Reflecting upon my work from the beginning of the semester in comparison to now, I can see some major improvement to my drawing process. I am progressively learning how to draw independently by relying on structure and memory more so than just copying an image. Due to the short amount of time spent on drawing models in life drawing classes, I was forced out of my comfort zone and could no longer focus on details. Rather than outlining the models I had to rough out the basic gesture of the pose and try to build up the structure based around this.
(20th October 2016, Week 1, 1 minute gestures)
One phrase that stuck with me the most during class was ‘Draw the whole thing first’ which at first I struggled to understand as I was too focused on one specific area of the drawing, leaving me with no time to finish the entire piece. I initially wasn’t sure how to approach life drawing but I found that considering the 3d space in which the model stands is a beneficial starting point. This incorporates the topic of scale and perspective which we had focused on in two different tasks. The first involving drawing the life model in numerous positions on the same chair to focus on scale and the second regarding drawing numerous boxes from different perspectives. These techniques were also useful to implement into other areas of our projects such as the ‘Build A World’ task, for example scaling characters to fit the environment accurately and the awareness of space.
( 3rd November 2016 week 3, 5 minute gestures)
(6th October 2016 Week 1 Perspective Homework)
Starting off, I found difficulty in scaling the models to fit the size of the page by making my drawings too big and focusing too much on specific areas than the overall construction. I was then encouraged to start at the model’s feet and use lines and basic shapes to build the model, using a line of action to help me map out where the model’s head, shoulders and torso were.
(10th of November, Week 4, 5 minute drawing & 1 minute gesture)
What I learned in the first week was the most significant turning point in my drawing approaches as it could be applied to each lesson every week in life drawing, specifically when approaching character references like Dirk the Daring or Madam Mim. Shape was a key component of these tasks so it was important that I could construct their forms more so than just focus on the character’s details. I did this through analysing the characters beforehand during one of our weekly homework’s by not just copying the reference imagery but also constructing my own poses using those guidelines.
(Week 5 Dirk the Daring Homework & Week 6 Madam Mim Homework)
The main inspiration for my life drawings recently have been the useful techniques of artist Michael D Mattesi and his book ‘Force, Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators’. In this he briefly speaks of the issues that I have been currently dealing with in my work, being able to copy images without properly understanding the form or ‘force’. The artist speaks of physicality and how the life model’s pose should be felt and understood directionally in order for students to correctly encapture the pose. An important aspect to his work that I found myself developing over these lessons is his use of curves to define a model rather than trying to outline a pose using quick rigid lines. Curves give a certain simplistic depth to life drawings, Mattesi exclaims that ‘Curved lines are more forceful than straights since they clearly show us directional and applied forces.’
(1ST December 2016, Week 7, 1 minute poses)
Progressing on with life drawing, my goal is to be able to draw well-formed people from memory so I can apply what I’ve learned in life drawing to my own personal work. To improve in future I will try to learn as much as I can about the human body so that I will be able to accurately represent proportions in my work despite the constraints of a time limit. I will also keep the idea of incorporating force and exaggerating gesture into my poses to give my drawings an interesting new perspective.