- Lesson details
Our students often ask us to show full-length drawing demonstrations from our master instructors. This new series will allow you to watch the entire drawing process, from the light gestural lay-in to the final marks all recorded in beautiful 4K Ultra HD. In this demonstration, world-renowned artist, Glenn Vilppu draws a female figure in a reclining position using a sanguine Polychromos pencil. Glenn takes his time on this drawing and really breaks down what he’s thinking about at each stage. You also have the advantage of the original reference image so that you can compare Glenn’s observations and interpretations to the real model. At the end of this lesson you’ll have gained a step-by-step approach to drawing the figure in a single color that you can apply to your own work. We recommend you watch this lesson more than once and follow along at home with your own drawings, pausing the lesson at each stage, so that you can take your own drawing through the entire process.
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Sanguine
- Drawing Paper
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This new series will allow you to watch the entire drawing process, from the light gestural
lay-in to the final marks, all recorded in beautiful 4K Ultra HD.
In this demonstration, world-renowned artist Glenn Vilppu draws a female figure in a reclining
position using a sanguine Polychromos pencil. Glenn takes his time in this drawing and really
breaks down what he is thinking about at each stage. You also have the advantage of the
original reference image so that you can compare Glenn’s observations and interpretations
to the real model.
At the end of this lesson you’ll have gained a step-by-step approach to drawing the figure
in a single color that you can apply to your own work. We recommend that you watch this
lesson more than once and follow along at home with your own drawings, pausing the lesson
at each stage so that you can take your own drawing through the entire process.
a favorite model of mine. So in the first place I’m taking and this is,
I really start out very, very loose.
Coming through. Feel the action. So I take and I, I really
take my time. I want to feel the flow of how the figure goes. Pull through. I don’t measure.
I go more by the eye, feeling the flow. Coming in. That doesn’t mean that I don’t look
at the 2D elements in the drawing. I do, but I’m primarily going by the flow and the
feeling of the thing. Also, I’ll change. I will adjust things. If I feel I want to
make and change the pose I do that.
Now, so I go through in stages. This is step one. First one, like I say, this is very light.
So second step I go through and I start to clarify the form a little bit. So now, like
for instance I’m taking and blocking in placement forms. I look at my gesture part
of the drawing. I build on that. I want to take and make that carry through farther.
Coming through again. I’m building and thinking of the rib cage high in back. Come through.
Feeling the volume. Really pulling around. Fitting in. I’m going through. Feel the
pelvis is high. She’s really turned. I’m thinking of the axis across. I do the drawing
in stages. I build the drawing. Since I’m not talking about any particular lesson this
point, I will build the drawing up progressively going through the whole drawing many times.
So you can see already now we’re getting a very sort of, a basic construction taking
Now, a big part of the process here is really controlling my values. Not allowing the drawing
to get too dark. I take my time. Sometimes I’ll take and go back in, add stuff to the
drawing, constantly sort of changing. Go through the drawing. Over, keep going over the surface.
Notice how I actually rehearse the strokes while I go through the area that I’m drawing.
This is really nice. She’s got this sort of nice turn of the hand as it comes in. Feel
the thumb and the hand coming back.
Little awkward but you just leave it like that.
This is thinking of placement. Now I’ve gone through twice. Now go back again. Each
time I go back in I’m clarifying a little bit more. Taking and thinking of always structure.
And I’m always drawing. I do think about shape,
but the drawing isn’t based on shapes, for me.
I put the shape of the hair. It’s what I’m looking at. It’s an important
part. It’s helping to determine a lot of what I’m seeing. I do look at the shape.
Feeling the cylinder of the neck. Each time now, like I say, here I’m picking up the
sternocleidomastoid coming down. Feel the pecs pulling over.
Just the preliminary. Pulling in.
Draw the clavicle. Feel the clavicle going across, through. Over. As I’ve said many
times, my approach to drawing to be classified as a constructive analytical approach. So
I’m really, I’m analyzing and I’m constructing. Now, when you’re analyzing something you
can analyze it from many different points of view. I can talk about movement, or I can
about light. I can talk about psychological elements involved. Pull around.
Notice now that I’m not taking and developing any part of the drawing over any other part. I’m
slowly coming back over each time and slowly developing the whole.
So you’re focused on the total.
Here now I’m thinking of the cylinder. We feel the abductors coming through a little
bit more clearly. Start to feel that we’re getting the way the leg is bent. It’s creating
a compression at the end of the knee. Sometimes the changes that take place from one step
going through the drawing to the next can be really quite subtle. Through.
I had a student of mine yesterday, happens to be studying at a rather well-known art school in Southern
California. I’m well known there, but it was interesting because they use my drawing
manual. What the student had to say was that, the instructors they would talk about me.
They said they really liked the drawing and everything else, but that I carry things so
far that it would be, it would take too long to paint it. I thought that was sort of a
curious comment. First of all, I don’t think it would take very long. It doesn’t take
me very long. But the idea that you don’t do something, you don’t take and carry things
very far because it takes too long. I’m not talking about copying. I’m totally anti-copying.
The idea that you wouldn’t do something or take and strive for something because it
would take too long. It’s interesting that it tends to fit into a lot of the talk about
today. Students not having patience for taking and doing things.
My whole career and effort has been to try and get constantly better. I am much better
now than I was ten years ago or even five years ago. My work also is completely contrary—I
shouldn’t say contrary, but very different than my teacher’s was. I’ve gone in a
totally different direction because of my own interests.
start to do a little bit more, but still it’s a progressive development of the drawing.
So now as I come through I’m going to start very lightly taking and, again, developing
the form. So now I’m trying to look for corners, pushing this back.
I’ll progressively get a little bit darker.
Feeling the corner of the zygomatic arch. Feeling the way these forms fall down.
And as I do that I can see that I’ve got the mandible a little too
far back. Pull that forward. So you find that as you start to develop form you will be seeing
things a little more clearly. It becomes more like the idea that if you saw your drawing
walking down the street that you would take and be able to recognize whether it is some
kind of a handicapped person. Come through.
One leg is shorter than the other. Sometimes you don’t see your own mistakes until considerably
later. I have a drawing I’d been working on for a good part of a wee, a big family
scene. I realized that some of the children’s heads were too small. Now I’m going to have
to start all over. Now, I come through and feel, pulling back, feeling the pull of the
sternocleidomastoid. Feel the, as I’m turning the corner. Notice I’m still taking and
just progressively getting darker and picking out the lines. I’m going to use some of
the shadows coming through to help feel the form going over this surface and cast shadow.
I’m not blocking in all the shadow areas. Right now I’m just using it as a way of helping to describe form.
Through. I want to feel the surface looking down.
Through, near the corner, and the breast as it turns down.
Here is where I would maybe start to play a little bit. I like the idea of the shape
that’s going on here. Seeing the core coming underneath the cast shadow. I like that this
is helping to pull out that thoracic arch. The sternum is coming down. Feel the tones
coming across the surfaces here. I’m starting to push. This is the idea of the straight
now. Coming through against these complex forms. Now, that’s a conscious element of
design that I’m thinking of that I can use. It’s there. I’m taking and using it, and
I reinforce the elements. Through. Progressive. As the drawing develops you will find that
I will take and get more bold as I start putting strokes down. Here I want to take and feel
this rib cage, merely part of the gesture. I want to make this movement. That sharp line.
That’s something I like. That sharpness of that line contrast to the subtlety of tones.
Here I want to take and pull the forms out from behind. Feel them overlapping. Come through.
The difficulty with working from photographs is that often it’s very hard to actually
see what is going on. So we find that you actually need to know more to draw from a
photograph than you do from reality. It’s hard to analyze a photograph when the forms
themselves are not all that clear. Obviously, these are really good photographs. Even so
we find that I’m drawing, I’m adding to what I’ve seen. I’m taking and adding
forms and knowledge of how things go that I’m having actually a difficult time actually
seeing. In the end the drawing should actually, the action should be clearer in the drawing
than it is in the model.
Notice even though I’m taking and talking about using cast shadows and cores, I’ve
done very little of that yet. I’m just taking and still, I’m sneaking up on it. I’m
going through the whole figure, building it.
I’m going over the surface.
Here is she coming seated. She’s seated down and so now I’m only going to need to—I made this
so round here, but I really need to feel that there is a compression taking place. So I push.
So there I’m drawing it from a conceptual point of view. She’s turning back. The shoulder
is being pushed back. So I want to go in here. I want to feel that trapezius. I’m lifting
that up a little bit more. Feel the compression. Feel how the deltoid and scapula are coming
through and fitting in front. These forms are coming down. Feel the end of the clavicle
and then the scapula coming through. Going over. Feel that front corner. Actually you
can feel the head of the humerus pushing out.
I look to where I’m going, thinking of the deltoid and how it comes down. It feels just
a bit high here. I’m going to drop this down a little bit lower. Once you get the
idea of the pinch, through. Now, we can see the biceps coming through. We can feel the
corner. Here is where I would take in—it’s not in the photograph, but I’m going to
add it anyway. It’s creating a sense of a bit of a cast shadow and a core coming down,
mainly to take and show the separation from the pectoralis. Here is where we have it.
Go over that surface. Pushing that back. Still this is all still preliminary.
The biceps would be heading over to the radius side.
Pick up the condyle. I’m making this a little stronger than I see it.
The brachioradialis is coming from behind. I’m making this a bit stronger, giving more of a contrast.
I'm feeling this dropping down creating more of an interesting shape with that, more than
actually exists in the photograph. You can see the fullness of those form, but plain.
Now, I want to feel that wrist turning. This is very good paper that I’m working on here.
This is BFK Rives.
It’s a soft, and it’s actually an etching paper.
across now. I’m going to feel the pecs coming over. Giving a little bit more sensitivity
to the shape. This is coming through. Over, through.
So now you can see I’m creating fullness. Now feel behind the arm here. It’s coming through. The breast.
Take and be conscious of the fact that, you know, here I’m rendering in the light, modeling tone coming around.
We’ll have to push this a little bit more. Before I get carried too far away there I
want to go back up and feel. Now, we come out of here. I want to take and feel.
Shift over here for a second.
Feel the clavicle then the deltoid.
So all the little nuances of mine. It really may actually make a difference.
Now, this is sort of nice. I like the shape of that shadow coming across. This becomes
a strong straight, and then I work into the core on the underside. We can feel around,
and I’ll take and push this a little bit more. Coming through. And as on the other
arm I’ll take and push the condyle a little bit stronger. Also, here we can feel more
shape of the triceps behind. It’s the subtlety of tones that we start to take and create
along with the contrast of the sharp. Here, we need to feel this pull. This is going to
come across. This is attaching to the knee. Thumb side. So I’m really conscious of the muscle.
We’ve got the sharpness of the condyle. This form now is a bit longer. We can feel this is a straight here.
Come to the wrist, go over. Feel the arm, get the wrapping of that as it goes across.
Get down into the palm. Go over the knee. Picking up a little bit of where we are with the thumb.
Using the shadow here, this coming in front. So you can see I am building a lot
from what I see, but I’m adding to it. Like for instance, here to get a sense of the way
the satorius would be coming across the vastus medius. Coming through, feeling the pull.
Then the fact that we’re getting an awful lot of compression as that leg is really pushed
back. We’re going around that surface. Feel the pull. Down. I want to feel how we pull
out of the pubic arch here. We can feel the gracilis and pulling into these abductors.
Come through. We’re just getting a bit of a hint of the leg as it goes behind. And it’s
really turned. I’m just going to leave that as a shadow. Now, we can go through the other
leg a little bit more. Then we’ll start all over again. Come through.
It’s really nice to work on really good paper. I try not to allow my students to use
newsprint in class because it seems like such a waste to take and try to do good drawings
on what is essentially toilet paper. Okay, we’ll start again to go back. I’m just
going to go back through the drawing again. Again, now I’m going to start pushing values
a bit more, and I’m going to give myself a bit of a key by taking and putting some
darks in the hair. Giving it a little freer, like I said earlier, as I progress through
a drawing I tend to get bolder with the strokes. The idea is that I don’t want the drawing
to look like I had to really work at it. It should have a sense of freedom. Since it’s
the lines that we look at that take and the viewer sees, that build now. Through.
It's a combination of really soft tones, sharp lines, accents as we build the drawing.
I like the cast shadow that’s sort of going across the nose. Leave tone on the underside.
Notice I don’t, when I’m putting the lines in it’s not a continuous
harsh line around. I’m taking and I will hit points and slowly build things up.
Now, here I’ll need to start to get a little bolder. I want to really feel that neck coming around.
Pushing line. Hitting core a little bit stronger. Let me feel the pull, across,
sharp. Go over the clavicle. Make this line a lot stronger.
So now I’m like building some value.
Here I’m contrasting the sharp cast shadow. Now, of course, in reality the
shadow would be softer the farther it gets away. I’m not worrying about that. We’re
dealing with logic so much. I’m more concerned with just the look, the effect that you get
what you’re doing when you’re making a drawing. You’re creating a look. You’re
creating an experience. So I’m more concerned with the overall aesthetics. If you can say
that, in other words, the art of what we’re dealing with.
So now I come through. Feel this breast coming around. Pick up the core, cast shadow.
Maybe from the nipple there. Coming around, pushing the core. More now you’re going to see a
luminosity being created by the contrast of the cast shadow to the core and the reflected
light. We’re getting the accents. As I go through this I’m going to take and be emphasizing.
I feel that original part of the drawing of the gesture, taking and coming through, lost.
things hitting the light. Well, here, I’ll show you. For instance, the upper side of
the edge that’s tone. The cast shadow to start with, but it’s the upper side the
thoracic arch. Now, this part of the stomach here, the belly, is actually facing down.
So what I do to define that then is I come through, and I hit parts of the belly that
are facing up and push those into tone. So now you’re getting—it’s the reflected
light that is taking and defining that change in the surface of that form. I’m coming
around. Take and push this up a bit stronger.
Each step now I’m getting a little bit bolder. I want to feel this stuff coming down. The
top of these forms. The bottom side I’m taking and leaving a little bit wider. Dark,
I should say the top. I come through. I want to come in and I want to feel, push.
There's a bit of light shining back there. I sort of like this so now I’m going to take and
come through so I can create this cast shadow. I’ll show maybe a little bit more than exists
coming through but I need to take at the same time now, you need to see that there is a
form back here. Coming around.
Now, it’s back away so I pull the tone towards me wider. Going over here I’m using the
shadow. Again, I’m going to make this shape a bit stronger. Then that turns into a core.
Now you’re feeling this reflected light pushing up. Combination of modeling tone,
core, reflected light, cast shadows. So now I’m being inventive about how I work with
the light. It’s not the way it is. Through. I’m also taking and emphasizing lines, tones,
that help to show form and also take and feeling of the action we come across.
Now I’ll go back up here for a little bit. I want to feel the side of this pushing down
a bit more. I’m using the modeling tone to come through. We’ll hit that corner here
and emphasize the neck a bit more. So that’s part of following through with the line that
I’ve got going here. Now, I’m going to come around the corner here. Surfaces.
Cast shadow that is in terms of sharpness is out of context. But I like the shape of
the line. Coming through, down, and coming to the core. Younger side. Meanwhile, I’m
going to start to push the lines. Now, as I come around that leg, I want to take and
I’ve got the tension underneath. Maybe I’ll pull this a little bit, just pulling it in.
Come from behind.
Sharp line, soft line.
I hope you realize how much fun I’m having doing this.
That's what this is all about.