Category Archives: Research for Assingment 4: Pointers from my tutor on life drawing

Research for Assingment 4: Pointers from my tutor on life drawing

Doris gave me a few pointers… I’ll list the ones I’ve used here and update it as I go along.

(1) Tate Gallery masterclass recordings on life drawing

16/08/17 These were a series of four or five short 3-4 minute videos of famous artist from different disciplines taking a life drawing class with art students.

Interesting for an overview – there was no instruction as such but seeing the different approaches was fascinating and much more helpful than I thought as it gives you a wider perspective.


Measuring: Have a look at Vetruvian Man

20/08/17 – I followed the link and printed this out – transferring the article to pages so all the images displayed properly. I’ll read it and leave a brief comment later.

So, I downloaded this and had a look…it’s great if you’re drawing somebody from the front, standing up, facing you. Which is good to know, but most of the time that’s not what I’m drawing!

And, as I’m discovering from my life drawing class… it’s an ideal (again , good to know) but most people don’t match this. Either in basic shape or because of weight/muscle/fat.

It’s only really useful if I were drawing an idealised person from the front.

(3) Euan Uglow blog.

Very interesting… a funny combination… he uses plumb lines in his studio hanging from the ceiling and marks his drawing to get the shape right. And leaves the marks in his painting.

He then paints an idea [not the ideal (or the real)] of the model in front of him … filling his canvas with controlled emotion.

As a strategy to help me, rather than a voice or a style, sketching the room and adding markers to the body is a good idea. It links the model to the surroundings from the start and gets basic shape right, I can then use the internal shapes/negative shapes within the body to get that shape right.

Although it begs the question as to just how much I want a body as I see it/embodying expression… or the ‘real’ shape in space.

Most of the time I want to get the shape ‘right’ (otherwise it’s a distraction to the viewer – unless obviously distorted) and then do something with it in HOW I render the actual drawing/tone/colour.

(4) Watch Youtube: Using Measurements in Figure Drawing   (4 minutes, 24 seconds)

I’ve just watched this and wouldn’t say it’s entirely useful… the concept of maybe taking a central line through the eyes… measuring and boxing off seems very distant from drawing a person, more a mechanical exercise.

So… I would adapt this by using the principle but letting the drawing grow organically as I relate and measure different parts – and drawing by eye wherever possible… and constantly looking at the original.

When you get enough pointers in then you can really draw without the box. And the more I do it the less pointers I need.

Plus I want to stay connected with what I’m drawing as much as possible all the time.

I’m not copying a shape… I’m capturing a person. And my reaction to them.


Doris suggested some exercises.

Memory drawing: 

Good fun and I’ve done it in the past.

I try to incorporate this into my sketching by being aware of it and trying to visually remember more each time I sketch.

Blind drawing:

This must have a good theoretical basis but is something I’ve done, and though it creates some interesting drawings and makes you aware of how ‘finished’ some of your drawing is.

It’s not something I’d want to do load of.

Cover a whole sheet of paper with charcoal and pull out the highlights of the human form with an eraser: 

I’ve done this before and it’s great fun… but you need A1 or A2 sheets of shiny paper so the charcoal slips around and lifts easily. I’ll try to apply the principle to my drawing – and it is sometimes frustrating when the paper has so much bite the rubber hardly lifts and charcoal off.

Draw with a brush:

Did a little of this capturing ‘energy’ with watered down acrylic.

But I didn’t do the corrections which would have been a big help.

I loved the freedom of it… but wet mediums seem to have different qualities to dry and I’d need to master these first before I got the full benefit of this.

Build up mid-tone and flesh tones with limited palette:

This sounds great but more painterly?

Colour mixing is more easily done with paints…

But this is something I’d love to try at some stage!!!!

There’s lots more including blogs and video links (I like the colour theory in the Gaugin pastels) but I need to crack on just to get through the course so will save these up for later.