OCA Part 4: Figure & head

Some online research into figure drawing & painting both historical and contemporary brought up a lot of images and styles; here is a tiny selection that I found, some on Pinterest, without proper referencing, which isn't great for an academic study, but from an aesthetic and creative perspective, it's all helpful material:

Projects 1 & 2

The OCA section on figure drawing begins with folded textiles: the brief talks about volume so I drew my duvet which has greater body than just a single sheet of fabric. I made several A3 drawings in pencil and ink wash. It was like landscape drawing but without clear 'landmarks' my eye would get lost as I looked at the duvet and I misplaced the lines on the drawing as a result.

I divided an A3 sheet into 9 sections making a series of cropped images in pen and pen and wash. I found these easier than the larger, single images: the cropping allowed me to focus on a small area at a time.

Exercise 2: Emphasising form with cloth - a seated figure wearing a plain, light coloured shawl/baggy jumper.

So for this, I wrapped myself in a sheet and sat on the edge of the bed so I could see myself in the mirror. Surprisingly I didn't find this too difficult either to set up or execute. The biggest challenge was being able to look without moving myself - each time I moved to see better, my reflection moved with me - funny thing that.

The right arm is a bit flat, but proportions seem reasonable. I notice that I'm sticking to line - comments from my tutor earlier that I seem more comfortable and competent with line I think are very true. I find tone both more complicated to identify and less interesting to me - don't know why- it just is. But I'll try to address this as I move through the exercises.

Project 2, Exercise 1 - quick studies.

For this I was able to use a clothed model, again I'm starting with line. I was happy enough with the body proportions as quick, first sketches but really struggled to position facial features. A bit stiff looking, but ok for a beginning.

I struggled to capture the head titled at an angle, so to explore this I made a series of drawings from an online tutorial I found. Like drawing a wooden artists' model, it can help just to practice and establish relationships between features at different angles.

And here's the next figure drawing with some improvement in the face:

Wanting to explore different media, I moved onto watercolour and worked A2 size:

From a different angle and starting to add tone:

I'm still most comfortable with line. Like with the duvet drawings, for some reason I get lost when looking at tone. I find measuring with the pencil straightforward but creating depth and plane a challenge.

Even with the watercolour drawing above, I worked in pencil first to establish the lines before working with a brush. I enjoy working with line when drawing but want to improve my observation and confidence with tone so will try to work on this. Looking back at the cropped duvet drawings, perhaps breaking down the whole large image with a grid might help me identify form and plane.

Before I try this, I made this pastel and charcoal drawing: for me it doesn't really work: the proportions are ok, but I don't feel I have the tones & planes very accurate. I may take a look at how other artists establish form.

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