Etiqueta: Figure

Part 4 The figure and the head

Project 4 Structure – Exercise 1 The structure of the human body

For reference in this part of the course, I studied ‘Drawing the nude – Structure, anatomy and observation’ by Stuart Elliot and looked through Taschen’s book on Egon Schiele for inspiration on line:

Egon Schiele – Nude girl with black hair, standing (1910), Watercolour and pencil

This for me is a very delicate, emotional drawing – the girl has an innocent look, Schiele’s line of the hands, elbow, ribs LHS and hips uses skeletal landmarks and profiles to add life to his drawing.  The wash in the rib cage also adds more emphasis to the skeleton beneath the skin.

My own studies using parts of my own body were more successful than the few copies I made of other drawings:








Obviously, I need to keep practicing my line drawings and improve on my observational skills – this a lifetime of learning/practicing – but I have found an area of drawing that I enjoy: the figure and portraits.

Research point – Historic and contemporary artists whose work involves the underlying structure of the body

Two immediate artists spring to my mind when thinking about historic artists – that of Leonardo da Vinci whose studies on human form and the underlying structure including bones, veins and muscles etc. are extremely famous. The other is Michelangelo whose work I have seen in the flesh! I have seen his sculptures which have such impressive form showing veins, muscles and bones on the skins (stone) surface – so real you would have to touch them to realise that they are cold and really stone not flesh. He achieves a sense of weight and pose that is beyond belief – I adore his work. In his drawings he achieves similar artistic representation using minimal use of line.

In his short life, Egon Schiele was able to achieve a high degree of accuracy in his line drawings which show bones – skeletal landmarks and facial expressions using a limited palette of colour, thin wash of watercolour/ink and expressive line. (see above)

An interesting contemporary artist I found online is David Oliviera, … his work includes wire sculptures of the structure of the body and drawings/paintings of skin/skeletal elements:


An interesting cross-over between drawing and sculpture.

Exercise 2 – Three figure drawings

I used my own body for these drawings and instead of drawing three poses as in the exercise brief, I chose to make a standing pose – nude, and then a series of seated poses semi-nude:


Male nude standing, Graphite on mylar (105x75cm)

Working from life is certainly very different from using photos or internet videos. Its a shame that I could not find a life class nearby.

I used both shading and line to emphasize form, skeletal outlines/profiles and with hindsight noticed that my left shoulder was drawn too large and that my left knee was too low. In general I was happy with the drawing and especially liked the effect of the large graphite block on mylar.  To improve the drawing further, I could have corrected some of the lines and improved upon the shading/tonal contrast.

My second drawing was in fact three versions of me sitting down at my easel on a high stool – an idea that came from the earlier pencil sketch – see above:

Seated male – semi nude, Black acrylic ink and pencil on fabriano paper. 105x75cm

The centre drawing was made using my left hand to make the initial outlines in pencil. I  found that making these drawings was a little awkward as it was difficult to keep my hand moving – drawing – and maintaining the poses. It would obviously be easier with a live model in front of me.

Detail to show pencil outlines of neck and arm


Detail of RH figure

Whilst the structure, pose, form and weight were satisfactory and did in fact (as commented by my wife) represent me – I was too heavy in my use of ink. In some places it could have been omitted and left as just pencil line, or I could have been more careful in the tone and weight of line – a big challenge ahead!




Part 4 The figure and the head

Project 2 Proportion – Exercise 2 A longer study

I especially enjoyed this longer pose of my wife watching TV…


Willow and compressed charcoal on Strathmore Charcoal paper 95g – 12 x 18″


Once again I have a achieved a good sense of space and used a wide range of tones to depict form.  The drawing is in fact a good likeness and I had to use foreshortening in her left arm and legs. Darkening the background allowed me to model the outline of the face which was in the light – without resorting to line.

The surface was easy to work but I had trouble in smudging the willow charcoal which insisted in maintaining a flat even tone – I had to use compressed charcoal to increase the depth of the darker tones.

In answering the questions in the exercise:

I have captured the pose well and used an interesting perspective – standing over the model with light from the RHS.

The weight and presence I feel were ok and using details of the sofa placed the model well. The weight of fabric was good and reflected the fall/behaviour of this tea-shirt type material around the figure.

The arms were a little clumsy and lacked clear outlines. I will work on this further during this part of the course. I need to pay more attention to the structure of the body – the bones – skeletal landmarks etc,


Part 4 The figure and the head

Project 2 Proportion – Exercise 1 Quick studies


Charcoal – A2 250g/m2 Mixed media paper


Charcoal – A2 250g/m2 Mixed media paper

I feel very comfortable using charcoal – a medium that I used little in the past.

The above were some quick studies before continuing on to two 10 minute studies. The quick study concentrated on using line and the second batch blocks of charcoal with some added lines.

The comment in the exercise text about ‘drawing over and over until the lines and marks begin to work was interesting and really did work – especially in the drawings below in which you can see some of the original marks that were incorrect – but add a dynamic to the finished images…


Compressed charcoal on 250g Mixed media paper



Compressed charcoal on 250g mixed media paper

Whilst there were some inaccuracies in my line work, in general I placed the figure well within the sofa and actually achieved a good likeness (in the second) – the first image gave my wife a beard!


These were predominantly line drawings which did give a sense of space and depth by added small details of the sofa.  I did not have to do much measuring and felt that the proportions worked (rough measurements give overall body height approx. 6x the head – possibly up to 7 times )

I think it showed in the drawings that I enjoy working on figures/portraits.