Combining Drawing Techniques for a Competent Beginner

S.'s still-life homework shows increasing control of proportion and spatial relationships. In addition, she had done some sketches of figures and faces from photographs. Continuing in my efforts to encourage both freedom and accuracy, I decided to lend her an old easel so she can get a feeling of mobility and relaxation while drawing. She liked the flexibility of the easel and we worked on some figure drawing from photographs. I briefly introduced her to a new tool, "Nupastel", which is more dense than chacoal. The work focused on sketching in a light charcoal drawing, using directional lines, areas of tone, establishing darks and lights and grey tones, measuring, and making compositional decisions. All of these things are incorporated into her homework for next week, using imagery from photographs. She will produce a few sketches - up to 10 depending on time available - that take no more than 5-7 minutes each, using newsprint (a cheap paper). When she finds a composition she likes, she will draw it again on good (textured) paper, investing more time and, after establishing the underdrawing, emphasise the shadows with Nupastel over charcoal for stronger contrast. The charcoal "underdrawing" must be quite accurate because Nupastel can't be erased - it will stain the paper. The mark put down must stay untouched. This is a challenge. The other challenge is to get into the habit of drawing an "armature" which is like a wire skeleton of a figure. I demonstrated a few of the techniques to her and she grasped them conceptually. She did a few quick sketches and I reiterated the importance of directional lines, drawing from the core towards the surface, using the pencil as a measuring tool (slightly different when drawing from photographs instead of from life) and, in figures, using the head as a unit of measurement.


Deborah S.

Studio Arts, Literature & Writing

50+ hours
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