Aristides atelier drawing – people

This section fills me with anticipation and trepidation. I want to be able to do this even though I’ve been convincing myself I don’t need to because ‘I don’t draw like that’. A salutary lesson was discovering that Banksy was responsible for a very complex and realistic scene of chimpanzees in parliament so, hm. This tiny clip I think makes the point that those very simplistic and socially astute paintings on walls are based on a thorough knowledge of the art of drawing. To be good you first have to get good.

Bottom left corner of Banksy's 'Devolved Parliament' 2009.


This is the first of many. The originals are copyrighted so I can’t include them in my progress photos, you’ll have to take my word for it that this is the disembodied chubby leg of a child. I used my new graphite sticks – 8b in this instance – and putty rubber to copy the lithographic original by Charles Bargue (undated).


This is a blocking-in exercise, something I find quite difficult. I’d had a hard time with the more structural tasks earlier in the book because I couldn’t ‘see’ the head the parameters of which the structures were defining. I did them but they were more of a copying exercise than an internalising one, and resulted in a series of crash helmets. This, at least, is a recognisable profile, but the test comes on the next page where the metaphorical stabilisers are off and I have to find my own. Meanwhile, Hollow Man, from the original ‘Aubrey Stage One’, 2016 by Elizabeth Beard.


‘Aubrey Final’ (Elizabeth Beard, 2016) looks rather more female than the first sketch and is drawn in brown pencil and white chalk on toned paper. I’m wondering whether to tone the page in the book and try for the same effects or stick with graphite. Perhaps simplicity is the priority for this task.

Aubrey has turned out more female than the original although that in itself seems equivocal. There’s quite a lot amiss from the shape of the face through to the proportions but it was an interesting exercise that forced me to look at detail in a way I’ve tended to fudge around in the past. Best bit? That eyelid.


There are three more portraits left in the book to copy and each one looks to be quite a challenge. They’re also interesting in their subjects and styles so I would like to take a little longer with them than I have with these. I will post them individually.



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