- Lesson Details
In this series, master draftsman Glenn Vilppu shares with you his approach to figure drawing. In this final lesson of the series, you will learn how to add atmospheric tone to your drawings. Glenn begins with a lecture on atmosphere, followed by an analysis of atmosphere in Old Master works. He will then illustrate these concepts in some figure drawing demonstrations. Next, you will get a chance to apply what you’ve learned in a timed assignment. The lesson will conclude with Glenn’s approach to the assignment, allowing you to compare your work with his.
- Lead Holder with Cretacolor Charcoal Lead
- CarbOthello Pencil – Burnt Sienna
- Blending Stump
- Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Water Soluble Pencil – Sanguine
- Pentel Water Brush
- Pilot Namiki Falcon Fountain Pen
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Sanguine
- Graphite Pencil
- Kneaded Eraser
I call it atmospheric perspective.
It’s sort of like perspective but it’s not.
It’s really talking about atmosphere, how air takes and affects in between objects.
As things get farther away, things get less intense.
They get grayer.
There is more atmosphere between things that are close to things that are farther away.
Now, in talking about that we tend to think of this in landscape.
Okay, but we use the basic ideas in taking
and drawing from one side of the nose to the cheek.
It’s a very, very fundamental tool of taking and rendering form.
Let me take and go through and explain the concepts.
Then we’ll take and go into the examples dealing with it.
The tool that we take and add to the drawing—not necessarily to take and make it look more
realistic, but I also use the atmosphere to create movement, to take and compose the drawing
a little bit more.
It’s a universal tool.
Particularly, I use it almost all the time when I’m working with a pen, especially
if I’m working with a pen and a water brush.
Okay, let’s take and get into this.
First, the basic concept is really quite simple.
I’ll take and give you a couple of variations on this.
If we take and we have a, let’s say a mountains like Chinese mountains here.
In this case, there is air coming between the mountains.
The Italians sort of did this in reverse.
They would take a point and use tone going in-between.
Let’s take and make this a little bit more graphic here.
Okay, now I’m worry with a chamois.
It’s a piece of paper.
Now, if I come back in and go over that again. Now we can see the tone,
the atmosphere coming through.
The Italians called this smoke.
It’s very apropos.
We get the smoke going in between and around things.
Often, this is a situation—if you’re looking at paintings, you have to actually be looking
for it because we’re not used to looking for air.
Air is transparent.
It’s something that we look through to see things.
Let me give you a demonstration of that.
If I have just a simple sphere here, we’ve got—okay, now as you look at that we can
say, well, it’s like the moon.
We can’t see into this.
But, the minute I come and start to draw into here now it’s becoming a little more apparent.
Now, if I come in and like in the lesson we talked about the core.
If I take and put in a cast shadow.
If I take and start to actually draw and diagramming space going around it, taking and creating.
Now, at this point the air is transparent.
We’re seeing into it.
I can emphasize this even more.
I can come in and use that accent that we dealt with.
I can take and push this.
The more I take and go into this, the more transparent it becomes.
If I come back in here now and start to take in and draw shapes that are dark, going behind
it actually becomes difficult to imagine that we started out with a tone and air wrapping
completely around the form.
I have changed a thing and I’ve made it transparent.
Now this is a tool that we actually use to take and develop drawings, paintings.
I’m going to take and worth with, let’s take a very, very simple figure here.
Thinking of basic, simple kind of construction here.
Now, so what I have here is a figure that’s turning, arms coming across, going up.
Feel the twist coming through.
You can feel this leg is out in front.
Now, I’ll just use the atmosphere to take and help to clarify where these basic elements
are in space besides to take and emphasize the action even more, so starting out with
just taking a, I can pull the atmosphere between the hand or the arm and the head.
I’m taking and pulling the tone across over the surface, going around.
I’m going behind the leg.
I’m going over the surface.
I’ll take and make us feel that we’re really going behind.
Also, as I take and I’m pushing the tone a little bit more.
I still have it coming in front.
Now we’re getting a sense of atmosphere, taking and working over and around the figure.
That can be pulling behind.
This is a basic tool to help separate things.
If we look at this in even a more simple way—for instance, if we take a, if we have a,
let's say this is a cylinder.
If I have something going behind that I stop the line before I hit it.
Immediately now I’m taking and applying the principle like in a Chinese painting,
where we let the air come in between.
Here I’m letting the air rather than just using this.
Now, as I’m doing the drawing we combine these things.
These are tools that we take and use to take and help clarify things.
Like, for instance, going back here I can take and emphasize this by taking the line,
but I’m breaking the line.
I could take and be coming through and putting it here.
I let the air go in between.
I’m constantly taking and doing.
So now in this case if I have the arm here, this is just very simple.
I’m taking and I’m drawing this.
We have a deltoid.
Here, for instance, I could take the deltoid and I pull this in front while I let this
fade out as I’m pulling it in front.
As I come back from behind, I don’t attach the line necessarily, I take and let it break.
Immediately, we get a clarification of what is in front and what is behind.
So now that becomes a tool, then, that we take and we work with constantly.
As I’m taking it through, I’m taking and letting the line fade out as
it goes underneath the arm.
Start to pull through.
If you look at the classic animation, and you look at before they started using computers
or even Xerox machines, all of the lines were inked.
When they would ink a line they would take, and at the end of that line they would take
and feather it out.
Then they would take and pull a line from behind.
So that feathering is doing, it’s creating an atmospheric thing.
It’s separating one form from another.
This is a very, very fundamental tool that you should be really consciously thinking
about as you’re drawing.
Now, one of the difficulties here, and this
goes right back to the beginning basic drawing class.
You take and have to control your values.
Everything is a question of control.
We take and as we’re working then we’re constantly taking and being very, very conscious
of the line that we’re putting down.
As I go back in here I will take and say, well, I would take and start letting things
get a little bit lighters as they go back.
As we go back into the distance but very little detail.
Every part of the drawing is approached with the idea of taking and creating a little bit
more clarity spatially, using atmosphere, line quality, overlapping forms.
It’s all part of the same thing.
We take and we’re constantly building these things up.
As I go through here then I would be going over that form.
I let that line go and I pull this in front, so right at that point I’m taking and using
that, but I’m also coming through here, and
I’m using atmosphere to come between things.
So, as I pull the form around I let the line go, and I’ve got the air coming in between.
It’s a combination of everything.
There is another element to this.
I take and use it—in the examples you’ll see that I’ll be doing this.
I use it take and assist the gesture of the pose so that I’m taking and composing using
Every element in the drawing is taking and composing to take and create that action a
little bit stronger and clearer.
And also there is an aesthetic quality to it.
Personally, I like the idea of the tone and the atmosphere.
It gives us sort of an interesting thing.
One of the things that many of the students today have difficulty with if they’re working
from a photograph, for instance, they find it difficult to take and work outside of the figure.
Well, everything I’m doing here is combining outside of the figure inside of the figure.
There is not a boundary in the thing.
The critical element here is that we had a tendency to take and think that we’re making
something that’s real.
There is nothing real about this.
It’s all imagery.
We’re creating a feeling and a look.
It’s part of the creative act.
Imagination is what we’re working with.
As I add tone, it’s not just on the figure.
It’s using the tone all over.
The fact is that the figure is just an image on a flat piece of paper.
We use our creative tools to take and make this thing appear more alive and real.
Remember, it’s not real.
It’s all just a combination of lines and tone, subtle adjustments in our technique
that we would take and draw that takes the illusion and creates the illusion.
The other element that I was saying is that if I take and start out with taking and doing
a rhythm, which I talk about extensively in the beginning in dealing with the gesture.
Now, there is a movement that goes through here.
Now, if I come in and emphasize, if I come through…do this.
What I’m doing is I’m using the atmosphere as a way of amplifying the actual gesture.
So the rhythm that I create here is taking and going beyond the lines of the figure to
take and make that rhythm, that movement so much stronger.
Again, this is something that will come out in the examples.
Anyway, let’s take and start looking at some of the drawings.
Rembrandt is probably the ultimate version of Baroque artists working with light and
As I go back over the Rembrandt here, it’s really his play.
I’m just working here with a rather bold color.
Dark, light, dark, light, dark, light, dark—so you can see, first of all, he’s playing
dark-light, dark-light, dark –light.
Besides that, notice the way the atmosphere, the way the tone that I was talking about
is pulling around over and through.
He takes the tone, really pulling—all of this in the background is dark—and he’s
pulling the tone.
He carries that right into the figure.
Comes through, coming down.
He’s weaving the dark all the way through.
We really get a very, very strong atmosphere.
At the same time he’s dealing dark-light, dark-light, dark-light, alternating tones
to take and give us the form.
But the way he’s working with the cast shadows,
you can see all of this stuff taking and pulling through.
It’s really quite beautifully conceived and developed drawing.
All the foreground is pushed in tone, and it goes back.
Atmospheric wise, the figure in the background is really subdued.
But again, dark.
The shadow side of the figure and then the light of the figure.
This is dark again in comparison to that face.
Composition wise, we look at this—he takes you all the way over to the side of the canvas.
Then he’s looking at the subjective look, the figure looking, the gesture looking into
this opening that’s behind.
It’s really a beautifully conceived work.
This is a Rembrandt etching.
Again, it’s so obvious now.
Look at the way he’s got the tone.
Notice how he’s taking the tone from the background.
Actually, all of this back here takes and comes over.
He’s pulling it through.
He’s pulling the atmosphere over and around and behind.
Going over the figure.
He’s got this Italian smoke.
This figure here coming through.
Again, just alternating dark-light, dark-light as he’s working through the thing.
But he really gives the sense—notice how he’s taking even with the figure here, he’s
taking and making this whole arm, all of this is in tone.
He’s really, really making you feel that tone.
It’s a beautiful, beautiful example.
The way the tone is coming through and going around the figure.
So, Rembrandt is a person to study from to taking and developing an understanding of
light and dark pattern and just about everything.
Now, this is Tiepolo.
Again, first let’s just take a very, very general look at this.
Notice how he’s working at the tone.
We have this large figure.
The guys are working on the sculpture of a horse.
The whole unit, we look at all of this, is brought out and is separated
from the background by values.
Notice the color of the figures in the background here.
These figures back here are gray.
This is really sharp.
Then we take a step further.
He brings out the figures in here.
This is another group of figures now working on this platform here.
This is out in front.
He’s really zeroing in and separating these big figures here from the horse.
Then you’ve got that going behind.
He takes the tone down.
We feel the atmosphere.
He’s bringing the shadows in behind.
He’s separating everything and using the shadows to take and go behind.
We can feel it.
Again, dark-light, dark-light, dark-light.
He is constantly overlapping planes.
I just saw another element here.
He diagrams the space by taking and using all of the elements that are taking and criss-crossing.
He’s giving you very, you know where everything is in space.
We’ve got probably the supervisor here taking and standing on a platform that is separated
from the background.
You get alternating planes going back.
The intensity of the color value, everything is built-in.
Also, notice the way he’s taking the tones of the figure here and carrying it into the
sleeve, carrying this thing through.
The tones here then are actually part of the gesture that he’s taking and going through.
I’ve looked at an awful lot of drawings from Tiepolo.
Notice, again, light and dark behind.
It’s all very highly, highly worked out.
Now this is another Tiepolo.
This shows how loose he is in the drawing.
This is all drawn from imagination.
There are no models in this.
You can see how he is working with the tones, the atmosphere.
You’ll find that in my approach to taking and doing things that I pretty much follow
along the same idea.
If I start out very loose, very free.
Here you can see what he did here is he drew first in pencil.
Then he probably came in and did the wash.
Then he did the ink on top of that.
It’s a step-by-step-by-step process.
You can see the way he’s pulling the tones in and carrying through, alternating light
and dark, separating these spaces, but he’s using the atmosphere as part of the process
of taking and doing the drawing.
It’s the air.
It’s the air, and it’s not just the figure.
It’s the hole space that he’s working with.
Again, this is Tiepolo.
Look at what he’s doing here.
First of all, you can he’s drawn very, very loosely underneath with graphite.
Then he’s come back in and developed a lot of the form with the wash.
Notice how he’s got the atmosphere now.
He’s taking the one.
He’s taking the tone.
He’s drawing this figure here.
But this tone carries right into the background.
And he’s separating he’s bringing that figure out by the tone.
But he’s also bringing the tone in.
It comes through, goes over the leg, goes underneath.
He’s building these forms.
You’ll notice that he defines the outside contour of the figure with a wash.
He’s giving the tone coming through, but he’s pulling the tone way back up here.
And so this is the preliminary, this is the preliminary stage of the wash.
We can see this takes and pulls all of the wash, the tone.
The atmosphere is carried through into all of this stuff.
You can see as I’m outlining this now how he’s taking and defining and creating and
separating these forms in space, defining the atmosphere and the figures all at the
This is one of my favorite artists, Parmigianino.
Here, you notice how he’s using the tone, it’s coming underneath the arm, but he’s
using this tone as part of the way of creating the rhythm, going over the surfaces, pushing down.
I have some very good resources on him, and I have spent an awful lot of time
taking and drawing from him.
You can really see—if you’re familiar with a lot of my work you will see that I
have a lot of Parmigianino.
He, by the way, was one of the first, if not the first artist to take
and actually start doing prints.
Okay, another Parmigianino.
Now, when you look at this you see how it has a lot of the same qualities that we see
when just looking at the Tiepolo.
Again, look at the way he’s working with the tone.
Here’s the atmosphere.
You’ve got all of this coming through.
Notice that he’s bringing out that foot with a little bit of light.
Got the tone going through, behind.
He’s taking and as he pulls the tone, wrapping it around, coming through, builds the atmosphere
going up, through.
It’s not just one to one tone now.
He’s used several different tones that’s he’s come through.
Several layers of wash and then coming back into that with the ink.
As you can see slightly up here and you look at what’s in here you can see that even
here, this drawing and all in here you can see the first drawing was done very, very
loose with the graphite to begin with.
Then, going back in with the wash, and then going back in with the line.
Or, it could have been the line and then the wash, but I’ve got a feeling that it was
actually probably a combination of both.
He’s a great, great artist to take and look at for this.
Again, this is a Parmigianino.
If you look at the thing that’s right here, you can see right away, look at the way he’s
working with the line, going through, he’s taking and pulling through.
What we get is the really abstract qualities in here.
He was really playing with this idea of the rhythm.
You can see the pushing of the tones back behind.
That becomes a play of opposites with what he started with.
In other words, he had the motif that he worked with.
It was part of the architecture.
But then he’s taking and making the figure work with the architecture.
Notice the way he is with these rabbits, even pulling the tone in between.
The general rhythm, flow of the action, pulling the tone through.
I would take and spend time looking at these drawings.
You can see, notice how this is coming out and how he’s dropped all of this down in tone.
These are drawings that are done many times.
What we’re looking at is like a very loose approach, but the drawing has probably been
drawn a few times.
Notice here you can see that he’s drawn it first with sanguine pencil underneath.
There’s probably graphite somewhere in there too if we could see it.
Then building it up and then working with the wash,
and then coming back in with the cross-hatching.
It’s a progression of the drawings.
I’m going to take and go through.
First of all what I’m doing is I’m constructing the form spatially.
I’m really thinking of the gesture.
She’s going in, across.
I pick this drawing in particular or this pose in particular because of the complexity
of the pose itself.
We’ve got forms that are going pretty dramatically back in space.
This is a cylindrical form going back in through.
We can feel that this is fitting into the whole pelvic area.
I’m analyzing the forms spatially.
We can see the arm coming across, going up to the neck.
The wrist coming through.
The leg is coming from behind, so when I’m drawing this I actually think about where
it connects into the pelvic area.
Even though that is very generic at this point.
We can see with the knee the knee is coming up.
This is the end.
It’s a cylinder.
Now we’re going back in space.
We can feel the other leg is attaching back in here.
The first stage in the drawing then here is that this is a cylinder coming forward.
Now I try to be fairly careful now about thinking where these forms are.
Notice how simply I’m drawing now.
I’m not drawing dark.
Keeping it very light.
At the end we will take and add accents and forms that’ll make the drawing look like
it was done a lot faster in a lot more bravado.
Feel the nose coming out here underneath the chin.
Now, the first thing I’m going to take and deal with now is the idea of adding the atmosphere
What I’m going to work with—I’m just going to use the stump.
It’s not a stump—it’s really rolled paper.
I got a little too much there.
So now, I want to take and feel—for instance, if you notice looking at the model you’ll
see that the chin and the shoulder are separated by a light.
I’m going to reverse this.
I’m taking and coming in with a tone, taking and separating the chin from the shoulder.
Then I’m using a tone coming around the arm, coming through.
In fact, I’ll take and feel the atmosphere coming up in between and wrapping around over
Now, coming across, through.
I will take and even put tone on the front of the face so that it is going away.
Now we’ve got them pulling this atmosphere behind the arm.
What we get going here is that—I’ll just pick up tone off the paper here.
As this comes through, I can feel the arm in front and the other arm is dropping behind.
Now I’m taking and separating, I’m separating the arms coming through.
Taking and feeling the atmosphere coming around the figure.
Now we can start to get a sense of how this tone is taking and coming through and going
underneath the elbow.
I’m taking and wrapping the tone around that leg.
Now, all of this is taking and we can really feel the air taking and defining where we’re going.
Now, in the examples I didn’t talk about da Vinci.
Now, da Vinci is, of course, a good example, and we’ve talked about him in dealing with
some of the other lessons.
Here you can see how we’re going over.
Now in the process here I’m taking and you can feel these things coming out of the fog,
coming, pulling through.
I’m using the idea that if we have this, I’m taking and pulling tone between objects.
You’re separating the things but using the atmosphere coming through.
I can take and carry this farther by even pushing more of the figure or more of the
atmosphere around it.
Really, it’s like we’re looking at the moon again.
Everything is taking and going back off in space.
From here, then I go back into this.
I’m trying to create even more tone here as we go around.
Now, go back into this with lines.
I can pick out—I can bring out form.
The more I do, the more drawing I do, you’re going to find that just like in the lecture
that the atmosphere becomes less apparent.
What we start to see then is just a general feeling of what is going on.
So, we’re going over and we’re taking and here—now, as I do this, right at this
point here now is I take any of the shoulder, have the shoulder coming around.
As I pull that line in I let the line going behind or coming from behind leaving air in between.
Now as I take and add up here we’ve got this, and I’m drawing the outside of the
knee, I let that completely go so we don’t feel anything there.
Maybe I would even come in with just a little bit of a core coming through.
Then working over the knee using a cast shadow and picking up form, coming through.
All of this is going back in shadow.
As I’m working through the corners of the form here, I’m picking out.
I’m just hitting points.
I’m not even drawing all of the lines now.
We went through the process of constructing, and so as I come around with the knee here,
I pull the kneecap there in front.
I pull out from behind.
I leave the atmosphere.
I leave the space.
In other words, I’m constantly taking and letting lines, letting air come in between
lines as I’m drawing.
Having already taken and carefully blocked in the large masses, the large volumes.
I can then come in and I just indicate now.
I don’t have to take and draw every little thing that’s going on.
I’m giving the suggestion of what the forms are doing.
Even with the head.
Notice here how I let the line, I let this be fairly simple.
You can feel letting the tone come in between here, out.
I leave much to the imagination.
There I’m using the tone going behind.
Now, by leaving so much space while working around the figure, it actually takes and looks
like it’s drawing, it looks like it’s been drawn much faster.
As you’re watching now you can see that I don’t draw fast.
I’m trying to feel forms.
Now, look at that.
The head feels a little large to me.
Let’s see how that plays out.
When you’re looking at the model, this looks like one continuous line coming down.
As I’m doing this drawing you can see first I want to get the end of the shoulder here.
Hit the corner of the shoulder.
I’m visualizing this as a ball through with the cylinder going down.
Pull the tone underneath.
Now, here I am taking and coming up against the line.
Now, as I pull the scapula, I come through as a series of overlapping planes.
Feeling the rib cage behind as it comes down, in.
Now you can see that the tones I originally started with are becoming
subordinated to the things.
You stop thinking of the fact that I actually went over these forms.
Now, another element of working with the tones the way I am is that I can come back in with
a needed eraser and pull things out.
I’m going over.
I want to feel the roundness.
I’m just adjusting now these forms as we come through.
I’m starting to take and come in now and hit that cast shadow.
Here’s where I’ll take and come in and pick out the tone here a little bit.
We can feel the effect of that cast shadow going, and we’ll also take and come in and
draw the core coming down.
Cast shadow from the arm.
Now, by taking and drawing these cast shadows, these become also accents going over the surface
of the form, through.
All the elements, as I’m going through the drawing, then, I’m taking and constantly
thinking about how each line takes and works.
Feel the flow coming around, come through.
Now she’s actually holding on to her foot.
All I’m going to do with that is just suggest—I’m actually changing the fingers so that it doesn’t
become just a club.
Now, we’ve got the thing started.
Now I come back in and I can emphasize the tones a bit more.
Come in and I view this as an accent.
Now I’m going to take and start adding a little bit stronger strokes so that the drawing
then takes on a little bit livelier look.
Getting a cast shadow underneath.
Start to push the core a bit more.
Now, as you saw in the examples, the looseness that preceded the finished works, the drawings
were always quite, quite loose.
None of what we call sort of a contemporary academic look.
The drawings were really free and flowing.
This is a start.
Okay, so now we started out with an atmosphere of working all the way around.
I can come back and reinforce some of that if I wish, working with the tone coming on
I let the things in shadow go.
I come back in and pick out a bit of the light.
Essentially, leaving it alone.
It’s a sketch.
It’s a drawing.
We get the overall feeling for an atmosphere, the figures in a space.
Okay, let’s do another drawing.
Albrecht Durer sanguine.
So, now in here I’m going to take a little bit freer—even more freer than the last one.
I’m not going to try to do the whole thing.
It’s still approaching these as a sketch.
Feel the flow.
Feeling the movement of the figure.
Resting, feel the rib cage.
Thinking of the pelvis going across, even visualizing box forms.
And an arm going back up, up.
Now, like I say, this is water soluble pencil.
I can take and as I’m putting it down I’m considering what is going to happen when I
add the water.
I’m already creating tones and working with the positive and negative space in a sense.
I’m coming around feeling the core figure.
I’m going to drop—much of this is going to go into tone, into shadow.
I’m thinking ahead with the feeling of coming around the figure.
I’m going to pull the tone going down, coming over the leg and separating the legs.
And get the arm here.
It’s going behind.
I’m going to take and draw this in such a way that I can come through and pushing
this behind, I’m going to pull the tone going over the form, coming through from behind.
I’m taking and I’ve mentioned about helping the gesture, so here I’m going to take and
pick up with the tone, think of the tone as coming from way back up here and coming through,
behind the figure, coming around from underneath.
Going over that surface.
Coming around the form.
Then we’re going to separate the legs.
We can take and cast a shadow a bit from this arm even though I’m pushing it tone behind.
Just as the way I’m using the pencil now, you can see that I am building the figure
with the idea of the atmosphere coming in.
As this comes around from behind here, I’m going to take and emphasize the tones in the
So now this is amplifying that gesture.
Coming around, through.
Even to start thinking of accents a little bit.
Here I’ll take and drop—I’m going to drop this leg in shadow.
In fact, I’ll drop—well, not both.
I want to just take and pull this across and leave that foot coming out into the light
a little bit as it turns.
I have an edge.
The other arm is coming through behind.
Since we don’t see looking at the model, but I am going to take and add a pedestal
or something that he would be seated on.
Feel the scapula going behind.
Now, as we go back with this, now I’m going to take and come in and add a little bit of
water here as I come through.
Now, we’re getting this atmosphere.
Feel the tone and pull from behind.
Here I’ll separate it.
It should be pretty apparent now that I’m obviously not copying the photograph.
I’m using it.
The standard cliché for that is use the photograph; don’t let the photograph use you.
Building this thing up with tone.
Starting to indicate a little bit of the core, cast shadows.
I’m building the atmosphere that we’re building around the figure.
Now, at this point in the drawing I have several options.
One, now as you look at it, of course, you can see all of the atmosphere in the way I
have been working with it and pulling out forms.
That’s all fairly obvious.
I can go back into this with either the sanguine pencil, or I can go back into it with pen.
Maybe I’ll take and—let’s do it with a pen.
The sanguine color is very close to the color of my ink.
The ink at first will appear fairly dark.
Then if I come back in and water again.
Now, I’m just picking up, giving her character with some hair.
Another point here is that the drawing will take and look fairly fast.
Yet, as you can see, I draw very slow.
I’m very deliberate in what I’m doing.
It’s the process, or I say what is important is the end result.
The process is just the way of getting you there.
It’s the look, the feeling that you’re creating that is the important part.
Now, they’re going over.
Essentially, both of these drawings that I’ve been working on here are dealing in using
the same concepts, except they look really quite different.
The technique, and this is a point to keep in mind.
I’m not teaching style.
I’m teaching tools that are helping you.
These tools can be used many, many different ways.
I’m constantly going over and around.
As I’m doing this, again, I’m being conscious of the amount of ink that I’m putting down.
I’m putting down—this is a very, very fine point.
This is a Namiki Falcon, and it’s a superfine point.
I’m going over the surface of the form.
Now, again, you have to keep in mind that this is still preliminary stage of the drawing.
It could be left with just this, but I want to go back over this now with water to get
the ink itself to bleed.
It’s a combination of everything there.
Now, let’s see what happens when we add the water.
The ink is going to bleed, and this is going to start to take and give me some of the sense
of a core coming through.
Now, when you’re working with wet and pen, if I come back in you can see how that takes
and brings out the accent, and I can take and push some more.
Now we’re coming through.
I’m going to take and pull a bit of this into the background again.
So now you can see I’ve separated the torso from the arm.
In separating more of the neck and shoulders.
Feeling forms dropping down.
Now, I’m going to pull a lot of the ink into the space
It’s a combination of having a light source but also working with the modeling tone.
You’ll notice that I’m constantly just pushing the tone, pushing it back away.
Now, I’ll come back and …
Now I look at that I think I might have overdone the ink.
Enough for that.
A straight one, this is not water soluble.
What we have is a fairly simple pose.
We can see…
What I want to do is use the atmosphere outside of the figure to help show the gesture a bit
more so that we have a nice flowing movement within the figure.
Notice I’m starting out with the idea of the rhythm.
Leg dropping through to the first stage in the drawing.
This is the equivalent of doing a 1-minute pose.
Now as I go back into that I start to take and be a little bit more conscious of the 3D.
Now I’m thinking of the rib cage.
Really going out so I can focus on the whole form.
Feel the ribs sticking out, pushing it up.
Going across, over the pelvis, in.
We can feel the tummy pulling out a bit.
We can even indicate the breasts.
Feel the buttocks coming out.
Looking at the old masters, I emphasized the examples I picked out particular show how
loose and free the artists worked to start with, and also the fact that those drawings,
I don’t think there were any of those that were actually drawn from a model.
I think they were all done from imagination.
The progression goes from a very, very loose conceptual idea to then a more polished where
reference is acquired to the final end of the painting.
The creative end of it, the initial stages of the drawing are very, very loose and very,
Now we’ve got the basic gesture now.
I want to use the tone, the atmosphere as an adjunct to taking and amplifying what it
is that we have here.
Again, I work very deliberately.
None of this is done very quickly.
Her head is going back so I already start to, as I’m doing this I’m thinking the
way the hair, for instance, is taking and going across.
I will take and pull it out a bit more this way so we can feel the angle.
I’m already composing the drawing even to taking and using the look—her eye is taking
and coming back toward us, giving us the subjective direction.
Now, as I start to pull in the tones I’m, taking and thinking I’m going to take from here.
I’m going to pull, pulling the atmosphere already behind.
This also works as a light against dark idea.
In other words, if I am having this light up here I’m taking and pulling a dark behind.
We’re feeling the atmosphere here behind, so then as I’m going over the head I’m
taking and having a light side, and I’m creating a shadow side.
Again, then it’s the dark against the light.
It’s the combination now.
We use all of the basic tools of composing and designing.
As I come through, now I’m taking and coming across,
and I’m going to take the tone from out here.
Here we have a thing where I can take and emphasize a bit more.
I’m pulling this around.
Again, I deviate from what’s going on by pulling the tone a little bit more.
We can use the core.
In other words, the pull, the cast shadow going over.
You can see these have lines now that are taking and coming through.
We can feel on the model.
You can see the light hitting the thoracic arch.
As I come through, we have the pulling the tone here.
I’ll pull it across a little bit and come through.
We can feel that this coming over.
Here we’ve got the thoracic arch.
This curve now is taking, you can see how strong this is becoming now.
You’re really feeling this movement.
We’re coming in.
Let this tone take, and then we start to carry this outside.
I am amplifying now this basic flow and movement in the carrying of this in between the legs.
We can pick up here in taking a bit of the tenser and the external oblique.
This become lines that I can push and start to emphasize.
Even here I’ll take and make this stuff in the shadow here stronger by how I take
and work with accents.
Then the form come in…
Now, as it comes around I will take and use a tone on the outside.
Now that we’ve got a tone coming through, we can drop that arm back.
I can push this so that the strokes of the pencil stroke in themselves…
Now, one element that we can use here, which is primarily more of design thing as I’m
working with all of these curves.
I’m doing this, this, to that.
That’s exactly what I’m doing.
That gets emphasized if I come in and use a straight.
We can feel the pull.
Taking and pulling a straight within that leg then will take and help to show the curvature.
Then I’m picking up in front leading the eye across.
All of this—now I’m going behind.
We’ve got a high here.
I’m dropping down.
That line to that dark there helps us to see the angle of the pelvis.
Coming through, around.
Going over the surface, down.
As I come through here then, I’m going to pick up, and I’m dropping this leg behind.
You’re taking and weaving, you’re weaving the figure together with the background.
Pull the tones.
Much of this I acquired by taking and I—one of the examples I showed you was Parmigianino.
I did an incredible number of just drawings from him.
As of I’ve said in many of my lectures and classes, the way you draw, the way you study
is by taking and drawing the old masters.
Now we’ve got a general sense of how this figure goes.
Feel the movement.
Now, I can push, I can take and within the neutral, in essence the neutral, I’m showing
a few darks here.
I can take and emphasize now.
I can come through.
I’m using this, even the line coming in.
Feel the pull coming across.
Hitting the core.
Cast shadow, build.
So now I think that the drawing starts to give us a bit of the sense of what the model
is actually doing.
Feeling the pull, turn.
There is the attitude.
Now, I want to do one more drawing where we take and feel a little bit more subtle.
Okay, so flow, movement out, through, round, pull.
so sort of a classic here.
What I’m doing, I’m starting out very loose, and I’m drawing first with a graphite pencil.
I’m feeling the flow of the figure, through.
Now, the first time through I’m just taking, and like I said, I’m just trying to discover
what the pose is.
As I go back into it, I take and I’m a little bit more focused on the construction.
I go through the drawing many times as a process of doing it.
Each time it allows me to analyze the pose a little better.
I don’t always see it the first time around, or I should say, see all the possibilities in it.
Now I’m coming up, I’m thinking of the rib cage.
Breasts in here.
Feeling the rib cage now.
We’re building up.
I can see I’ve probably stretched this out a bit, which is very typical of me.
Feel the pelvic coming across at an angle.
The figure is really twisting, going through.
Hip and leg coming out.
Here I want to feel the thigh.
Top fitting in, so I’m drawing cylinders going over the form.
I’m always adjusting, seeing change.
Arm going back up, coming behind.
Indication of fingers all turned up a little bit.
Now I’ve gone through this with graphite.
Now I’m going to come back in with the sanguine and start to take and clarify it a little
Still, this is a preliminary step.
Feeling the pelvis coming over, around.
Feel the tone coming back.
As I’m doing this, as you’ll see in the next couple of steps here, how this atmosphere
is going to take and come working into the drawing.
Each time that I go through—now here I’m also feeling the compression.
Figures we come over that surface, out from behind.
Feel the overlapping.
Part of this is that I know now I’m going to go back over this a couple more times.
And so I will be taking and playing, more specifically with some of the elements that
we’ve been talking about.
I’m already thinking about what it is that’s happening here.
I’m feeling the pull overlapping.
It’s going behind.
The other foot is coming out behind that.
They almost look like they’re—this look like it might be there.
It has to be a clear, distinct difference.
This is going down, and that’s something else.
I need to actually try to show maybe a little of that or leave it out completely.
Here I want to feel the tummy coming up.
Feeling the surface.
Now I’m giving you a fourth way.
Each of these drawing I’ve approached a different way.
Yet, at the same time, they’re not really that different.
What I’ve been doing is starting out very, very loose.
Very gentle, and then slowly getting a little bit more specific as I do the drawing.
Building it up.
Feeling the end of the elbow there.
The way the forms here now are compressing as they come around.
Going over the surface.
Here I take and look to where I’m heading to the wrist.
Then I pull the line from behind.
Go over the surface.
Rather than making it look like a club, I would take and show a little bit more of the
finger than I actually see.
Come through and feel the end of the scapula.
We can feel the sternocleidomastoid coming up.
Then the ear of the chin pulling it over a little bit farther now.
Here I’m just taking and drawing more of the contour without the nose.
We’ll take and add that to the base of the skull.
So now the eyes come through.
Indicate a little bit here.
What I’m going to do is take what I’ve got here.
I’m going to use the chamois, or I should say, the stump.
Then I’m going to go back over this again with the sanguine.
What happens is that as I rub this down it’s going to create a tone that then I can use
a kneaded eraser and start pulling out the lights and start adding more tone.
That’s a little more tone than I anticipated.
I had a dirty stump there.
I should have gone over that.
Now we’re getting a feeling for the pull.
I use this approach often in taking and demonstrating anatomy.
I can rub it down and give it a solid thing.
Then I can start pulling things out.
Here I’m going to take and pull out a little bit of the light.
Get rid of some of that really excess dark there…
Taking and using the kneaded eraser, I’m using it as a tool rather than as something
used to correct something.
Now coming through.
Now I’m going to come back into this with the sanguine again.
I’m going to take and do a little bit more emphasis and start paying more of a concern
of how the lines overlap.
We’ll start with really the most obvious thing that we work with.
We can start feeling the rib cage going behind the stomach.
Going in front and the pelvis going behind.
I’m taking and here I’m going to take and pushing the idea up, the bone.
Notice that I’m making this a lot stronger than you actually see it.
This is going behind.
Here to take and amplify this, we’ll take and start using a bit of tone behind this.
Now we can feel that this comes through.
We can feel this coming in front.
I’m letting air and tone come in between.
Now, as I’m doing this I’ll be taking and using the core.
Core even there now I’m taking and I will add the cast shadow in here when I do this.
In the model you can see that it almost feels like a straight line.
I’m going to purposefully emphasize.
I want to fuse the cast shadow as a tool to take and describe the surface going over,
I’m giving a sense of the roundness, and I’m imagining a reflected light coming up
from the bottom, which doesn’t exist.
This also functions as a modeling tone and allows me to start pushing the accent.
Now we’re taking and building this figure.
It’s coming through.
Coming in front.
This is going to take and pull across, through.
I’m using the tone.
Coming over, pull the rib cage out from behind.
I want to curve this form as it comes over.
You can see now the difference in the line at that point with the tone coming in between.
This now is going to take and start to emphasize the hip lifting up.
We come over, feel the pull.
What’s happening here, you can also see how I’m working with the very, very loose
drawing to start with.
The modeling tone is going over the surface.
This is going over, around, and I’ll push this up even a bit more.
We want to feel the overlapping of the forms in between.
As I’m coming through.
I’m feeling the pinch through here.
Then we’re going to go, we’re going to feel the pull.
The arm is coming through.
The line going behind fades out.
As I pull through, the accent is feeling the pinch, and then I pull the line, but it goes
off as soon as I come out in front.
So now I come through and I start to work with the end of the knee.
The modeling tone as it sits back.
This is a good example.
I’m taking and combining everything that I have actually been demonstrating in all
of the lessons and things that I’ve been doing.
This is a good culmination then, showing how you take and build.
I’ll have to admit that it is harder to take and work
from a photograph than from real life.
But as you can see, it’s not impossible.
We’re taking and feeling here as that foot goes behind and coming through.
Go over that surface.
I want to feel the cast shadow now.
The cast shadow takes and functions to take and give the accent to the reflected light,
so I’m coming in here with the core overlapping.
Again, separating the lines then using a really strong sharp line for the cast shadow.
Then this becomes the accent.
Now we’re starting to get something that actually looks like a drawing.
Hitting the corner of the form.
Now, I’m building.
You notice from the model you see a couple different light sources.
I totally ignore that.
I’m putting this, come through.
In general, I ignore the light source that I find that I find on the model.
Most of my drawings.
It’s not particularly the important part.
I can make the light come from anywhere I want it to come from.
It’s getting the feeling for the whole action and sort of the look that you want.
I do everything that your academic people say you shouldn’t do.
Remember, there are no rules.
What I’m doing is I’m teaching tools here.
Here, the leg is coming in, and these feel the fat pad on the hip here coming out.
I’m going to push that a bit.
Feel this pulling in front.
It’s not necessary to draw a line all the way around everything.
I want to feel as I’m coming through now, and I’m relying on
all of the stuff I did underneath.
I want to feel this gesture going up, pulling through.
Now it’s this feeding into that.
Here we use the accent underneath with the core to create luminosity.
We can feel the pulling in front, coming out from behind.
We start getting a little bit more of a sense of the hip.
Here we could take and then—cast shadows—we can take and start to create a sense of the pull,
I’m saying maybe this is the knee, but it’s more of a line,
and it’s going with the whole thing.
As I go over that surface, pull down through.
As we push down here, maybe I’ll take and push using the tone behind.
You’re actually pulling a tone.
Here is where I’m taking and pulling the tone in between.
Emphasize this a bit more.
Carry the line through.
That’s not an anatomical line.
It’s just a visual sort of structure or construction.
I’m going to feel that the wrist, I want to feel this is a really subtle play here.
I can feel this line.
The sharpness of that line.
That’s something that I enjoy playing with.
It’s the combination of sharp lines with soft tones.
Right now we’re not feeling this rib cage coming out very much, so now I need to take
and pull this corner.
I’m using a core coming through.
I want to feel the thoracic arch.
And I pull the tone, pull the rectus abdominis down to it so we can feel the light.
Get this pulling in between.
Now we go over the surface as it’s turning away from us.
We want to leave pretty much a lot of this going here, and I’m going to pull out the arm.
Again, overlapping tone.
As I hit it there and make this really go behind.
We’re leaving the ear, come in between.
The same thing as it pulls up here.
I’m taking and using the muscle as it comes in front of that.
I’ll take and emphasize the tone behind here now.
Again, dark against light.
I’m pulling the tone.
And so I’m using the atmosphere.
Again, go behind, pull in front.
Feel the corners.
Here I’m taking and going over.
I don’t think the shapes that the muscles are taking are very attractive at that point.
I will take and simplify this and feel this coming in front.
And I’m playing down that and coming through.
I will use more of a tone coming through, hitting a core and dropping—not a core,
but as a modeling tone.
I can take and create a bit of a cast shadow from that arm that we would possibly see there.
Even though I don’t really see that, I like the way that taking that little bit of light
supposedly shining through.
Add a little bit of core to the breasts.
Again, it doesn’t exist.
Coming through, feeling the tone of one breast against the other.
Feel that playing against the hand here then.
Now, it really is very subtle.
I’m not going to do an awful lot with the mouth of the face.
I want just the suggestion, and we will take and use the contour up against the arm.
Feel the surface turning away.
Here I can use the dark of the hair behind as a strong way of helping to draw
Even though I don’t really see any of the anatomy here of the jaw, I’m going to take
and draw a little bit of it.
I want to feel through the arm and treat it very simply in back.
Using it just as an excuse to get the silhouette.
When I draw this I’m thinking of a point on the elbow and a point down here.
As I’m doing the drawing I’m coming through, thinking here that this is going to be a combination.
A line starting, but notice…starts the space.
Then as I go from that, that’s going behind, I’m pulling out in front and letting that
go from behind and pulling out in front of that.
It’s a very, very subtle point.
But as you’re working and you’re developing, you’re developing your skills, it’s often
these subtle points that make the difference in the drawing.
Okay, we have a hand back here we haven’t done anything really with it.
All I’m going to do is take and think of a very simple.
It’s not doing this because it’s just lying flat.
It’s not very attractive.
I’m taking and lifting some of the fingers up so we get a little bit more play.
Essentially, it’s going to be lost, just an indication of something.
Part of what I’m doing with the hair here…using more stronger strokes is part of the thing
to take and make the drawing not look quite so worked on.
As I’m coming through, seeing some accents, even to give a sense that there is a cushion
or something here.
Feel the arm coming out, so we’ll pull something out from underneath a little bit.
We can take and do a little bit with this foot back here.
One going down.
It’s really at this point just a suggestion.
Pulling this is in front.
Getting a little dark, light.
Maybe even a little indication of ribs or a little curvature there.
Okay, I think that’s enough for explaining what I’m talking about.
Try to stick within that. Also, it’s not trying to necessarily do the figure.
Block the whole figure in, and then build on that and work with the atmosphere.
Work with the chamois or work with the stump.
You can work with wash. Use a smoke wrapping around the figure.
Okay, let’s see what you can do with the drawing.
Try some different ways of going about it.
Again, not paying that much attention to the way the light was on the model.
Using the atmosphere to create a whole new way of thinking about work.
Okay, let’s see how I took and did that drawing.
Now, I’m focusing on the atmosphere.
Again, with atmosphere I’m taking and constructing and going through the whole drawing first.
I want to feel the gesture.
I’m using a softer pencil.
This is a CarbOthello.
It’s fairly subtle.
There is actually a bit of a tilt.
We go through.
Again, now when we’re working and doing this.
When we’re working and doing the atmosphere, there are a lot of very, very subtle elements
that actually come into play.
As you’re looking at the lecture, it’s not just the outward action, it’s how you
actually get involved in rendering a lot of the form.
I’m going to be taking and dealing with details here.
As you do the drawings you can take and focus on maybe a part.
As I’m taking and focusing on a fragment here.
As I’m doing the drawing…that’s part of doing a drawing.
The drawing always talks to you.
It takes and comes through.
I’m going to take and use a stump to take and put down tone.
I want to feel the atmosphere.
I want to pull out the knee from the rest of the body.
This is a big element here now.
It’s what we actually see with the model.
As we can feel the tone, but it’s the idea as you’re doing the drawing that you’re
taking and going over the surface.
Now, as we’re coming through.
We’re building the atmosphere coming over and around.
I’ll actually take and build it going across the form even where there is light.
I’m pulling the tone.
Now you can see that I’m building this thing in the fog.
Here I’m taking and coming around.
I’m pushing that leg back around.
I’ll even use as part of creating the modeling tone.
I’m coming over that surface.
Here I don’t necessarily drop all this in shadow like that.
I don’t think that that shadow is very useful.
I’m more interested in a tone, and I’ll drop the end of the knee here in tone as well
as the end of the knee here.
This is a very soft, very, very, very soft tone I’m using now.
Now, come through.
I want to pull the atmosphere between the head and the arm, wrapping around here.
This paper is not being very helpful, so I think I’m going to work with the chamois.
Let’s see how that works.
I think this will be a little bit more.
There we go.
We feel coming across.
We’ve got the whole feeling for the air, the smoke, as the Italians referred to it.
Taking and working around and over the figure.
Now I’m going to take and come back in.
I’ll work with a combination of kneaded eraser pencils and CarbOthello light and come
back in and rub this even.
The important thing is to be conscious of the lines that you put down.
As I’m putting these lines down I want to think about what’s in front, what’s behind.
I’m taking as I’m doing the drawing now.
I want to feel looking at the leg here.
I want to feel this going behind.
We’re pulling, and so I’m leaving the space in between.
As you look at the drawing now you’ll see there is atmosphere coming in between at that
That is I’m going over.
I’m working into the modeling tone going over that surface.
I’m very careful as I’m doing this.
I want to feel the pinch going behind.
As we work up into, thinking where we’re coming in the external oblique.
It’s coming across.
It comes in front.
The pelvis is behind.
Again, I’m going out of my way not to take and let those lines connect.
Obviously, you don’t do this all the time.
I wish I was as consistent as I sound.
It is an element that I try to take and work with as much as I can as I’m doing the drawing.
You can see how it takes and gives a strong sense of three dimension just by taking and
working with that tone the way the lines come across.
For instance, we want to make this leg really come out while I focus on the overlapping.
Here I would take and come in and pick up the core and coming across the end over the
As this goes back in, we can feel the volume, pinch.
Let the air come in between.
It creates a strong sense of dimension even with just the line.
We’re going over.
This is going underneath.
The knee is coming in.
I’m going to go back in and use the chamois on the lines that I’ve been working.
Let’s first take and I want to create more tone coming through.
I’m pushing down.
Notice I have a very, very light touch.
I’m building into the shadow areas.
I’m going to do something else also here.
I believe in the lecture I sort of did a certain amount of it already in some of the lectures.
I use line an awful lot to take and give a sense of the atmosphere.
In other words, for instance, I put the tone down first, going over and around with the
surface and wrapping around.
Often I will take and use lines that are coming through that are also taking and corresponding
to the atmosphere.
The artist that did this, you can see this in some of the pen drawings of da Vinci.
You see it in Michelangelo.
You see it in the works of Rembrandt.
I think where I probably picked up most of my understanding of using that was from looking
at the drawings of Pontormo and an artist by the name of Parmigianino.
I’m coming through and actually using lines here to take and come through and work how
these lines come around and wrap.
I’m actually drawing the atmosphere as I’m coming through.
We can see it takes on a whole different character now.
At the same time I’m working with modeling tone, thinking in simple volumes.
In particular, as I look at Parmigianino, look at his pen drawings.
He was a contemporary of Michelangelo.
He was one of the artists that started making prints.
His day he was really quite popular.
Now you can see that atmosphere.
Let’s see what happens if take and add this stump or come in with the chamois here.
I don’t want to make it too heavy.
I just want to touch.
Now, I will take and a little bit stronger.
I’m feeling the modeling tone pushing down.
As the surfaces turn away I let them know.
I let the line go back.
One of the elements of true atmosphere is that as things get further away from you they
become less clearer and less distinct.
I guess that’s the same thing.
They become grayer.
We see less detail.
In a way I do the same thing working with the figure then.
As elements go back in space I do more just to indicate that I’m coming through.
Let the other leg in the back, don’t really see much of anything to indicate.
Now I want to take and help us see that the volumes in here all start to push some of the line.
Now I can, having been controlling the values drawn here, I can take and add accents that
help to show the volume or the gesture.
It’s at this level of drawing that is where I experience the personality of the artist.
What we deal with is separating the aesthetics from the technique.
Now, as I’m coming back into the drawing, I can see that my proportions and stuff are
pretty far off.
I would just take and start to change it.
Anyway, this is all I intended to do was the detail.
Take the time and I’ll just keep looking at overlapping forms, the subtlety, bringing
the atmosphere over, wrapping around and coming behind and building, coming through.
The drawing is a very different thing than what you’re looking at as the model.
Okay, I would suggest now that you’ve your drawing, and you’ve seen how I’ve taken
and started manipulating this thing, that there is no one way of doing this.
If I did the drawing again, I would probably do it differently.
This is what I suggest you do.
Take and redo your drawing.
Do it again.
See if you can incorporate some of the things I’m talking about and to focus on the subtlety
of the lines and the tones, the combination of all of the elements to take and make a picture.
Try it again.
I think you’ll find it’s quite different.
Okay, this has been the last lesson now.
I hope you have enjoyed it and gotten as much out of it.
Actually, I learn every time I do these things.
Every lesson that I give I’m learning something myself.
And so you should take and go back over.
Look at these things many times.
Do the drawing many times.
Good luck and have fun.
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1. An Introduction to Atmosphere17m 16s
2. Old Master Analysis (Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Parmiaginino)13m 3s
3. Demonstration 1 (Model: Lilias)18m 48s
4. Demonstration 2 (Model: Ryan)16m 28s
5. Demonstration 3 (Model: Jean)12m 20s
6. Demonstration 4 (Model: Lilias)34m 49s
7. Assignment30m 49s
8. Glenn's Approach to the Assignment20m 21s