Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 Quick Studies

The Aim

  1. make some quick sketches in charcoal or graphite, at least 5 x 2 m in poses paying particular attention to the proportions and just using basic lines that describe the figure
  2. Work on 2 larger 10-minute drawings. be free with your use of medium and don’t erase any incorrect lines. Keep drawing over and over until the lines and marks begin to work.
  3. Do some more drawings of this pose, using different mediums

The Exercise

For this exercise I used photographs of models as well as a great online resource ‘Daily Life Drawing Sessions’ by New Masters Academy which has real-time poses of various models. I have put the individual web references with each drawing but please note that the specific pose may be featured anywhere in the acknowledged video. In some cases I played a 1-minute pose twice.

2-minute poses in drawing pen

(I didn’t choose charcoal or graphite as I have a tendency to smudge and rub out: I wanted to keep to simple lines).

Reference: New Masters Academy Figure Drawing Reference (DLDS #5, #31, #33, #34). URL’s posted underneath each pose. Accessed April 10th 2016.

5-minute poses in a variety of media

These poses were from photographs from Smith (1989) The Nude Figure: A visual reference for the artist. Watson-Guptill Publications: New York

Coloured charcaol block
10. Coloured charcoal block

10-minute poses in graphite

These poses were from photographs from Smith (1989) The Nude Figure: A visual reference for the artist. Watson-Guptill Publications: New York

Quick drawings in a variety of media

This pose was from a photograph in Smith (1989) The Nude Figure: A visual reference for the artist. Watson-Guptill Publications: New York.

Each took around 5 minutes to complete but I wasn’t rigid with my timing.  My aim with this group of drawings was to explore using different media to capture a pose quickly but to add some vitality to the images. I started with drawing a marker pen attached to a stick (about 30 cm long). I then wetted some paper, dusted over an area with graphite powder then drew on tot he paper with a graphite block, trying to use the darkened areas to create tonal interest. I then used a homemade feather quill and ink to draw a rapid ink sketch, then finally used white oil pastel to draw onto white paper (I couldn’t see where I was drawing), then washed over with indigo ink to reveal my image.


This turned into quite a variable set of exercises. I really enjoyed the quick 2-minute poses and the freedom that the drawing pen gave me. My line drawing in charcoal was a disaster in comparison. Firstly I found drawing from the videos much more satisfying (and easier) compared to photos. The lighting was generally better and the models were not static (even in their poses) which was much like drawing from life. I could also align my sketchbook with the computer screen in helpful way. Secondly, with the photographs I found that I had to move my eyes around more to wherever I had attached them near my easel. To start with this pushed my perception of proportion out and many of my 5-minute poses have too short legs. I managed to rectify this for the minute graphite drawings which are much more to correct proportions. The head of the charcoal line drawing (no. 11) is much too big. This wasn’t to do with how I was viewing the photograph per se. I often find heads very difficult to gage is size – I have no idea why I struggle with that one part of anatomy. Over time I have worked hard to correct this but in this instance I am displaying a throwback to getting it very wrong!!!!

The quick video poses were quite complicated with much twisting of the torso. I found this hard to get down in such a short time, however I do think that several are quite believable poses with body weight distributed in a correct line (in particular I am pleased with the 2-minute drawings nos. 4 and 7). The position of the feet are so important to anchor the drawing to the ground in a believable way. The left foot in drawing no. 2 isn’t in the right place making it look as if the leg is floating up in front of the body.

Charcoal was always my go-to medium for life drawing in the past (I rarely have used anything else). Interestingly it is the charcoal drawings (nos 10- 15) in this section that haven’t worked as well. In no 10 I have tried to use tone only and I quite like the result (possibly a case of less is more). However the rest are a bit lifeless. I much prefer the quick continual nature of the graphite drawings. In particular the contouring of the muscles in drawings 17 and 18. Shading as seen in no. 19 removes some of the dynamics of the pose even if the weight distribution is believable.

I really enjoyed experimenting with different media in this exercise. I found taping a marker pen onto a stick and drawing continually liberating (No. 20). It freed the association of my hand with the paper somehow and made my marks much more spontaneous and I love the result, even if the model wasn’t that thin. I really feel that the model is using her hands to support her from toppling over. The graphite powder and block didn’t work out so well (No 21). The drawing appears ‘tight’ and the dark areas aren’t quite right. As a technique I feel it has potential but I need to figure out how to do it. I am very pleased with no 23, the ink and quill drawing because of its simplicity. I’ve gone in a bit heavy with the ink in places but I particularly like the effect of the left hand on the ground – again I can feel the weight coming through the fingers (I messed up the other hand though!) I am also pleased with the oil pastel and wash (no 24) mainly;y because I had no idea how it was going to turn out until I washed the ink over. I was relieved to find that my lines mostly joined up in the right places.

I really loved doing these drawings and am growing in confidence to try different media. I work better if I don’t think about detail too much and keep my drawing fluid and loose.



Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 1 Quick Studies

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