Thursday, May 29, 2008

June is Leg month!

Starting in June I'll be studying the muscles and bones of the leg. I picked up some used anatomy flash cards from Amazon. They are nicely organized with additional info about insertion points and what they control or do. Should be good for now. Due to my slow-learning super power, I'll give each portion of the body a month; quizzing myself at lunch and on breaks while at work. I want this info embedded into my brain.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

FDW - Sessions 3

[Update] Forgive the quality. Phone pictures for now. A number of good disasters in the mix. Something about this model's legs it was really easy for me to exaggerate the length of them.

Todays session was nice. The model was male and slender with a well defined muscular build. Very easy to see his structure which created nice shadows as well. He did wild poses, very spread out, legs every which way and arms flailing about. These poses made for challenging drawings at times. At others times it helped because there were such clear cross sections or easily definable negative spaces.

I attempted to recreate the technique from Ron Lemen's speed video posted down below. Using some vine charcoal it was refreshing to do those bold simplified marks. I found that once they were there they acted as a guide for my eyes and I could easily stray from or cut into those them to help define the actual shape. And that foundation line has a lot of strength and confidence too which keeps the under structure feeling more chiseled into space. I'll still need a lot more practice at it but I could already tell that it was beneficial.

I've also been trying to slow down a bit. I tend to be too fast. My speed helps me spot proportion issues quickly but then I speed on through to the shading (which then looks sloppy) when I could be spending more time on proper structure. If the structure is good, the rest of the drawing will hold up. I need to drill this into my head more. Just like thumbnails; if the composition is good, the larger piece will retain the same relation of positive and negative shapes.

Turnout at FDW was pretty large today, around 12 people I believe. Devon (sp) has been a regular there lately and is a tester from Midway. From what I see of his drawings he's really trying to get down the arcs of the poses by focusing mainly on silhouette shape making. I'd like to take some pictures of Devon, Tae, and Marko's work to post up here in the neat future.

Tomorrow I plan to do some exercise in drawing form from the Loomis book Figure Drawing for all its Worth. My drawings from session 3 were large, I'm not able to scan them in nor do I have a camera. I'll try and figure something out though.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Figure Drawing Workshop - Sessions 1 & 2

The Figure Drawing Workshop (FDW) is an amazing continuing arts service, which I believe is ran by Georgios Allpokorites. The studio has been around for 36 some years and has offered open figure drawing that long. I'm amazingly lucky to have moved 2 miles from it.

More info can be found at their website: The Drawing Workshop

Part of their services is two open figure drawing sessions twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays. 15 dollars per session. His structure goes as fallowed:

The first fifteen minutes are divided with 20 sec. and 40 sec. poses • 10 min of ONE min poses
15 mins of 3 min poses • FIVE 5 MIN POSES • two ten min poses • One 15, 20 and 25 min poses and with appropriate breaks for the models. total 3 hrs

Session 1 Picks

For better or worse. I'll provide ones I do and don't like. The speed sketch I like because I felt I captured the major motion or arcs to the pose she held. This particular model was very good. She did many classical poses and even held facial expressions! The next piece with no facial detail I like aesthetically, though there are many glaring issues. Her proportions were very long and slender, I don't feel I exaggerated them much either. The final selection was just horrible to me. It was an attempt to understand the "shade with the form, not against it" theory. Which I agree with completely and find those that I admire fallowing.

Session 2 Picks

A friend from work (Mandy) let me borrow one of her "ink" pens. I was really hesitant to take it thinking it was more of a felt-tipped type device which I'm not too fond of (they drag too much for my liking.) I was surprised to find out that it had a nice soft brush tip and has a mechanism that allows you to squeeze the body to refill the ink into the brush! I really loved how this pen worked and I felt the quick sketch portion of the FDW look alive and have great movement. I'm able to hide my mistakes with sloppiness. I'm not sure if thats good or bad but I like the results though I know they could be more accurate and confident.

The last two were done with a Black Prisma color pencil which Loomis used a lot for his life drawings. I do like the feel of it and I could get use to it easily. I just need to really grasp drawing with the form and not against it concept. I'll be doing some exercises and posting the results in the coming week.

...infect my brain please.

There are certain artists' methods that I want to have more influence over me when I approach the figure. I'll bring more up as I progress. Two prominent ones need mention today though. To start:

1) Andrew Loomis

His idealized proportions and specific rendering style of the human form is astounding to me. He is able to masterfully utilize shape, form, value, texture, and line. The latter two and the combination of them all are my weaker areas currently. My line has gotten a lot more confident since attending the Guildhall at SMU but still a ways off from Loomis.

Loomis' book (and title I pay homage to in this blog) Figure Drawing for all it's Worth and his other books can be downloaded for free now that they are 25+ years old. I've printed one or two of them out and are great quality. A link for all of his books can be found by clicking here: Andrew Loomis Books
you will need to scroll down a slightly past the ads before you will see them.

2) Ron Lemen

I'm fascinated by his initial bold structural mark making into such simplistic shapes of the human form. I would be afraid to make such large dark marks in the initial drawing due to past blunders of going to dark to soon when proportion faults may still arise. I'm beginning to think it's the medium he is using. Maybe vine charcoal?

Ron is a well accomplished illustrator, painter, and concept artist. He provides many tutorials floating all over the net and can be found posting often at

He's also has a training course over at xTrain which I might consider checking out in a month or two. I'll be researching their services in the near future.

A collective...

...for placing my thoughts and progress on drawing for others to see and scrutinize over. Motivation for me strikes hardest when it's fueled by anothers request; a faithful subconscious roadblock I aim to deter a bit here.

With a recent move to the Chicago area, I've stumbled upon a wonderful figure drawing studio 2 miles from home. A few of my colleagues from work and I have attended two sessions so far.

Results soon...