Proj 6, Ex. 3: A Portrait from Memory

The hardest part of the exercise for me was to think of someone to portray who did not look generic and uninteresting.  At first, I thought of a young bloke I had seen the other day in Canterbury.  I had received a parcel at Christmas and keep a piece of brown wrapping paper which had an interesting surface texture.  I decided to use charcoal on this, using the paper as the mid-tome and try to draw the image without an outline, thereby achieving lost and found edges.

I was not really happy with the result and could not picture the image in my mind so decided to rub back the image and try again.  This time I thought of an older man I had seen and had another go.

Again, I was happy with the result so rub back the charcoal.  All these attempts were building up another surface on the paper and adding layers of history to my final piece so I was not worried by drawing and then rubbing back and re-using the paper.  This is in stark contrast to how I would have felt at the start of the course, when no doubt I would have thrown the paper way and kept re-starting on a new sheet of paper.

I sat down and thought about all the people I have seen recently and who I should draw.  Suddenly I remember a young man I had seen on the tube when I was travelling to the Modigliani exhibition who had thick jet black hair which caught the light and was dressed quite retro including quite old-fashioned glasses.  I therefore build up my tones again in charcoal, drawing over my previous attempts.  I then lifted out the charcoal using a putty rubber to create the skin tones.

When I look at my image I was quite pleased with the result especially as I doubted that I could draw someone just from memory.  I think I have caught the thick hair and features quite well and he does have a slightly dated look to him.

After taking a break I realised I had not put in any highlights so added some in white Conte crayon.  I think this improves the image and brings out the structure of the face a bit more (the white is not so bright in the actual image – I think the flash has highlighted the lines).



Proj 6, Ex. 2: Your Own Head

As I am attending Life Drawing classes there is an opportunity to draw a model’s head so I completed a few drawings before attempting my own head.

The first set below are all 5 minute poses on A2.


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The next set are all 10 minutes poses (A2).


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The next drawing is a 30 minute pose (A2).


The final drawing in this series is 40 minutes (A2).


This sis probably for me the less successful of all the drawings of the model’s head.  I over-thought the drawing and tried using colour that just did not work.

I then moved onto drawing my self-portrait in my A4 sketchbook.  The first is a 5-10 minute drawing using a 6B graphite stick.  The mirror was positioned to the side above my head.  I tried to avoid drawing an outline and just used shading to define the shape of the head.  This was quite difficult as I would normally sketch in a light outline with indication marks for the position of the eyes etc to make sure my proportions were right.  Here I had to adjust the shaded areas to get the proportions correct.  I think this drawing is quite successful as I have caught a likeness, got the shading and proportions correct and like the expressive nature of the marks.

I then tried another quick sketch using Sharpie pens.  I repositioned the mirror, still to the side but level with my head.  This image is much less successful, the proportions are wrong, I found it difficult to maintain the same position in the mirror and as I tried to correct the drawing it got messy.

I moved onto making the longer study, moving the mirror back up and keeping to the side.  I used A3 Watercolour NOT paper and a 6B Graphite stick.  Again, like the first sketch I tried to avoid outlines.

This has not photographed well as the tonal values are greater in the actual drawing.  I think this is a successful drawing, a good likeness with a good variety of marks.  The mouth is not quite right and I look a bit miserable but I think that is a result of keeping the pose over a 40 minute period.  I particularly like the contrast between the softer and harder edges as well as the shading has defined some of the forms, such as the ear.

I then went back to try a longer drawing using Sharpie pens on A3 paper.

This is much more successful than my original quick sketch using this medium.  I like the monochrome blue and the variety/energy of the marks.  The eyes are not quite right but the mouth is better.

Overall, I am quite pleased with my self-portraits especially as I would not normally draw myself and am happy to remain hidden in the background.  Perhaps, my hidden self could be my personal project for Unit 5 – something to consider?

Proj 6, Ex. 1: The Head – Facial Features

For this exercise I drew some facial features of myself and my partner in my sketchbook, mainly exploring the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.

I found this exercise useful as in the life drawing classes you tend to focus on the whole body or a major proportion of the body.  By focusing in on one feature it made me look harder at the part of the face and appreciate the subtle changes in tone and texture that was present.  This should help when I start to develop portraits more in later exercises and the assignment.

Proj 5, Ex.1: Single Moving Figure

This first series of drawings (all A2) are of the model singing and playing the guitar.  Whilst no big movement occurred, the slight movement of the head, body and guitar was surprising distracting.

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The next drawing in pencil (A1) shows the model stepping onto a box.  The movement is divided into 4 distinct positions, with 1 minute pauses between each position.  This cycle was repeated 4 times.


The next drawing in charcoal is the model walking with 1 minute pauses in 4 positions, repeated 3 times.


Both these exercises were designed to help me look for similar positions in each drawing a slowly build the image.  It meant you had to be quick and re-analyse your drawing at each stage in order to show the movement.

In the next drawing the model is continuously walking for a 10 min period.


I found this really difficult as the model was advancing towards me and therefore changing in scale.  Also,  I became overwhelmed with trying to observe the model and record her movements, as well as record where her various limbs and body were located in space.

The next drawing (A1) in Conte is the model going from a sitting to standing position continuously for a 10 minute period.


In this drawing I tried to superimpose one edge of a drawing over the next to show that continuous movement.  Again, I think my brain was trying to do much and therefore not knowing quite which bit to concentrate on.

The final drawing (A1, charcoal) in this series is of a model continuous walking for a period of 10 minutes.


This time I tried to concentrate on four distinct position and show the model gradually increasing in size to show the model was walking towards me.  It is quite a sketch drawing but I think that add to the sense of movement.

This exercise was incredible enjoyable whilst very challenging.  I seemed to enter almost a position of panic with my eye trying to observe, my hand quickly record and my brain trying to anticipate the next position.  Overall, I am very pleased with my results, i would have never tried this before beginning this course.

Proj 4, Ex. 2: Structure – Three Figure Drawings


The first drawing in charcoal is A1 in size and was of a 15 min pose.


I like the energy and the tonal shading in this drawing even though the legs are a bit too long and the angle of the buttock is too sharp.  The weight on the back foot could also be better shown by darken the line a bit at the heel.

The next drawing is in Conte crayon (A1) of a 25 min pose.


Again, I like the shading in this drawing, particularly the darker tones on the back leg and under the chin.  The back leg is not quite right as it looks slightly detached from the pelvis.


The first drawings in this series is in pencil (A3 size for each, left 5 min pose, right 10 min pose).



With these drawings were successful and whilst the outstretched leg is slightly long in the left drawing, I like this as it emphasises the stretched nature of the pose.  In the right drawing the leaning back of the model is well captured as well as the twist of the back leg.

The next drawing using bamboo pen, brush and ink is A2 (30 min pose).


This is rapidly becoming my favourite drawing medium.  I think the pose is well illustrated and I like the dark shading on one side, bringing the figure forwards.  The correction lines help to give energy to a fairly static pose.

The next drawing is in Conte crayon (A2 – 30 mins).


The hair stands out for me in this drawing and the gaze down gives the pose a contemplating nature.  I need to change the weight of the outlines more, making some heavier and losing others to give the drawing more life.

My last two drawings are in pencil on A2, both 20 min poses.  The left hand drawing uses two pencil tied together and the right hand drawing a pencil tied to the end of a 45 cm stick.  this is to free up the drawings more e and try to become more expressive with my marks.  It also forces back from the drawing.

Both these drawing are more expressive than my previous drawings.  I particularly enjoy the range of marks in the right hand drawing and the various weights of the tones and marks.  Definitely a technique to experiment with further.


The first two drawings (A2) on mid-tone paper are in black and white Conte with the paper acting as the mid-tone (25 min and 30 min duration).

I have included more of the background in these drawings to place the model in context although still in a very loose manner.  Using a mid-tone paper has helped me to concentrate on the lightest and darkest tones and this has helped to improve these drawings.

The next two drawings are in charcoal on mid-tone paper, A2 and of 20/25 min poses.

Again, a lot of background is included and this does improve the drawings as the cushions help to define where the weight is distributed.  The right drawing was against a black backdrop and I think i could have lighten the figure more to bring her forwards.  The left hand drawing has a better range of tones and I have used a lighter touch.  I do tend to draw too dark with charcoal and even though I know this is the case, I find it hard to draw lighter tones.

My next drawing of a 30 min pose is A2 size, in Conte.


I had to reposition the arm at a late stage in this drawing as I realise I had the angle wrong.  I have managed to capture the twisted pelvis and the angle of the head.  Varying the weight of the marks on the outline would have improved this drawing.

My final three drawings (A2) use pen, brush and ink (all 20 min poses).

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In the first drawing the ink has bled along the top line of the drawing and this is a very happy accident as I think it adds to the drawing.  In this drawing I think I have captured the weight of the breasts and the angle of the thigh quite well.  In the second drawing the washes have helped define the form and in the third drawing I think the limited palette and using only a brush help to keep the drawing expressive.

Proj 4, Ex. 1: Structure – Details

I had an opportunity whilst attending Life Drawing classes to focus on detail and draw parts of the body which seemed idea for this exercise.  The first series of drawings (all A2) in pencil concentrate on the feet.  I have always found feet hands and the head quite difficult to capture when drawing the whole model so this was a great exercise in concentrating on one part of the body and focusing in on how they are structured.

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In the first drawing the angles in lower foot are too acute and do not seem nature, whilst the upper foot is more rounded and better formed.  I think it is the multi lines in the upper foot which give a better rendition as well as the shading round the toes.  I particular like the drawing of the sole of the foot in Drawing 2 and am pleased how I caught the various pads of the sole.  In the third drawing the relationship between the two feet is, I think, quite well drawn.

The next drawings are of the hands, again in pencil.

The drawing on the left (5 min pose) of the hand holding the bottle turned out quite well considering the time of the pose.  I think I have drawn the way the fingers are gripping the bottle quite well, although the could have been slightly more curved to match the rounded shape of the bottle.  In the right hand drawing, the form of the hands is well captured with an emphasis on defining the knuckles and nail shapes.

My third series (A2) are of the trunk of the body, again in pencil (2 x 7 minute poses).


These drawings concentrate on defining the structure from the centre outwards, only putting in outlines once the form of the structure has been defined.  The first drawing on the left shows at first I struggled with this concept, however, the second right hand drawing is much more successful, as I keep my initial marks light to define the form and then darker areas and lines to full define the structure of the skin.  The bottom areas under the belly button are not quite right and are too rounded but overall the impression of how the skin and fat sits is quite well drawn.

The next drawing (A2) was of a 1 hour pose and my view was of the back of the model.  We were concentrating on an area of the body and I choose the buttocks and legs of the model.


Whilst the drawing is quite success, I think I have shown how the different layers of skin sit on each other, an hour was almost too long for me for this drawing.  I kept readjusting the various elements of the drawing and in the ned this affected my final outcome.  I must have redrawn the legs about 10 times and this muddled my view of the drawing and the angles.  Something to think about for the future – how much time to spend on each drawing?

Proj 3, Ex. 4: Form – Energy

In these drawings (all 3 mins) the model was asked to adopt a pose as if about to move. I was trying to catch that moment just before any movement was about to take place, adding a sense of energy and dynamism to the pose.  In places I added multiple lines to try to show a slight movement in the muscles of the model as she prepared to move off.

In the next two drawings the model is reaching forward, from a standing and stooping position.  With only three mins for the drawings I tried to indicate the position of the feet and the limbs to create that feeling of forwards motion.

The last three drawings in pencil shows poses of reaching up and forwards.  I included a centre line in the drawing so I could position the body correctly and ensure the elongated form of the pose is conveyed.