Part 3, project 1, exercises 1&2 – drawing the human figure

This first exercise calls for a series of sketches, ideally of another person but under current circumstances this isn’t possible and so I am reliant on a mirror. The idea is to use line rather than tone but I seem to have deviated from that in these first sketches.

The next part of this involved painting using line based on a preferred sketch. I quite like this even though it doesn’t comply and I need to try again. The idea is there though.

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I think it’s fair to say, line is not my strong point. Which is surprising as I used to be all about line. I think the difference is that I am stuck with drawing/painting myself or photographs as social gatherings are out of the question for the foreseeable future. I would maybe find it easier to draw someone else because, apart from the self-scrutiny that’s required, there’s the problem of holding the drawing implements and materials at the same time. Here I’m perched on a chunk of wood which is quite low and very uncomfortable but the only way I could get myself framed in the mirror. Nightmare!

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I have found another person, or at least a substitute for one in these constrained times. I’ve spent some time in the past working through various of Juliette Aristides’ atelier books on drawing; copying onto the pages there the items shown for that purpose. They are beautiful books in their own right but I also gained a huge amount (of confidence in my ability at least to copy) from doing these tasks. I remembered there was one I hadn’t finished and went back to that for figure drawing. While I have objections to the use of live nude models, these are very much second hand and so I am botching my principles a little to see how transferable my pencil copying skill is to a larger environment using different tools and a fluid medium.

I prepared this (very old) piece of cartridge with transparent gesso then, when it was dry, washed it with dilute burnt sienna. Again once dry, I made a paint copy – or translation really – of an image on an unnumbered page using Mars black. This feels so much better than my earlier self-and-a-mirror efforts. Perhaps because it’s a more objective appraisal, or maybe because the lines are so much clearer. The spine isn’t right and his right buttock is misaligned but on the whole I’m quite pleased with the fluidity of it.

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