Category Archives: 1 Observing the Human Figure

Observing the Human Figure 3 – Tonal Figure Study

The brief: In this exercise you will concentrate on conveying form by exploring tonal  values. Set up your model’s pose with a light source casting clear shadows and highlights. If you use directional lamps you may need more than one to combat the problem of hard outlines around shadows. For a tonal study it’s best to work in natural light.

Due to the times I work and the days, all seven of them could only do this exercise in the night time. So to try and combat the hard outlines as it instructed in the brief I left all the lights on. Including the bathroom which adjoins the living room.

Preparation

Before starting this exercise I cut two almost square sheets of thick card the shape of the card influenced the poses in the following sketches and the final piece as I wanted to fill as much of the surface of each one up as possible. I painted one of the pieces of card with an opaque coat of Burnt Umber and the other with naples grey.

Tonal Sketches

1st Tonal Study

1st Tonal Study

The first tonal sketch was very week, I had drawn better tonal studies in the first figure drawing exercise, Drawing the Human Figure. A week first drawing is getting to be a habit with me, it .takes a couple of drawings for me and the model to relax. Everything is in proportion though so it seems like I am improving as I go along.

 

 

 

 

2nd Tonal Study

2nd Tonal Study

The second sketch also in charcoal was much better, although there are hard outlines in places, particularly under the thigh. Again proportions are good and a lot of the tones are really nice but looking back on this pose as with all the poses I could have draped cloth over her or even a towel as I had secured the only sheet of cloth I had as a backdrop to stop the light reflecting off the white wall.

The second pose was drawn quicker and smoother than the first pose, the speed was down to the position of the model. Giving her her I-phone took her mind off any aching for the duration of the drawing. I think.

3rd Tonal Study in Pencil

3rd Tonal Study in Pencil

One of my deepest regrets so far of this course is overlooking the potential of this third tonal study in pencil. The angle, proportions, muscle tone and features were all spot on. There were hard outlines on the legs and arms but I could have overcome this in the final painting. Instead I opted for two different poses to turn into paintings.

 

 

3rd Tonal Study

4th Tonal Study in Charcoal

This next pose like the previous drawing in pencil was influenced by the painting by the Painting ‘Curled Nude on a stool’ by Euan Uglow that was shown as an example in this section of the course material, which I really liked and being flexible I know she would be able to hold this pose as long as I needed to draw it.

In this pose I included the chair and some background, The course material said a tonal figure in space. Did I go to far. Again, as with the first two poses I drew this in charcoal which was easy to blend to remove any hard outlines, but there are still some hard outlines on shoulders, beneath  the elbow and on the hip but there were heavy shadows here. I decided to take this one further and work from this sketch for a painting as I wanted to see how painting from the charcoal sketch would turn out.

First Painting

Drawing with a light mix on Burnt Umber

Drawing with a light mix on Burnt Umber

Working from the charcoal sketch I began to draw the figure and build up tone with a lighter mix of white and burnt umber to attempt to build up the tone on the painting. At this point I realised it was not going to be a pure tonal painting and was already planning the next painting.

 

 

 

 

 

Painting Almost finished

Using mixtures of Burnt Umber, white and black I began to imitate the charcoal study while trying to do away with any hard outlines some of which I chose to paint in at first probably down to insecurity. What I should have done was just slowly continue to build up the tone from the mid-tones something that I would do in the next painting.

 

 

 

9 - 1st Painting Painted from Charcoal Study

9 – 1st Painting Painted from Charcoal Study

I am happy with the final painting but as an experiment rather than as a tonal study. There are some very hard outlines which were almost unavoidable due to the darkness of the shadows and trying to get rid of these which I did try but wasn’t satisfied with the results.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Drawing in Pencil

Drawing in Pencil – Drawing the human figure

This was a sketch for the Drawing the human figure exercise of one pose that I was particularly happy with and wanted to come back to for this exercise as I thought it would be really great for a tonal painting for this exercise. The one problem was proportions were slightly out and I had no girlfriend around or a photo of this pose for reference so I would be working solely from this sketch and using knowledge that I acquired in the drawing course such as central axis and that the head fits into the body roughly about 3 and a half times from the crown of the head to the bottom on a seated figure.

 

 

 

I started this painting trying to picture Edgar Degas’s nudes in my mind’s eye but not using any particular one as a reference.

 

Tonal Study - Finished Painting

Tonal Study – Finished Painting

Working on the board I prepared with the mix of Naples Grey I used a very light mix of Naples Grey and Burnt Umber to paint in the figure starting at the crown of the head then working down to the bottom and then back up the leg and finally painting n the arms knees feet and face. I like to have the shape of the face completed to some degree so that I can use the entire head as a reference for the measurement of the rest of the body.

Once I was happy with the shape and proportions I began to build up the tone in the neck shoulders and back as well as the tops of the arms this gave me an idea of the tones and mixes of paint I would be using. A certain ratio of these two paints can look ginger and that was something I wanted to avoid.

The soft tones were quite difficult to achieve and it take quite a while to complete, slowly layering the paint using more of a scrumbling technique than anything else with a small detail brush.

I was reluctant to add in the shadow as I was worried it would look like she was having a pee so I really had to play with that, and I did mess up. This resulted in me painting the whole floor in a dark mix of the two paints and then going over that with the Naples Grey and shaping the shadow from there hence the floor looking a different tone.

My thoughts on the final painting

There differences between the painting and the primary sketch such as the length of the neck, length of the arms and also a longer more curved back but I think I don’t think anything looks out of proportion. However, this was a tonal exercise and I think I did well with the tones in the final painting. There are some parts that look flat but overall I think it works well.

My Thoughts on this Exercise

Although I am very happy with the finished piece I could have gone about the whole exercise differently using  cloth draped over the figure and maybe other props. It would have also probably have been nice to do some standing poses especially from the back as she does have some nice back muscles but I can come back to this.

Further Tonal Studies

I have been invited by my girlfriend to her yoga classes to do some studies there but so far I haven’t had the time but this did inspire me to look on the internet for some interesting naked yoga poses.

4th Tonal study

Tonal Study in Oil Pastel

This drawing was originally going to be a linear study in oil pastel but then realized the potential of the colours I was using and so I went onto smudge the colours together with very interesting results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7th Tonal Study

2nd Tonal Study in Oil pastel

I wanted to do more experimenting with these colours and chose another interesting pose to try to create what I had done the result was slightly different but still very interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Drawing

The following drawings were of models on the life drawing site Pixelovely.com.

5th Tnal Study Life Drawing

2 Minute Sketch in Conte

6th Tonal Study Life Drawing

2 Minute Sketch in Conte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8th Tonal Study Life Drawing

10 Minute Sketch in Conte

This sketch is really starting to grow on me, being an Egon Schiele fan it does remind me of some of the scrawny sketchy figures in his paintings.

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Observing the Human Figure 2 – Linear Figure Studies

I began this exercise with my watercolour field set, XL sketchbook and a medium sized tank watercolour brush (if that’s what you call them). I have used this brush for sketching quite a while now and I am really comfortable with it.

For the first few studies I sat down with my model as I messed up a lot in the drawing 1 course due to being sat on a high chair which made her head look bigger in the drawings.

1 - Watercolour with Backround

1 – Watercolour with Backround

1 - Watercolour with Background Notes

1 – Watercolour with Background Notes

Drawing the background of the above study wasn’t planned, it just happened. Once I had drawn the figure I decided to add some shadow and then with not wanting to waste paper I took the chance to draw the background which worked out quite well as it contained everything that I had been painting so far in this course,

The drawing of the figure itself was not brilliant, the light came from different light sources such as a lamp, the kitchen and the bathroom so I found it quite difficult to depict the shadows using line. The figure is in proportion but the eye does get lost in a confusion of lines in the legs and arms.  The face bares no resemblance, although it does look Asian.

I started to experiment with drips here but soon stopped it was a nice clean drawing and it was a shape to ruin it.

2 - Second Watercolour Sketch

2 – Second Watercolour Sketch

2 - Second Watercolour Sketch Notes

2 – Second Watercolour Sketch Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the second watercolour study I sat at the front of the model  with her in another comfortable position, one leg behind her with the other in front and her right hand gripping her ankle. As with the first study I painted the lines with a lighter colour first and then went over the outline with black. This time I only painted in simple shadows rather than a complex background. The body is in proportion but I was unable to depict the foreshortening on her right arm especially from her elbow to her hand which looks straight and therefor to short.

3 - Third Watercolour Sketch

3 – Third Watercolour Sketch

3 - Third Watercolour Sketch Notes

3 – Third Watercolour Sketch Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third sketch was my favourite, it was a standing pose and I sat on a low chair to draw her so she was taller than me so as not to depict her as a midget (she is only five foot). The piece gave man idea to maybe do a piece with several poses my the same model on a long support wearing these simple clothes that made her look quite cute and I think I managed to capture that in this drawing with her knees and feet together. At this stage I planned to do a larger painting from this in acrylic but I don’t have a great track record of enlarging smaller studies freehand.

4 - Fourth Watercolour Sketch

4 – Fourth Watercolour Sketch

6 - Sixth Watercolour Sketch

6 – Sixth Watercolour Sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 - Fifth atercolour Sketch

5 – Fifth atercolour Sketch

The next three went brilliant especially the fourth which made her look like a witch the body on all three however were in proportion and I even coped alright with the foreshortening on the reclining poses, something that I do manage to have a problem with most of the time when drawing from life.

One thing that I am happy with is that in all the watercolour studies so far I have managed to get the models legs looking quite nice and in linear figure studies from what i can see so far, that really helps.

 

 

7 - Experimenting with Lino Ballpoit

7 – Experimenting with Lino Ballpoint

9 - Linear Study in Ballpoint

9 – Linear Study in Ballpoint

8 - More Ballpoint Sketches

8 – More Ballpoint Sketches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From there I decided to experiment with line in a completely different way with ballpoint inspired by an earlier sketch that I did in the style of Alberto Giacometti  In these  4 drawings I decided to build up the three dimensional form of the figure by using a spiraling/squirkling technique.

The first drawing was fine but was  too tight for my liking so I worked on another three, none to perfection although I can see that with a bit of practise this would be a really effective technique but could it be used with a painting medium?

9 - Linear Study in Ballpoint

9 – Linear Study in Ballpoint

I wanted to find out if I could recreate the earlier standing pose on a larger scale and still keep the feminine qualities that I depicted in the watercolour skretch. I began by painting a piece of card with a semi-opaque wash of light blue then once it was dry used a more opaque mix of the same blue to draw the outline before painting over it again with black then I depicted the light and shade with Mouse Grey and Burnt Umber. The result wasn’t brilliant as I messed up on the face and there was  more length in the body but it wasn’t that bad either.

 

 

 

11 - Acrylic Linear Study - Messing Up

11 – Acrylic Linear Study – Messing Up

This next study was painted on a semi-opaque wash of Yellow Ochre. I thought it would be a really simple pose but when I came to paint the outline, this time in Burnt Umber I messed up really badly. I thought I would be able to correct it by painting over the messed up lines with the same colour as the base coat but messed up even more as the top layer was opaque. I probably shouldn’t have stopped there but by this time I was totally put off this pose but I will try it again in the next exercise, Tonal study.

 

 

 

The final piece for this exercise was a linear study painted from the watercolour drawing in the previous exercise Drawing the Human Figure. I used the Mouse Grey again to paint the outline onto a semi-opaque wash of Burnt Umber which gave the board a wood grain look. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next but then imagined a darker line over the top of the light grey and so went with that. The result was that the painting had an almost tiger feel to it, I included some shadow but it looks like she has peed herself.

13 - Going over LInes in a Darker Paint

13 – Going over LInes in a Darker Paint

12 - Axcrylic Linear Study on Transparent Wash

12 – Axcrylic Linear Study on Transparent Wash

Observing the Human Figure 1 – Drawing the Human Figure

The brief for this exercise was to:

Set my model in a comfortable position, sitting or lying down making sure there is sufficient light both on the subject and the working surface. 

The Head length is generally 1/7 of the full length of a standing figure, this can be used to measure proportions…Look at the shapes or outlines surrounding the figure which will help to locate the figure in space. 

Use any drawing medium to mark out the principle shapes in your sketchbook…Make several sketches, working quickly each time and adjusting measurements as you progress…Move around the figure trying out different angles.

1 Drawing in Pencil

1 Drawing in Pencil

Throughout the Drawing figures part of the Drawing 1 Course I took advantage of the fact that my girlfriend is a yoga teacher and it was no different in this exercise. Asking her to hold positions that were quite difficult so there were often breaks mid drawing.

The first pose in pencil wasn’t the easiest for me or the model but it was an extremely quick drawing. This was down to being able to draw large parts of the figure in one continuous line such as the head back bottom under the thigh. It was also a very easy pose to position in my sketchbook.

 

 

2 Drawing in Charcoal

2 Drawing in Charcoal

The second drawing was in charcoal and was a seated pose so it gave my model a break for a few minutes. Working with this medium it didn’t take long to get the drawing anatomically correct but then again I have had a lot of practise drawing the same model.

The benefit of this pose is being able to use the shapes within the figure to get the measurements right. The face bares no resemblance at all but I’m not too bothered at this stage it was the outline and negative space that I was concentrating on.

 

 

4 Drawing in Ballpoint Pen

3 Drawing in Ballpoint Pen

The third pose in ballpoint pen was inspired by Gustav Klimt’s Goldfish which is probably one of my favourite Klimt paintings. Again this was quite a quick pose but quite awkward so we had to take a break mid pose. It is a nice pose to sketch but probably one I would not choose to paint due to the length of time it would take in a very uncomfortable position.

The back muscles look nice especially the prominent muscles at either side of the spine are wonderful to draw but the bottom is not defined this is due to my girlfriend, like most Thais, not having a prominent bottom.

 

 

3 Continuous Outline Drawing

4 Continuous Outline Drawing

On the next drawing I decided to do the same pose but this time I decided to draw the outline with one continuous line. The benefit or practising to draw with one continuous line is that when it comes to drawing with paint on a canvas or other support I will hopefully be making less corrections.

Drawing in pencil this time I managed to give her what she wished for, a large bum.

 

 

 

5 Drawing in Oil Pastel

5 Drawing in Oil Pastel

The next pose was probably the most difficult for her too hold so I did the drawing in stages. My chosen medium for this drawing was oil pastel. I drew the outline very quickly with a neutral colour and did my best to mark out folds of skin and shadow before taking a break. This allowed me to build up colour and tone without having to look at the model all the time and she wasn’t having to stay long in the position for the second sitting while I corrected  some outlines.

Parts of the drawing do look incorrect and she looks fatter in the drawing than she actually is but rather than keep working on it I decided to move on to the next.

6 Back to Pencil

6 Back to Pencil

The next pose was a lot nicer and even though it looks quite technical was very easy to draw with the actual figure taking me not much more than a couple of minutes to draw. This time I decided. to add the chair and some background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Another Drawing in Oil Pastel

7 Another Drawing in Oil Pastel

From there I went back to the oil pastel with a pose that was also very quick and easy to draw this time from the front with the model slightly more upright. As I was drawing from the front, the shapes on the left and right arm and leg were almost symmetrical which saved some time so I managed to add a bit of colour and tone without having to take a break.

I really like this pose due as her breasts and shoulders have a really nice shape, I will probably come back to paint something similar later.

 

 

 

8 Watercolour Sketch

8 Watercolour Sketch

I chose to do the next drawing in watercolour in my mixed media sketchbook with a similar pose to the second drawing in charcoal but this time with the head turned towards the wall so I didn’t have to mess around with facial features, It’s really easy to draw on a small scale in watercolour  and it helped drawing in charcoal first as I was already got used to drawing the shapes involve with this pose.

 

 

 

 

On the whole I think I did quite well on this exercise and tried out different drawing mediums rather than just charcoal. I know I was told to focus on outline but I wanted to a bit further.