), his drawings were quite loose and almost cartoonish. There was a great deal of movement and energy, often with large numbers of characters and a focal individual. ‘La Danse au Moulin Rouge’ looks to me like a picture of spontaneous uninhibited fun.

Egon Schiele – I envy the economy of line, and suggestion of form, but I am less keen on the disturbing content. It doesn’t surprise me to find he was very troubled.

Paula Rego – this woman’s drawings really appeal to me; big, solid female figures with lots of volume and representing the antithesis of Degas’ pretty dancers. Her subject matter is also disturbing, as was her life, but introspective and self-analytical rather than simply expressive of disturbance. Her drawing is a very different animal from both Schiele and Lautrec’s.


Leonardo DaVinci – there is no way I can fail to refer to his work; anatomically precise, observational, clearly expressed, and with the gaze of a scientist, not a voyeur. It seems to me he was a documenter of the human body rather than an interpreter.

Johannes Vermeer – what I like most about his work is its plainness. These are so often domestic scenes, innocent but in no way saccharine, his female subjects are clothed, and beautifully lit – often by natural light from a window. The one that always now comes to mind is his Study of a Young Woman in which his model looks back at him from the picture with the kind of trust in her eyes that you would give to an old family friend who had never looked at you with self interest in his own eyes.




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