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Saturday, August 24, 2013

"But I don't have a Pen for the Ink" - Portraiture and Figure Drawing

Continuing the belated Spring 2013 Fiber Arts Degree posts:

After Perspective Drawing, we moved into Portraiture.
One of our first assignments in this section was to go home, go outside in the early afternoon (when the sun is at it's brightest), and take a picture of ourselves. We could then trace the picture and use a black magic marker or the Indian Ink we purchased with our supplies to shade in the shadows on the tracing. We were also given leave to utilize a computer's contrast capability to darken the shadows in the pictures even more to make tracing the shadows easier.

I ignorantly piped up to state: "But I don't have a Pen for the Ink." The instructor patiently pointed out I was to use the paint brushes we'd purchased with our supplies.

The point of this exercise was to begin to see that portraiture is all about shadows. A human being has no real angles - just shadows and soft curves.

I went home, took a variety of pictures,
{Yep, forgot to take out my earbuds.}
and explored how to change the photo to Sepia on the PC and tweak the contrast to bring up the shadows in the pictures.
I used magic marker to fill in the shadows on the tracings from these contrast pictures:

And I tried out the Indian Ink on one on the bottom left (and found I had much less control with the medium-sized brushes required for class).
{This exercise turned out to be useful in my Color and Composition class as well. Yep, that will be covered in a future blog.}

In the next class, he had us try to draw some "marble" busts - and I did alright (surprisingly).
My apologies - the in-class pictures are over-bright and my drawings {as usual} tend to be light. I did attempt to darken these a bit so I hope they're a bit more visible.
{As always, please click on the pictures to enlarge.}



We also did in-class, speed drawing where we drew sat across from a classmate, drew each other for 2 minutes, shifted seats, and drew the next classmate until we had met and had sketches of everyone. The instructor started us out with Graphite (pencil) and then had us try drawing with Conte crayons.
Not surprisingly, with my skill level, most of the portraits of my classmates are not, uh, complimentary, but my fellow students were all kind (some very much so) and it was fun to meet everyone and stare at them for a few minutes during the sketching. {grin}

A major assignment from the Portraiture section was to do a portrait of someone outside of class. I asked the DH if he would let me draw him. He agreed, but laughingly asked if it would be like a "Titanic sketch". {Uh, No.}

So a week or so before the portrait was due, I stalked the DH through a weekend to draw him.
But...he kept falling asleep!
He'd had a rough week sleep-wise and every time he sat down that weekend, he fell asleep.
Here he is "watching" ESPN. {grin *}
SO - I drew him asleep. {grin-er}
I can wholeheartedly confirm that my drawing was not the best of the portraits done for the class. I also believe my drawings were consistently not the least of the drawings done that semester.

But this is the only portrait I saw where the subject was asleep. ;-)

Portraiture shifted into Figure Drawing and a professional model joined our classroom for several weeks. We got to draw the human form with a variety of mediums (graphite, Conte, charcoal, ink) in a variety of time frames (15 seconds to 10 minutes).  I thought the model was very graceful, confident, strong, and extremely patient.

I have dozens of these drawings. Some days he had us sketch quickly for a few seconds, drop the paper to the floor and start on the next drawing. I've pulled out my favorites from the pile o'drawings to include here.
{As always, please click on the pictures to enlarge.}

This is probably my absolute favorite and might be the best representation of the model's grace:
{I think I might have done this one the
first day of Figure Drawing.}
Yep, Gryphon came by to help me take pictures of these Conte Drawings. 

And this was my favorite of the day he let us experiment some and I played with Charcoal:

All in all, Portraiture and Figure Drawing was a bit of an adventure and certainly something new for me. Drawing the model in class resembled my attempts to learn to speak Spanish - it takes me a while to remember the words I need and then longer to put them in the right order and conjugate the verb. I suspect I will never be "fluent" in drawing.

{*My sweet DH ok'd my including his portrait in this post - even though my drawing skills are not wondrous. He's a good guy and I'm pretty lucky to have him!} {And, no, he generally doesn't read my blog.} 

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