- Lesson details
In this lesson, Leo will demonstrate how to draw a long pose figure project with charcoal on white paper with the same degree of contrast as in the Plaster Cast Project. Drawing along with the instructor you will gain the skills of using full tonal range in your work.
Academies and ateliers around the world are increasingly teaching an American realist approach to drawing and painting known as sight-size or classical realism.
Hosted by Florence Academy of Art founder Daniel Graves, this massive course is the most comprehensive breakdown of the sight-size approach ever produced online.
By the end of this course, you’ll be an expert in the approach and be ready to take on Sight-Size Painting Course, scheduled for a 2020 release.
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means to work on white paper with charcoal, working at a slow pace, achieving the same
degree of contrast in the figure that you previously have in your cast.
I want you to use the full tonal range, the full contrast that is possible with
your charcoal and white paper. In order to do so this project when I was a
student took me as long as 40, 50 hours. Remember that what's important is we achieve
a degree of subtlety not just within the modeling and the features of the drawing but
also to get a punch and contrast which you can carry through with you to whatever
else you might do in your artwork.
which is a very nice Fabriano paper we've been talking about, which is specifically designed for
long-term, large-scale charcoal value drawing. So drawing in charcoal almost as if you were painting with
it. But what I've done is, as I showed you earlier, I attached two pieces together
so I have a lot of leeway to make the figure as large as it needs to
be. And what I'm going to do when I start off is I'll get into sight-
size and just like the smaller examples I've done I'm going to find the very top
of the figure, the bottom of the figure, a centerline that sort of encompasses the movement
of the figure and of course the plumb line also which will really make it very
clear whether she's starting to tip over one way or the other.
Aurora are you ready? Okay,
so our model’s going to get up
and the first thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to step back and
I'm going to take some time just finding registration points so that every time I stepped
back to my marks back there,
I know that I'm in exactly the right place.
And then I’ll star breaking it up with a couple midpoints for the figure. In this
case probably her hip, maybe the navel. And when I'm looking for visual points that I
can use in my drawing it's always what's not just anatomically there but visually dominant, right,
the things that I see you when I squint because throughout the course of doing ths
drawing I'm going to be squinting down a lot to try to take in the visual
impression of the figure. So only drawing it the way that it appears to us when
we're squinting. I have two different types of charcoal in my hands. I have vine
charcoal which is very very soft and I have the nitram charcoal we've been using.
This stuff is great. It is a little bit more expensive.
So for my first few lines,
sometimes I use this, it moves fast and is really easy,
but will be using the Nitram for almost all of the drawing. So with plumb line in
hand, I step back to my marks.
Remember, all I'm trying to do is find the points that the model will line up
with on my paper straight on a horizontal axis.
So my point of view is slightly different than the camera’s,
but I want to make sure that her feet line up,
her head lines up, her navel lines up, the pubic area lines up, and the shoulders line
up and all of these things
I’ll use my plumb line on the paper to first get a registration mark, say
there, there, there, there, and there but my point of view will be slightly different because
of course in sight-size everyone's height is a little bit different and you have to be
standing in exactly the same place as somebody's eyes to be able to see it registered
exactly the same way. Actually can get her head slightly higher.
I'll double and triple check this because as long as these two things are correct,
my drawing will never grow beyond those two points.
I remember when I was learning to draw the figure I would often end up in
a situation where I'd start drawing the head and everything would be going great
and I’d sort of work my way down the page
and by the time I was going to like the leg would be off the page.
And one of those concepts here is that we are trying to visually memorize what this
is like and superimpose it right on our page as we get started.
So those two marks look good to me.
Now I really - although this looks relatively simple, the better I get these first few marks the
smoother the rest of my drawing will go. It sort of defines the x-axis and then
all I have to do is carry across each of those and then figure out the
verticals and their widths between them.
So as you're learning to do this it may take you some time to figure out
where those initial few marks are.
And as I'm looking at the plumb line,
I'm putting it right on the inside
of her right ankle, the one that's on our left,
which is sort of the 50/50 point
down by her feet there.
And again what I like about this is we haven't done the drawing yet but I've already set
up the confines of where
the drawing will be. I can take a general width measurement just have a sense of
where the placement on the page will be.
I always start with what the widest point on the figure is.
So on our model I'll be looking from her hand all the way to the other
hand right now. That's the widest point.
Of course that hand can shift a little bit as it swings,
but at the very least it gives me a clear
width measurement that I can take across. I don't want to draw
a big dark plumb line on this because I want to keep my paper nice and
clean. But I am taking note of where each of these points
line up with my plumb line and I hope you get the sense that I'm spending
60 or 70% of my time here.
I'm actually not drawing while I'm up there.
I'm just putting down the recorded information that I have memorized and it's just really an
angle or two at a time.
As I come back here at this point,
this is what I'm drawing.
I'm looking for shapes that I can connect and long angles that will relate to one
another. General line across for the shoulders. General line across for the hips. Let me check
that point. Yep, as I thought I have it just a little low.
Now one of the very first things I want to consider
is just like those smaller drawings,
I was doing, I want to get a sense of where the great trochanter is and a sense of
what the angle is from
her hip all the way down to her ankle and the foot that's taking more of the
weight. So this angle becomes very important for me to establish the weight that the model
has and the overall movement of a pose.
Now if that’s the placement of her hips, her shoulders are slightly off to the right.
I wanna double check that shoulder, that's looking low to me too.
So I first I want to make a quick check of the top of her head
again and I'll make a quick check of where her feet are.
And then I also want to check after those two wear that shoulder is that I'm
concerned about. And it looks low to me. Yep.
And in my opinion it's always better to take a guess at where something could
be and then check it afterwards then countless minutes spell measuring and sort of going by
point-by-point system. I'd rather get something on the page that I can then compare to.
So for instance, I can say when I drop my plumb line the shoulder’s off to
the right from the hip so ballpark
that's the right spot for that,
but I still feel flexible and I can move it around as I need to.
And I would say with this technique of drawing if there was one
phrase, that is maybe most valuable,
it is the concept of flexibility. That you can still feel like you can change things
at any point in time, that you don't feel locked into the drawing.
I don't really finish as I go.
I will continually try to improve my drawing based both on what I'm seeing in nature
and what I might discover about my drawing along the way.
The next angle I want to look at it is from the hip to the opposing
shoulder. Because of course, we're finding these sort of points in space and carrying them,
but they have to be connected one side to the other.
We need to draw one side in respect to its complement.
It's really not enough with this technique to just go and start drawing here
and then later draw this side,
you'll end up with a huge aberration of somebody looking to wide or too thin or
just not like the person that we're drawing.
So let's take a look at that angle.
Now her shoulders are moving this way.
Her hands are ever so slightly too. That's about where her
hand will line up and let's double-check that.
Still push this out just a little.
Now one thing I haven't put in yet is this arm on this side.
I just want to get up ballpark guess
at the angle and how low down that
hand comes. And one of the things
I like about this is I'm sort of drawing that the sense of the whole figure
without drawing it piece by piece.
Placement of the knees.
And now I can start to think about where her center line is.
It’s just about lining up with here.
Foot comes further over this way.
Pubic area is over here.
Angle’s a bit different. What I like is now that I have so much down, I can
start to move a little quicker and almost by multiple choice
I can look at where this is and say
okay, if the great trochanter is here, if her hips around here, if the pubic area’s
here, if the navel’s around here that gives me a very good sense of what
this shoulder should be doing.
I can start using elements of the drawing to help me figure out the rest of
it. It doesn't mean that every proportion I have down is correct but taking time with
those first few measurements will give me a huge advantage now that I'm going to start
just drawing more freely. I'm going to take a very close look now at what the
center line is doing. From her pit of the neck through the sternum every point I'm
looking at it and I'm asking myself
here, there's about oh, I don't know if 35% of the body on this side and
65% of the body on that side but as we come up here
she’s sort of turning. This is more
I don't know 55, 45 and as we look here,
it's almost fifty-fifty. So I'm taking great care to look at how the center line is
dynamic and moves through space.
I'm really trying to jump around.
I don't want to get bogged down in one particular part of the figure. For this
center line to work the feet need to be placed correctly.
If I don't get these all thought about together,
I won't get enough fluid rhythm through the pose.
Alright, it's probably time for me to take a width measurement.
Shoulders are close but just a little a little bit wide.
Hips are wide though. From this point it almost drops straight down and
then comes even further in down by the knee.
This is more or less at an angle like that.
I'm just starting thinking about more internal information now, where the sternum is, where the shadow
edge here under the breast,
where the armpit is. And the big question is what we're going to do with this
negative shape in here. We want to come up with an interesting design, something that looks
very fluid and relaxed, but it also has to be something the model’s doing all the
time. And again, I think it's one of the huge advantages of working from live models
that if you track the center line and if you really pay attention to your plumb line
through out and when things might shift one way or another, that gives you the power
to then decide whether you would like to change something for the better or
whether you might like to keep it as is.
compare this with the small figure study
that I did during the first session.
I just want to make sure that the big movements of the pose are there.
And I can compare the two. Now
I called this and this a block in but there's other terms for it.
Also people refer to this because the shape is so abstract.
It looks like a figure but it doesn't look like a thing.
There is no hands.
There is no feet. There's barely a real sense of anatomy there but you start to
get a sense of the size and shape and stance of the person that's there.
So some people call this a block in, another term for it is a lay-in, another
term for it is a potato shape, another term for it is the big shape, and
these are all different terms that we will use to describe this stage in our drawing.
And at the Florence Academy,
it was very much the belief the better you get this stage the smoother the rest
of your drawing will go. It’s sort of the armature that the whole rest of the
figure goes down with because of course the temptation is to just really start drawing the
leg. When you're ready. You know,
this is an inspiring post.
There's a lot of interesting rhythm and the light is quite beautiful.
So what I hope for is to get as detailed of not just the sense to the
post but the sense of light that is there.
So I want to step back for a minute and look at this little miniature version
that I did earlier and relate that to my big drawing.
And I want to have not just my charcoal but my eraser in hand. Now one
thing that's very positive and I want to point out for you guys here on the
drawing is I already have a lot of rhythm in the big pose compared to the
small one, this feels slightly more straight up. And part of that is I gave the
model a chance to settle, right?
She has been standing there now for a few sessions and although the temptation is to
rush into it, I'm slowly chipping away at the outside of the figure, looking sort of
more at the negative shapes. For instance,
if you are here inside her armpit looking down,
I'm just starting to look at that negative shape rather than drawing the arm itself.
This is useful to me because in this block in technique I'm starting to chip away at
the outside of it almost like I was carving at a tree with a chainsaw or
something. I don't want to commit to any one part of the pose too early.
So although I think the rhythm is looking really nice here through the figure,
I do think that the body type is a little bit better in the smaller ones.
So I need to keep working on that aspect and periodically,
you'll see me come up and put this here for a moment, take it down if
it's distracting, but it's helpful to have almost like a little study for this stage.
So what I want to find is exactly where her hips and shoulders are now. And
as you can see in nature, her hips are off to
the left, her shoulders are a little bit off to the right.
I may have exaggerated that in a little a little bit in my drawing,
but I think that's useful to get a sense of rhythm at this stage.
Now anytime I'm taking a measurement,
I will always step back the full distance. Anytime
I really want to see the the sense of the whole in the model and my
drawing, I'll always step back to exactly my spot I have marked on the floor. That
said you will see me occasionally sort of walk back halfway.
If I see something based upon the rules that I'm set up in my drawing,
I might stop back only halfway if I'm really really sure about it.
So one thing that I'm noticing is in my drawing I've started looking at where her
hip actually is and it's just below where her navel is.
So I'm want to make sure I don't have them at the same height.
And again this is based on getting those first few measurements
in the drawing correct. Now remember this is my plumb line running from here. Notice the
pubic area’s just off to the left of that’ the navel’s just off to the right,
sternum is just off to the right of the neck is basically touching it just on
this side of it. So as I'm looking at it
I'm realizing that's where the ankle is.
So that's where the toe is and it's an excellent way to try to connect what's
down here with what's up here.
So much can happen through a pose like this and this technique becomes particularly useful for
sort of quick sketches, even though this seems sort of long and drawn-out that I'm slowly
doing these angles that start to have the sense of the movement of the pose rather than
just a lyrical long line. This is going to help me to see it as specifically as
possible so that we end up with somebody that doesn't just look like a human but
specifically like Aurora here in front of us.
Now what I'm doing is I'm sort of standing right here in between my model and
my drawing and I'm quickly flicking my eye back and forth between the two seeing what
jumps out at me as an obvious change.
Like this hand feels - when I flick my eyes back and forth
this hand feels awfully close to her knee.
That's got to move and I don't even need my plumb line to tell me that.
I can just see by sort of comparing between the two
that things start to jump out at me at this stage.
Aurora could you cast your gaze sort of down that way a little bit more, yeah,
that's better. Thank you So there's times when I'm looking at the model that I'll think
what she's doing is perhaps an improvement. As I've been watching that space between the hand
and the hip has gotten a little bit bigger
and I’ve started to change my drawing along with that.
That's said I really liked that sort of
cast of her eyes down. So there's times
I will correct the model and there's times where I just want to follow what the
model is doing. One of the things that's so nice about working with this paper -
although as you can see it does have some texture to it,
the paper is really resilient and you can erase and rework many many times.
And as you can see like the kind of drawings it has this undulating texture to it
that the paper isn't totally flat but it has a little bit more surface area.
So it'll hold more charcoal that doesn't damage as quickly.
And I'll really be able to build up some rich
tones on this throughout the drawing. And I'm just starting plotting out some of my shadow edges.
Moving that leg over just a touch.
Lets a little bit more curve to the hips. That brings this over just a
touch also. Okay. Now I have quite a lot down. Again no real details,
but this is enough. There's a head, there’s shoulders.
there's hips, there's knees and feet, and a sort of general sense of where everything will
go. So this is a great time for me to step back with my mirror and
use this to superimpose on the mirror and image of both and I can start to flick
my eyes back and forth again and compare that to see what jumps out at me.
Okay I got her head a little big.
Just coming a little bit too close over there.
Start to take that down. As I’m looking at the pose
I'm seeing this shoulder start to drop.
I really like the opposing force of her shoulders and hips going in opposite sort of
direction. So I'm going to keep the way I have it in my drawing.
And you'll see me pick up the mirror again and again. Comparing these two
is so difficult to do is your drawing your mind starts to tell you everything looks
okay, and if you've ever noticed if you leave your work overnight and see it again
the next day often it’s look so different than you remember.
People joke about studio elves that come in and mess everything up when you're not looking.
The truth is that having a fresh eye is really your best tool for auto criticism.
And that's one of the things I really like about the school that I went to,
it's not just based in a process.
Obviously this is very procedural.
There are steps that we are going through but the concept here is that I will
get to a certain point where I can critique myself
and it starts to give the artist a lot of freedom for the ability to critique
yourself, which for me as a young art student was always the hardest thing to do.
And the mirror is a great way to do that.
Anything to trick yourself into seeing things with a fresh eye.
Just want to get a general sense of where that front edge
will go, it’s up higher as I come back here.
So I moved this over, I'm starting to notice the torso feeling a little long.
And I’d suggest as you're learning to do this to sort of wait
and not continue drawing during the times that the model’s not up. Because we're trying to
sort of respond to all these little changes like the shoulder dropping or the position of
had sort of changing slightly,
I think it's best to really just draw what you see as you’re flicking your
eye back and forth and it can be hard to sort of be patient and wait
for that to happen, but there will be eventually jobs we can do during breaks,
But this is a good point to start of leave it and not look at my
work for a second so I can get that first impression fresh
eye when I come back.
I purposefully don't look at my work during a break so that maybe I can see
another obvious thing that needs to change.
So at this point everything I've done on my drawing has just been with the soft
Nitram charcoal or the soft vine charcoal and I've been using the kneaded eraser more
to push stuff around on the paper than really erase. And as you can see I'm
starting to go just a little bit darker as I go as well.
I'm trying to layer on top of my lines with just slightly darker, still straight, clear
angle lines. Are you ready?
Oh, wow, that's great. So these little marks that I'm making where I'm shifting something just
a little bit to the right or to the left,
I'm not trying to draw an ear at that moment.
I'm almost like leaving myself a little bread crumb or a little note to self for
later about where that'll be and I'm looking at the angles that I already have established
to see how well they fit.
I’m noticing I have her brow a little lower, eye socket’s up there. I really like -
right now on the pose,
if you can see her
from the shadow, the cast shadow from her head start to connect completely and her arm’s
almost disappearing into the background here.
It's a very interesting unified shadow moment that we call -
we always sort of call that thing of an open shape or a lost edge and
when you can find those they’re a really exciting way to design your drawing.
So I'm sort of looking at how this starts to connect from here through to here.
I'm really trying to keep in mind where her zygomata are, cheekbone to cheekbone.
Just making sure I'm not making her
eye socket too small or too big. This is feeling large to me
also. I'm looking at this
light shape right here on the model, almost like a diamond or a slice of
pizza. As I said on the Bargues, I’m always trying anthropomorphize the shape. If I see a shape
I try to imagine that abstractly and when I do it just seems like this like
particularly because the light’s hitting it - the shadow’s hitting it rather - fall off a little bit
more. So I'm pretty sure that that’s a touch wide and will start to look more elegant as
I bring it in to the right. I can sort of get rid of my plumb
line now. I'm confident enough that she’s standing up.
And I can always reference that again,
but I took out those few points just so I can see more clearly.
Now even though this is early in the drawing and I haven't sort of finished anything
in a traditional sense, I'm going to go ahead and start shading a little bit just
a separate the light and shade throughout the figure and try to find a sense of
unity from here all the way down.
Keep in mind once this is all laid in, my lightest lights,
the brightest things in the whole figure are here on the sternum and the breast, on
her cheek bone, on her forehead.
There's a lot of light hitting the side of the leg as well.
Basically anything else is okay if it gets a little dirty,
so I don't mind early on just doing a quick pass and charcoal that will help
me to isolate it. If I end up needing to move it around
it's not the end of the world,
but I'm always trying to protect those few areas
that’d have to be
considered from the beginning. So I’m shading right over one area and the other. Such a lost edge
there I can choose later
whether to include that or not.
Even though it's a little early in the game for thinking about half-tones
I can just quickly hatch over all this stuff because some strong plane shifts there.
All right. It's another great time to grab the mirror.
As I'm looking back and forth between the two, I'm starting to bridge that gap in
space between doing a line drawing and a tonal drawing.
I'm starting to see things like this light shape that I was referencing here or this
light shape on the cheek are starting to become a little bit more crystalline because I'm
now dealing with contrast as well.
Frankly, this is kind of a delicate stage.
I think a lot of people go far outside
the lines or they’re too meticulous about filling in and often times people lose the flexibility
that they've been working so hard to keep in their work up until now. So I'm
super careful as I'm putting this down
I'm non-committal and I'm trying to keep as flexible of an approach as possible because I'm
not just trying to finish the drawing as I can,
I'm trying to prepare my work for the next day that I will see it. That is
the more complete of a stage that this looks like, the easier
it will be for me to get that flash, that really clear fresh eye impression
on day two of this drawing as well.
Notice this is the first time I've spent any considerable amount of time up at my
easel. Other than this point where I'm starting to feel stuff in
I've been walking back and forth and sort of doing one or two lines at a
time. This is the first time that I feel sort of freedom to start to hash
and fill in what's there to here in the background so I can see this part
a little bit more clearly.
Or here up against the shoulder.
Perhaps here. And that way I'm starting to treat my drawing as a drawing. I can
think about not just the angles that I've been trying to do, how to abstract the
pose which I’ve spent so much time trying to think about. Instead I’m just trying to
start to develop contrast and volume.
Okay, so I'm going to sort of reference for a second some of the similarities and
differences that I see going back and forth.
Now I'm really happy with the angle that I have from her great trochanter to the
opposing shoulder. It seems really dynamic.
I see her do a little bit more when she's starting to lean her shoulder down
or getting tired, but I feel like I have a good strong rhythm from here to
here. That set off by that center line rhythm that we've been talking about and also the
angle through the legs. Something I'm not sure about as I flick my eyes back and
forth, I'm still getting the sense that I have her hips a little large. And if
there's one thing that my eye keeps going to, it’s this here.
I think this may need to drop just a little and I'm not sure about it
quite yet, but I like when
I got a little bit more drop there.
I think it looks good.
Keep in mind I'm not just drawing,
I am also designing. I'm trying to create pleasing, interesting shapes that are dynamic and start
to look just beautiful in and of themself.
If every part of the drawing is considered and kind of aesthetically pleasing it makes it
so much easier to make a good drawing.
Notice as I'm starting to feel this in a little I'm just sort of going a different
direction so I don't have too many
hatch marks all going the same way.
At least not yet. I also just want to get the white off the page and start
to see my white areas of the paper as a little bit more special.
Start to perceive the contrast. Here
there's that dark half tone that I'm missing.
Another interesting thing is that I'm purposefully trying to not use tones of anatomical terms.
It is helpful to know the anatomy that we're dealing with - could I ask you to stay up for just
one more moment - to know the anatomy we're dealing with but what I'm trying to do
continually is really squint my eyes down and just naively look at a shape.
So the last thing I was doing today was just look at how this starts to
connect into a larger shape, forgetting for a minute about the underlined anatomy and just
looking at it naively. And tomorrow
I'm pleased to have the sort of at the same stage so I can start to
develop this and I have it cleanly for a sort of well thought-out beginning. Thank
you, Aurora. So the tools that I've been using today are just charcoal, eraser, the
mirror which has been invaluable to me. And I just have sort of a first pass
down and the next time that I see this drawing and the model, I'm completely sure
that I'm going to get something flashing out at me again. A sneaking suspicion of what
might be wrong. But for now,
I think this is a good first pass for a drawing and looks slightly generalized,
but it's starting to look much more natural.
So I would say that after doing this initial line drawing, all with long straight lines and
trying to connect these long angles from one side of the figure to the other,
the next job is to try to find a unity or a sense of how all
the shadows are the same all the way throughout so that we can see it
as one clear piece. No part of the drawing is developed much more than the rest
there. It's all about the same level. And I want to keep that that way throughout
the whole first pass. And we'll see what it looks like tomorrow.
the difference is I see. In fact at this stage
I'm not even going to grab my charcoal.
I'm just take my plumb line,
maybe my mirror, and I'm going to walk back to my mark and see what I
see from there. The first thing I'm doing is I'm just checking the top and bottom
marks again. And I’m also asking myself
what my first impression is, right,
what is the first thing that jumps out at me about my drawing.
One thing that I can see pretty clearly off the bat is that just in terms
of flicking my eye back and forth between the model and my drawing,
I'm really picking up that she has a little bit more of an hourglass shape to
starting sort of right here at the ribs,
it feels like it gets a little thinner here before it starts moving down. And on
my drawing of Aurora, it just feels a little flatter through this area.
So I want to see if I can get the the pose a little even more
well-structured through the hips moving up into the trunk of the body. In terms of my
marks, things are lining up
okay. If anything somehow my foot creeped a little bit high.
Yeah, and the legs feel just a hair on the short side and I think I
probably as I was working throughout the course of the day because here I just let
that creep a little bit high, which started to shorten the legs.
That's probably why something was happening in here.
I was trying to make it a little bigger to compensate.
So I'm going to try to hold to my sight-size measurements, right, this line across
the model is something I'm going to establish and really not change from here. And although
the head’s lining up, throughout the course of the day
she may settle a little bit,
you know gravity starts to take hold and I want to keep an eye on that
to just make sure we don't get
too far along changing anything and I'm not realizing the pose
has changed. So this first part of the day
I'm just going to double-check so in my marks.
So I have I have a few pieces of the Nitram charcoal the B or the
softest of them and the Nitram and the Vine charcoal are the softest things that
I have. So I’m gonna use that just because it's kind of flexible. And I want to
recheck - I want to recheck a few of my marks and I'm going to start making
some adjustments before I do any more tonal work.
I'm just trying to use my first impression looking back and forth between the two to
see if I can get that a little bit closer.
Although it's hard to see,
what I'm trying to do and what I would suggest to any student in sight-size to really
just work on changing one thing at a time. Make a change and then come back
and check it. It's really the drawing being done from back here.
And when I'm at the easel,
I'm just recording information that I've already observed and then double checking it.
Yeah I was saying this can creep down just a little bit.
Now as I'm observing this toe coming down a bit,
I'm also trying to keep an eye on the opposing angle through the leg.
I'm not just looking at the outside.
I'm always trying to relate one side of the figure to the other. If you noticed
as I was working here, trying to take another look at this angle that happens,
I'm also looking here at this shoulder to try to get as much opposing force gesture
as possible. I see a lot of people observe one half of the drawing really well,
but the other half a little lumpy and you don't get any sort of
elegance to the rhythm like that.
So yeah this and this are the two first long angles that I'm looking at
today. And if you remember those are some of the first things that I was talking
about with the initial gesture also. So from here to here and here to here, trying to
sort of make a larger connection with how the weight flows through the figure.
So I'm really trying to look,
as I'm stepping back, at this hour glass effect that the figure has, right, that
her hips are wider than her ribs.
And I just had a little bit too much the same moving up to my
drawing. One thing that’s starting to just be at the edge of bothering me is I
have quite a lot of hatch marks.
The drawing looks specific but I want to show you how I use another thing periodically
to simplify the tonal range just like I did with the Bargues that I was using
an eraser to sort of ghost the image so that you said a little softer
and a little bit less
hatch marks than before. I'll use a fan brush or a paper stump works as well
but a fan brush is really nice for just trying to push the charcoal around that's
already on the canvas and it's fairly precise because you have a sort of sharper Edge
and a larger edge. So I'll just very lightly
go over the whole drawing to soften it so I don't perceive these hatch marks quite
as much as I did.
And this’ll be a nice way for me to check the pose, how natural it looks, because
I don't want it to be too abstract.
Even though I'm using his long straight lines,
I do want it to look as natural
as possible. Okay, let's take another look after my initial adjustments.
I'm actually not pleased with the angle I have here in the pubic area.
It doesn't feel like the hips are locking back quite enough. What I want through the center
line is to always get a sense that it's not just S curving but that is moving
through space, the hips are coming out and the sternum is out and then the
shoulders are in this case really far back.
She's arching her back quite a lot in the pose.
So I want to make sure that this really feels like it's going back and that's
why I've kept the center line,
even though we don't really see that, it’s such a useful tool for getting the balance
and weight of the figure overall.
I also noticed just by virtue of shape,
right, we’re trying to use
shape recognition quite a lot and I was looking at this light shape in the thigh
being just a hair too wide overall. By moving that over we start to get a
little bit more elegant flow of light through there.
Of course, the entire background is so dark that frankly
I'm not really concerned if I dirty up my paper over there as much.
I am trying to keep my paper really clean through the lights and I'm being extra
cautious about that. But if I leave a little bit of charcoal there it's
only going to fill it in for later.
Something I'm starting to pay attention to now and we haven't really talked about yet, is when
a form overlaps in front of the other, whether that's the crest of her hip right
here, whether that's here in the breast going over the armpit here,
whether it's in the shoulders or the feet and any point I start annotating where these
overlaps happens because they're useful landmarks for me to relate one side to the other for
me to relate one to the other, they are there fixed
objects on the figure moving through space.
So if the pose starts the shiftit gives me a way to control and know
exactly what may need to change on the model.
This thigh is feeling just slightly wide now.
Take that down the line.
I was trying to move it down here.
Basically, I was trying to shift the hips, pubic hair just slightly over this way.
And then we're going to see that we don't break that connection there,
but I want a strong of a gesture as possible.
I remember when I was in art school
I would always ask to do
longer poses growing up and I was going to school in Boston taking a sort of
local art classes at the art colleges in the evenings and stuff.
And when I started going to art school,
I remember they would always ask us to do this really fast poses.
And this way of drawing, sort of slowly amalgamating what the rhythm of the pose is, feels
much more of a like gesture,
an accurate gesture drawing to me than putting it down quickly. And through the study of
doing this I now draw
faster more accurate figures. If you draw slowly but accurately you will certainly get faster throughout
your years of drawing and you’ll keep that accuracy.
if you just drop quickly and inaccurately, there's a much greater risk of continuing to get
faster but never any less - and never any more accurate rather.
So I really try to think of the head
as a large integral shape. Just like in the Bargue drawings,
if you remember I'm sort of chipping away at the outside block of the head rather
than trying to start on the features themself.
I'm trying to think about the place where the eye socket, where the back of the
head is, to get the sort of mass of the cranium, where the chin is, and
just sort of go after the the character of the shape of the head locked in
place. She has a little bit more back of the head.
I'll just going and sort of lighten and soften.
I work a bit and I want to
isolate the light shape a little bit with my soft charcoal
and place a little bit more background so I can really see.
I can hatch right over this whole edge,
there's nothing here that's even close.
myelitis light. So now we can start to see
this long flowing serpentine. hopefully beautiful long light shape.
Now that I've isolated the light shape a little bit, the space from the bottom of
her eye socket to her jaw feels a little bit small to me.
So I'm going to start raising that up.
And notice I'm not really drawing
her eyes, I'm not really drawing her face at this point.
I'm looking at the pattern of light and dark and I'm trying to sort of
draw the eye socket. The way you look sort of see her,
I guess from a distance rather than the particulars of our model’s face.
Put my brush down for a minute.
But it's a really - as you can see
it's a really helpful tool for starting to get this long flowing light shape and just
pass over from time to time the rest of the work.
She still feels just at a hair wide through the hips. And part of that is
right now there's this cast shadow there,
but also I think it we can just go ahead and darkensome of that
so we can see this more. Has a light shape.
Notice that now that I have my sort of general proportions
that I'm starting to feel a little bit more confident about - and when I say a
little bit more confident, my drawing is still very flexible.
I'm still willing to wipe a part out and redraw it if I need to.
But I am not completely stepping back to my mark every single time.
I'm just stepping back far enough that I can see both the figure and my drawing in
contest and when I need to check something I'll come back here
and double-check it. One thing I haven't started to design is the mass of her hair.
Ponytail here is a very interesting shape.
Be a nice dark half tone.
All this can get a little darker. I'm really trying to think about my background
and my shadows at the same time to force me
to keep my background and shadow very simple.
That's it’s sort of the same all the way through.
Can you turn your shoulders back towards me just a little bit?
Little bit more - that's better.
Thank you. One of the reasons why I can correct the pose and tell the model
exactly which way to turn is I paid close attention to that center line concept early on
so becomes easy to tell if it starts getting twisted away from me in one direction
or another. And Aurora has been great.
She's being extremely still but in a contrapposto kind of twisting pose like this where we
get a lot of motion,
it's inevitable of the body starts pulling different directions.
So it's kind of a collaborative process between the artist and the artist’s model for us
to sort of talk and try to find a pose that both is comfortable for her
but that she keeps returning to the sort of long gesture that I want for my
drawing. I'm always trying to check the cross relationship of one high point in
the form to the other, just like I did in the hips to the opposing shoulder,
from the great trochanter down to the inside ankle.
I started looking at these angles across as I'm working too to make sure that I
don't put one fullness in form right across from the other which not a way to get
strong rhythm. So if we have a fullness here,
the fullness is either above or below it and we can start to trace those lines
from one side of the form to the other
so we make sure we're actually connecting
the figure on its east and west side. Because this is a natural wood charcoal it’s
not compressed, it’s not made from powder and pressed together with wax,
but it's each of these sticks is an actual piece of wood cut about an inch
by inch and a cooked in the absence of oxygen until it really squeezes down to
this size. And because of that there are sort of knots in the wood and from
time to time I'll hit a spot in my charcoal
that's just a little harder. Even though this is a B it’s supposed to be one of my
hardest charcoals - I'm sorry one of my softest charcoals.
Excuse me. This is a nice hard spot in the charcoal that I can use to
sort of push around some of the works that I already have down.
I like how the light is starting to peak on this
arm just a little bit too. I'm going to draw triangle
there see if I can revisit that forearm
as we go forward. That’s a little low. Always looking at a shape and I'm looking at
its neighbor see it when something's creeping too close to something else.
Spread them back apart and try to get a little bit more space.
One thing that I haven't talked about yet is the relationship of the acromion process
one side to the other and how that relates to the naval almost like a triangle
or a sort of slice of pizza. We're trying to think as we look at
it, we're going okay is this one closer or further away than this one?
We're looking back and forth between these three points trying to triangulate whether something is too
far over to the right or too far to the left.
I really like it when the shoulder is swung
a little bit closer to the side.
We got really nice twist this way.
I’m starting to watch how one shade pulls up and one starts to connect
to another of a gesture towards one another. And as I'm doing that, these right in here
this is sort of my introduction of the first real dark halftone, the things that when
I squint my eye way down starts to relate closer to the shadow
than I do to the light.
Her nose is a little long.
I'm constantly reminding myself not to fall in love with one area of the drawing.
Like I worked on the head for a moment,
tried to adjust the shape of the eye socket, the position of the nose, position of the
lips, position of a hairline. Before I go much further here
I just ask myself what was furthest behind and I looked and I thought wow,
I haven't done anything in the lower leg down here yet.
So I immediately go okay,
even though this is something I'd love to work on more right now
it's more important to me that I bring this up to speed than it is to
continue developing the head. My friend Rob Bodem, the sculptor, we both talked a lot about
the concept of working responsibly.
Not just what you want to work on
but the thing that you should work on that and I think that's a good example
of that, to not fall in love with whatever you happen to be working on
at that moment. The really harsh truth is when you look at your own work
you'll always see what you worked on the hardest when someone else sees your work
they will always see whatever its weakest point is.
It's a great way to just sort of
cover for yourself always ask yourself
what's falling behind in that moment.
Again I'm seeing this halftone here and
I'm asking myself how they might connect.
And I can only answer that question when I am squinting way down.
It's time for us to give our model a break.
of the drawing are in a more linear stage and some parts of the drawing are
starting to be completely laid out in tone.
Just one tone a budding the other like we did in the Bargue drawings and the
cast that concept of just trying to get the shapes to interlock correctly so that it
has the visual impression of nature visual impression. Some parts of this are looking really dark,
but I want to remind everybody early on I have quite a ways I can go
to darken this if I need to. And I often remind art students to do whether it's
paint, charcoal, pencil, mark somewhere of how dark you can actually go.
So you make sure you know,
if you're staying really like or if you're starting to get too dark already and as
you can see, this is so much darker than anything I have in my drawing.
I feel a lot of freedom to still push stuff around. To remind you also watching
what I'm really trying to keep my eye on as I'm doing this.
I don't mind if I get this a little dirty in here because this is a
half tone. But in the lightest light areas here,
here I want to be pristine about my paper.
I want to make sure that nothing touches it and when I'm quickly moving my brush
over to sort of unify something a bit like in unify it or let's say I
have something it's a little dark like this line here and I just want to lighten
it. I'm really being careful not to pull it across my lightest lights.
I want those to be as clean as possible so that I get as much contrast
between that point and that point that I can.
And notice now, I'm starting to sort of work freely.
I'm working from here across into here, from here across into here.
I'm trying to now deal with internal information in the figure, whereas basically everything I've done
up until now has been in the contour and the shadow edge,
but not really very much
of the internal forms. And all of this leg is so much darker than this leg.
Well all of it, most of this leg is darker than this leg. This is quite
light right here. It's not quite as light as the chest,
but it's quite light, so I'm not really worried about this getting dirty either.
What I've been doing tonally is just trying to make sure that all of my shadows,
all the way throughout, that I'm keeping this long continuous shadow pattern that moves from
the top of the head all the way down to the feet,
that it's a long shadow pattern to design the flow of the light.
By keeping those two very separate I can start to see
how the light is going to pass through the figure but of course,
there's all of these darker half tones of things that when I squint way down, when
I squint I'm looking through my eyelashes.
I'm trying to screw up my eyes as much as possible and I see that this
shadow starts to relate in value with this halftone here, that this shadow starts to depend
on how she's breathing pull bands of halftone out this way or across this way.
I am conscious that I am not in the hierarchy of half tones making something like this,
a lighter half tone, as dark as something that is clearly a darker half tone. There needs
to be a clear hierarchy of the half tones,
but not necessarily the shadows, just a clear separation of light and dark.
And then whenever you need it
to break it off with a little bit of light half tone here and there just to
get a better sense of where the internal forms are.
And we'll talk much more
about tonal relationships in this darwing as we go forward.
I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible because just like I don't want to
develop any one piece of the drawing
more than anything else, I also want the tonal relationships just like in the cast to
be as simple as possible.
Noticed that I’ve kept in hands and feet really simple up until now.
All I've separated is just where the big toe is pointing and where the thumb Is
pointing. I don't want to go into too much information just yet
but I really want to make sure that the top plane of my hand or the
top plane of the foot is really well placed for the next stages in the drawing.
I'm trying to treat the hands or feet almost like a miniature
big shape or a miniature potato shape to block them in so that later
I can put far more
detail within them. Again I'm looking at this light shape, making sure I get that as
clean as possible where we’re going to want that little highlight. Oh,
that's very nice. As I'm looking at these shapes here and yes,
her hair is darker than her cheek,
I'm starting to get this set up for the light pattern that actually is there. Which is
of course the background is so much darker than rest of face.
So I searched really squint
looking through my eyelashes so all I see is this shape here and how that starts
connect with the neck and the rest of the flow of the body.
I do think I still have her brow just slightly low.
Hair line up a touch. Notice that periodically I'm switching back and making adjustments to the contour, right,
the edge of the figure itself.
Not just working on internal forms,
but I'm now that I have a little bit more information, like a little bit more
detail here in the shadow edge, and a little bit more detail through here and how
that connects to the shoulder.
I look and go maybe they are still coming out.
I bring it over just a couple of millimeters. The flexibility thing is of paramount importance
to me that I can
manipulate and change of position of any part of my drawing,
Now, why did I just go over that? The visual impression of this was incorrect
because it wasn't light, dark, light.
I was instead seeing this little band of shadow on her arm.
And what we want is to see with our eye is the same way that we see
our drawing that light, dark, light, dark pattern.
So that's why it's such a delicate
area moving between tone and contour. Don't get frustrated if as you lay this in
the charcoal gets kind of powdery and moves around and start to lose the edge that
you've worked so hard to create, what's important as you are going in and redrawing and
re-establishing the contour throughout the process so you don't lose
any of those things you work so hard to get. I can't tell you the amount
of time students would get frustrated at the school in Florence saying,
oh I lost my drawing
I can't get it back. And the truth is if you've done it once
there's no reason why you can't go back and re-establish it. You can't go too far
though without doing that. So as I'm hatching over this and I'm seeing it I'm noticing
oh, I'm losing this edge I need to re-establish that, I'm losing where I had the
thumb there. So I'm sort of keeping my eye on my drawing as a drawing for
the first time. I'm not just responding to what's there and I'm also trying to take
care of the steps in between.
I know it looks a little better already.
I have a little bit more clarity there.
It was just too wispy.
See if I can do the same thing for the thumb.
I'm trying to draw out lines that are about the same value as the rest of
the background that I have in.
I'm looking at where my lightest lights are here,
here, and here. And I'm being careful again not to let anything contaminate
these spots on the chest,
but I am starting to look at the half tones that sort of connect each of these
forms. Give me a lot of freedom to just move my charcoal a little bit more
freely. I'm not as worried about just putting straight lines everywhere.
I can start to move gesturally around the figure.
All of this Is the beginning of a side plane.
That halftone has to be so much lighter than the shadow, if I start to lay
in a half tone and it looks too close to the shadow I’ll immediately darked
the shadow that's next to it.
Now for those of you trying to do the same sort of process on your own,
please know that although you don't see me with the plumb line every five minutes,
holding it out, trying to very accurately judge where a horizontal is and maybe you don't
see me holding out a piece of charcoal or pencil to try to track the angle of
where the forehead as compared to the shoulder here or here,
and you might not see me holding out my pencil doing this,
I am doing all of those things visually and I want from time to time to
make sure that all of these large clear angles are as dynamic and clear as possible.
Remember the quote, the John Sargent quote, saying that the plumb line should never leave the
student’s hand. Well at a certain point
I think you start to almost be able to perceive large angles without the use of
the tool in hand, but instead sort of imagining how one angle relates to another almost
like you're looking through a visual grid of your own design.
So even though you might not see me at every moment measuring, at every moment checking
one angle against the other I am doing those things as I'm flicking my eye back
and forth between my drawing and the model.
Thank you. I am going to keep going for a second right now because even though
Aurora's getting down there's now some jobs I can do for the first time without the
model. And I was sort of imploring you during the block in process to take your
time and only work on your drawing as the model is up and you have something
to visually compare it to That said, this is just a lot of real estate,
there's a lot to cover here and if I'm going to go really dark it's going
to take me some time just working.
So I'll often spend time during breaks
if I don't need the pressure.
Right now I feel sort of in the zone and I feel concentrated.
So why not continue trying to fill in a little bit more value in the background?
If not, to start to make it black just start to make it more unified. And I don't mind
a little criss-cross pattern here and working on
the overall relationship of here to here because again,
I can always work with my brush and kind of unify the two.
Now I'm just going to step back for a moment and look at what I've created.
I want to make sure
that I'm not making the background too wild.
But I don't mind having a bit of hatching, that’s sort of my - like my handwriting
I feel comfortable with a little bit
iof ragged edges showing here and there. This is just a first pass.
Just like that concept in the Bargue where we’re
doing a sort of layer-by-layer, a glaze of tone and then we'll wait and we'll do
another sequential glaze of tone.
Please notice though by now in my drawing even though the model’s not up, we're starting
to see that flow of light concept really clearly.
It's serpentine the way it moves through the drawing and again,
although I haven't drawn this hand yet and I haven't drawn the opposing hand
I'm starting to be really pleased with the lyrical sort of language relaxed edge that this arm
has and how that relates to the neck,
which is a little bit stiffer looking off the other way.
I'm often trying to just look at my drawing as a whole and that
is best done from back here.
One thing I will tell you is that without the model up.
I'm starting to feel like the foot here is a bit small.
So that's something I want to take a look as soon as she gets back up.
There's some sort of discrepancy between the size of the feet and the size of the
head and I'm not yet sure what that is,
but the central core of the body I'm starting to feel a little bit more confident
in. Those decisions are really only to be made from back here. When I'm in my
spot I can really see the whole, my visual cone, and we talked about the visual
cone a little bit during the cast project.
If I'm standing too close,
I can only see half the drawing without moving my head to see the other half.
When I'm back here all in one go I can take it in the whole sense
of where the figure is and I can sure flick my back and forth between there
in the model, but I can also just look at it as a whole and now
is a great point for me to use my mirror and I’m gonna hold it up to my
eye and just look while I'm on break at the figure on my page.
I am not just looking at my drawing as a drawing, I’m looking at the reflection
in my mirror, looking at the drawing without the model there, and I’m asking myself the person on
the page how tall is she,
what's the gesture like, does she look like she's standing up straight,
does she have a lot of angle,
or maybe does she even look like she's falling over?
That's a bad one. And most importantly I want each of those concepts to really line
up with Aurora's body type.
And those things are sometimes best and it's best to ask yourself these questions about body
type and who this person is and whether that relates to the person that you're drawing when
the model goes down and your eye still feels fresh.
Maybe the model’s on a break when you want to keep working for a second and
I still even in the mirror
I am getting this impression like yeah,
there's something going on between that head and feet and I want to figure that out
when I can. But at this stage of the very least,
I'm happy with the flow of light and the unity
I have in the shadows from north to south, east to west, it all feels about
the same level of development.
So before she gets back up I’m gonna give myself a break and then we'll
come back and talk a little bit more about the tones
that we're developing.
This is the first time that I would say
we're sort of in a full tonal drawing.
It's still a little bit broken up.
What I would like to do is in an ideal world make this shadow, this shadow,
this shadow, this shadow, all of them the same throughout but because this drawing is kind
of in flux and I'm getting darker quickly,
I'm just trying to make sure that in those areas, that those shadows are clearly shadow
and not half tone and not an anatomical sort of high point.
One way you can think about it is first of all,
there's a physics of light right? If our light source is up there,
you know that everything that is moving away from that on every side is going to
be quite a bit darker and the shadow should only exist on the southwestern parts of
the form as they start to turn away from the light.
I know that New Masters Academy has done a lot of things about how light bounces
around, how reflected light works and how planes work. Some basic knowledge of the planes of
the figure is very helpful for to help you preempt and know where the shadows should
be. But the thing that I'm really trying to underline throughout the duration of this course
is how to work naively and how do you just use your eyes and
visual impression to help you see, in other words to not think only about where shadows
should be but to squint your eyes down as much as you can and just look
at how the impression tells you the pattern that you have.
The reason is, this serves specifically in preparation for painting.
This is not just about drawing as drawing but it's about drawing in a tonal sense with
the same rules of the hierarchy of value that you would have whether a brush was
in your hand or a piece of charcoal.
We're trying to marry those two worlds when we do projects like this.
And the important thing to remember is that each of their respective areas,
that your shadows have a clear edge and that you start to model slightly house soft or sharp
that transition is as a moves towards the lights.
We have some sense of form.
We're working in shorthand and frankly,
I would be doing this exactly the same if I was using a brush in my
hand. It would be sort of monochrome,
but I wouldn't necessarily do it all that differently.
When you're ready, Aurora? So at this stage I sort of have a lot of charcoal down all of a
sudden and the lightest lights, these spots that I keep erasing out to make sure they're
super clear there, they are becoming a little bit more contrasty.
If I reference my little dark mark down there
there's still a long way I can go. One thing that I've done that I want
to warn everybody about, not every school of drawing in the sense takes this part quite
seriously, but I find it very useful to not leave a bright white edge in between
your subject and our model. What I want is to be able to flick my eyes back
and forth seamlessly and in doing so as I'm filling in the background,
I always want to make sure to pull it over to the edge
as much as I can.
I just don't want to get the eye caught in this area unnecessarily.
So for me to have this clean flick the eye back and forth transition,
I will always be working all the way up to that edge.
And even like that it's starting to get a little better.
I'm going to give one more pass across with a charcoal just to show you what
I mean. Notice also I had to step back there to make the judgment. When I'm
up here I get caught up in a little corner of the drawing that I'm working
on. So I'm always trying to force myself back to the observation point back there so
I can view the whole drawing at once and see whether I'm getting a clear pass
for my eye. You might remember this is exactly the same way
we're trying to do the backgrounds for the cast drawings.
Just that clean clean rite of passage for your eye back and forth.
Of course, I could have done this when the model was on break
but I wanted to take a minute with the model up to show you how important
I think that is. Here we go, got this light spot
I made here by accident.
Do you see the difference between this lower half and here that it sort of feels like
she has almost like an outline around here,
but down here it's starting to feel like clean passage.
Even though I'm nowhere near as dark as my darkest mark here,
that at least gives me a very clean approach so I can just flick my eye back and
forth easily. That's much better.
I hope you can get a sense of how incremental some of the changes
I'm making, that these are very small adjustments here.
However, they're starting to make a big difference in terms of body type and our sense
of weight in the pose. Ankle to ankle. Sort of at an angle this way.
Little exaggerated what I have there. Notice periodically now I'm using my finger a little bit because
I'm really cautious initially not to touch my drawing with my palm of the hand.
Your hand has heard of natural oils with that that are
frankly a bit of a nightmare. If you touch a bit of charcoal it’s
going to make it impossible to erase.
But now that I know where my lighter spots are
I have the freedom to know that this is sort of 85%, 90% sure that's where
it is. So if I get a stain there,
I know I don't need a bright white piece of paper in that area.
Okay, this piece of charcoal has become too blunt to work with. As I showed you
guys before I like sharpening when I'm not doing detail work
I sharpen it only on two sides,
but as you can see this has got really worn down from work on the background
so that I'm going to throw into my to sharpen pile just like the cast.
And I want to try to find a nice clean sharp one.
Again, sharpen on two sides. So as one point,
wears down I always have that other point afterwards to work with. I can draw along
this edge to get a really really fine mark like that or if I don't
particularly care I can make a soft mark with a flat or point.
At the school in Florence all the students would arrive
as early as possible to sharpen their tools every day before the model got there.
As you can see I'm not really wasting time ever sharpening charcoal while the model’s up.
And if you guys weren't here I would not be
filling in the background while the model’s up.
I would want to take every moment possible to just work on that impression and the
form. However, I think it's important to just talk about remembering to put your tools down
as they get blunt. Again I'm just trying to place where the big toe is
in relationship to the ankle.
This actually comes slightly further out.
Again, I start working on an area,
pull it ahead a bit, look at what else I can do in another area, see something pops
out at me is not correct and immediately jump somewhere else.
And if you feel yourself
getting bogged down in one area
don't worry it's like totally normal.
That's what your eye wants you to do is just work on something until you feel
satisfied. It takes a lot of training and reminding yourself to always know to jump at
whatever is furthest behind. This is the same way that I work on my paintings.
This is the same way that I work on portrait commissions.
This is the same way that I would do really any project where accuracy is of
the highest importance. I liken it to building a structure. As I said before we made
a foundation or we’re making a table but the legs are still a little wobbly and all
we want to do is start tightening it up
so we got to really really solid impression bit by bit.
I noticed I have the pubic area just a touch wide.
I'm looking at my center line and I want to make sure I don't pull things
over too far to actually break
the gesture. So I'm going to guess it's here
more than the other side.
When I squint I'm noticing that the background and the hair
are basically the same value, there's almost no difference between the two. And the hair and
the shadow in the face aren't too far apart either.
So there’s a really long continuing shape all through there and that's what I'm working on right now,
trying to get that same sense of unity through that smaller area of the head. I'm going
to switch to a harder charcoal. Remember these come in a variety of different hardnesses and
you see as I'm using a soft charcoal it sort of stays on the surface of the
paper and I have to use the brush or a stump or my finger
just to get it to unify a little bit more.
I’m gonna switch to the HB charcoal now,
I think you guys will see
quite a big difference with how it - because of Roma paper has that texture, it can be
slightly distracting to - like it was with the B charcoal before - a little bit too grainy
looking. I always switch to a harder charcoal when I want to start a push it
into the texture of the paper.
And this will help me get the value impression of my drawing a little stronger.
Let me keep working on the background for a minute while the model steps down.
This is a nice opportunity for me to just focus on the unity of my drawing.
All right. Take a break for a minute.
my eyes are so much better attuned because I'm starting to see it the way
my eye sees. That impression is becoming a lot more clear and I flip my eye
back and forth the flash is happening a little bit more distinctly.
And up until now I’ve grabbed my kneaded eraser whenever I need to make a adjustment
of any type, but I'm just going over stuff so many times if I'm erasing
it doesn't quite pick up every thing.
I really like having a second eraser on hand, just like for the other projects one
of these white erasers just cleans up the paper so much more and it's a really
useful tool for something like raising the center of the body, just raising the pubic area
slightly. Because if you notice previously with it down here,
I was almost across from this point right here.
And what I want is just like on her to get that angle that exists here.
Again, I'm always looking at the opposing form on the other side
of a limb or really any part of the figure. So one of these is invaluable
to me at this later stage of the drawing. If I need to clean up a
light shape, if I need to really remove something.
I don't want to use it all day long because it's a dusty eraser unlike my
nice clean kneaded eraser. But it's really a great use in cleaning up little errors like
that. I hope it’s starting to make sense to you that
I am continually making changes.
My goal is not just to do a figure drawing.
This isn't that. I am trying to use the pose that’s in front of me to create
the most beautiful rendition of exactly what's there as possible.
So let’s step back and take a look now.
Move this ever so slightly. And this is interesting, here’s something I can show you clearly. Now that I've raised the pubic area
ever-so-slightly, shortening her torso,
now her upper leg seems a little long.
I had it compensated for the knee and that low pubic area
so now I actually need to raise this
in order to get that division
correct. And this is what's nice about the sight-size technique, as I am moving throughout the
drawing, moving one piece to another I'm trying to keep them all in correlation.
That is I'm not just changing one thing without every other piece of the drawing
being considered. Like dominoes falling that effect can affect this, can affect this, and certainly can
affect the upper portion of the model as well.
Frankly, this stage is where the Bargue drawings start to become so helpful.
I have a nice flat shadow and at this point I start to manipulate the edge
in one area and another.
Where something appears sharp
I'll make it sharp. And if something appears softer,
I'll start to soften it.
This really creates a nice shorthand for form modeling.
But I want to underline the importance of doing it after
designing the edge of the shape itself. In other words, to not just jump in to modeling
the edges right away, but first design the overall impression that it might have.
Right now this negative shape’s even more open.
I hope you can see that as I've raised the pubic area and I've observed this
angle to the hip again,
that means I have the hand placed in relation to those things.
So I'd had the sneaking suspicion that her hands, the forearm,
were just placed slightly low.
And this gives me an opportunity
to address that. Coming back to that flow of light concept,
although there are lights down here in the legs because of the fall off that's happening
from our light source way up high coming down,
all of our brightest lights are concentrated in the upper two thirds of the figure.
If you're familiar with Harold Speed,
he wrote an excellent book on drawing and a really wonderful book on portrait painting as well.
He refers to that light fall-off thing in the head, that as painting an apple that
before you paint the individual forms within something to try to approach that flow of light
within it. It's an approximation of what the light is doing that will only help you
be able to see more accurately.
And again we’re coming towards the end of the day
so I really want to make sure
that my work is well prepared for the next day's work.
We would often spend 40 hours on one of these drawings, really significant amounts of time.
So in doing so you learn how to pace yourself for whatever time period
you're allowed. As I'm working
I'm thinking about how far I want to push this and making sure at the end
of the day that I've worked just a little bit further to my goal,
that I'm not trying to do my finishing work anywhere near today.
I'm sure later you'll see what I mean by that.
Just general landmarks for where the knuckles will go.
And where the sort of bridge of the hand
will be. I'm going to ask myself what is furthest behind? Now that I've done a
little bit of that fall off of light down here at the lower half of the
figure and I've worked my way through some of my shadow edges and made some softer
and sharper marks, the head is starting to be the furthest thing behind.
So the last thing I want to do today is
try to pull that forward just a little bit more.
Again, I'm not just falling -
following, excuse me - from one thing to the next, trying to work on the next thing
that interests me. I am instead
thinking about that first impression
I will get when I see my work tomorrow morning.
This is again the auto criticism concept.
At the Florence Academy when I was teaching I would make great effort to describe to
people how difficult it is to catch yourself
making clear errors and by working responsibly and slowly, you won't catch yourself as often
unsure whether something is going well or poorly.
Again, like the cast project
I'm trying to keep my shadow information completely flat.
Remember the Edmund Tarbell quote, shadows are to be kept flat as a hat and flatter
than that. And that's sort of sending he’d repeat to students to indicate how important this
flat shadow concept really is. We don't fold our hats flat anymore,
but I think everybody understands the reference.
I'm going through and softening and sharpening
anything I see that is obvious.
This is one of the reasons why I think it's so important to start off with
really straight, clear lines. Thank you,
Aurora. As you can see now I'm getting into all the fullnesses in the arm
and the relationship of one fullness to another in the leg.
We don't want to start off with these things overstated, kind of lumps and bumps.
We talked about during both the Bargue and cast project that we have a tendency to exaggerate curves
and this is precisely what we're trying to avoid doing in this project.
Now, each of these little areas are getting broken down into smaller and smaller units and
we're starting to up to bring our focus closer on smaller bits of the figure.
This is as far as I would like to push it today not because there isn't
more work to do it because we have a nice unified look to our drawing and
that when I come back tomorrow with my very fresh
eye, I can start to think truly about tone.
This is going to start to become more of an issue tomorrow.
Although I've gone a lot darker,
I'm nowhere near darkest and I want to try to push as much contrast into
this as possible so we start to get some light effect and form out of the
drawing. But consider this like a very developed block in, right?
This is as far as I would want to push it before I start really considering
what my value key will be. And we'll discuss the value key more tomorrow just like
we did on the first and second plaster cast.
of work at the end of the last session, we started moving in the space between
a line drawing and a tonal drawing, we have now contrast,
can really perceive the overall light shape of the figure and we've even started to introduce
some of our half tones just like in cast drawing we sort of waited until the large
shadow pattern was clear, until the contour was clear and now we're starting to break it
into greater hierarchy. However, there are some discrepancies still especially tonally and today we're going to
start to work on this a little bit more
as a tonal drawing. Now,
if you notice the first thing I was doing when I came in is just sharpening charcoal.
It seems obvious that you need sharp tools,
but because charcoal wears down so unevenly and so quickly, particularly the really sharp pieces that
I've been making, you need to sort of remind yourself to take care of your materials and
I'd like to I think underline that point for everybody at home watching this, the better
you take care of your materials,
the easier it is to do some of the stuff. A blunt tool will always make
a blunt line and you know,
this is something with almost surgical precision. The lesson
I hope you took away from the Bargue drawing is the incredible worth of a millimeter.
A single millimeter in one area or another and make the difference between something really
almost there and really starting to lock in the figures the same way.
A what will do today - Aurora are you ready?
We’re gonna wait for the model to get up.
And the first thing I'm going to do
I want to look at the drawing
of course. Let me give you sort of three quick bullet points.
We talked about this on the cast,
but I also want to make sure we are doing it here.
Our very first order of business every morning or every afternoon when you see it with
your fresh eye, our very first order of business is always to look at the drawing
and design of your drawing, your painting, whatever it is if we are working multi-session your
first really 15 minutes of the day are when your eye is going to be sharpest and
freshest and you'll see things the clearest. After you've adjusted the drawing anywhere,
that's the next priority, the next thing of order is the tonality of it. How dark
things need to be, whether something is over modeled or under modeled, looks flat or round,
whatever it is.
That's of slightly less priority to me than fixing the drawing and design.
And it's only after adjusting those two things that I'll do anything technically related, that I
would deal with color if it was a painting. So I'm grabbing my B charcoal and
I'm going to step back to my spot.
And the first thing I’m going to look at is if there's any glaring drawing stuff,
but I also want to start talking to you today about tonal issues. As I look
my back and forth and flicking my eye between the two, I'm looking at nature, I’m looking at
my drawing and look at nature and look at my drawing.
Now sure right now not only is my eye fresher but our model is also a
little more relaxed at this time of the day and I'll be whatever difficulties this pose
is giving the model, they're not as pronounced at the beginning. So often this is a
really good time to check the gesture of the pose also.
As you can sort of see right now,
her shoulders are a little bit more inclined than I have in my drawing.
The hips are starting to lock in but I do think still her left leg,
the one that's on our right, right here, looks a little bit wide on the thigh.
Yeah, and even the other thigh sort of right in there,
I'm not entirely sure that's what - but I'm happy with the hips and the
construction of the shoulders and the armpit looks okay.
I'm just going to consider what to do, whether I want to add more gesture or
not I will think about. I do think I have her head just at the border of
being large for her body too.
So I'm going to do what I can to scale that down today.
So that's kind of my laundry list of changes that I'm thinking about, the things
that stick out to me with my fresh eye today.
But there's something new that we haven't discussed yet because this is moving into being a
tonal drawing. The big thing is my contrast in my pose is actually backwards.
I have dark shadows on a sort of gray background as if she was standing on
a light gray background, but her background in nature is so much darker than the shadow
in some places and in other places is almost exactly the same value. So the first thing
I want to do is only do a couple patches of something a bit darker to
compare it to and now we're starting to move into a stage of the drawing that
we will call, just like in the cast, keying. And to find the value key
we need to find the few things up there
that really are as black as that little spot right there.
So what's really dark? Well
underneath the foot. But also really the entire background on the left side,
there's some light to it.
but I'm going to go ahead and sort fill this in a little bit more.
It’s also very dark in here,
isn't it? It’s definitely dark over here.
And sure this whole background
Is very black but I want to start with a few areas, a few important areas
that will help me the key the overall drawing.
This charcoal after working for just those minutes is so blunt.
It's useless to me. This is going on my reject pile and pick up a new
piece. I could certainly start going and filling it all in but I want to build
these tones up a little bit slowly.
So I'm just going to unify each of these dark marks a little bit
with my brush. And you can use a stump for this as well.
But now at a minimum we are starting to view the
background as our darkest part of the drawing. Okay,
my next order of business.
And now that I have more contrast by the way,
the size of the head is starting to bug me a little bit more.
I’ll fill it in just a bit more around the head so I can see
the contrast. I don't want to deal with all this background stuff while the model’s up.
I'm starting to feel like I'm wasting
Aurora's time as well as my own.
But what I want to do is start going through the figure and finding a few
spots that are nearly as dark as the background.
So many of our shadows will get darker today.
In the pubic area there's always going to be some of our darker
shadows but we're going to keep each shadow at essentially the same degree of contrast
while we're working. Again too blunt for me now.
I grab another slightly harder HB charcoal,
but I'm going to keep switching between them. And that's why you caught me at the
beginning sharpening charcoal before the model got up.
I just want it all ready to go, pick up another piece so I don't have
to stop and sharpen throughout the session. The Florence Academy of Art while I was a
student, if the model session was to start at 9 a.m.
everyone would have tried to arrive by 8:30 just to start sharpening charcoal and get everything
set up for your day.
For the first time I'm picking up my H charcoal.
Just like the Bargue project,
I don't mind if I have some sort of scratchy
hatch marks and lines running through it.
I can always use my softer tools underneath harder tools.
And the switching between them naturally
starts to give me a nice atmospheric
final value. As you can see now that I've spent all this time sort of designing
these shapes, now I'm just pushing shapes around.
I'm making one darker, making the other one darker, if it looks too light next to
it I'm starting to darken a piece of a shape and leave
another part, perhaps this half tone.
So I'm pushing and pulling on the values that I've created.
Grab my brush again, I don't want to remove too much tone,
but I just want to keep on unifying everything so we don't break up one piece
relative to its neighbors. Got her deltoid a little big here.
Bring that in. For the first time I smudged my paper in a spot I didn't
want. Keep account of your hands as you're working too.
I sometimes use a mahl stick,
but for this stage in the drawing when I'm not doing finishing work I can
just be conscious about where I'm putting my hand and you do need to keep on
washing your hands on breaks and making sure you don't stain your drawing.
I can grab even one of these blunt pieces and use those for filling in some
of the background where I don't need to be
as precise. And then just move to unify it a little. And I'm really trying to draw like a
painter. I'm trying to look at something and go here
I can go darker, here
I can go lighter. I'm trying to not again get caught in any one
particular area for too long.
And to listen carefully to my drawing to let my drawing tell me what to work on next
rather than whatever I might want to work on.
So even though the model’s getting down for a break
I want to keep talking to you guys for a moment.
So here's a couple things to keep in mind because I'm really pushing hard on this
drawing right now to move It from it's previous stage to something a little bit
more optically, correct. Here's the issue.
The black that we have that we can do with charcoal is not as black as
what we see in nature and the white of our paper often isn't as light
as what you see there.
This is just a simple
9 color value scale and I would really strongly recommend to you guys or whatever paper,
whatever materials you’re using, try to break them into 9 clear steps from darkest to lightest
and to try to have an even sense of contrast between one step and the other.
And I know we talked about this a little bit before but remember that concept of
passing your eye across and seeing where it gets caught. Right now the steps between these
two are just a little bit abrupt, my eye gets caught on that line,
which tells me that there is just a little bit too much contrast there.
This is one of our first practices in learning to recognize a a jarring note where
we see one. Everybody knows this concept in music.
If you hear somebody play the piano and there's a note that's way out of tune,
you don't need any educational music whatsoever to pick up on the fact that it sounds
grating. However, in traditional painting drawing techniques,
you need to be more at the level of somebody that it already sounds good, the
piano that's being played to most people, there's nothing obviously jarring about it
but you start to develop a more subtle sense of where those jarring notes are.
This is as black as I can go.
And if you compare that to the black out there in the background,
I'm pretty sure even with the camera you're going to be able to pick up the
this is lighter than that is.
And although this is just white paper.
And the white paper is pretty white,
it's a little bit cream-colored ever-so-slightly,
but it's a white paper.
That's not going to be as light as the highlight here or here in the sternum
or the one on her cheek bone.
So this is - remember the concept of value compression.
Value compression is really one of the central concepts to the training that I received as
a student, that we do not just try to copy on our page what we see
in nature, but we try to work within the parameters within the light to dark notes
that we can make based on our materials,
right? So that's as dark as I can go,
that's as light as I can go, and there really isn't anything else.
So what we are going to try to remember is that in order to make this
seem light here, we will need to go darker everywhere else.
And in fact, sometimes we will need to go darker than we initially perceive in order
to be able to get as much contrast in our work is possible.
And this is a great exercise to prepare you for working in white chalk on grey
paper. It is a great exercise to prepare you for painting because the problem in painting
is of course, if you go outside to paint a landscape,
you can't mix something as light as the sky. It all becomes more obvious at that point
when you're working in color,
but here in the figure everybody has this concept they can just copy
what’s there. I'm instead going to ask you to try to key your work just like
the cast, figure out what your darkest values are, and then work in accordance to that.
Does that make sense? I hope it does. I’m gonna put this down for a moment.
So we need to keep in mind
that if we're going that black throughout here, that's going to darken a lot of the
shadows. These halftones they were starting to look dark yesterday.
Well those don't look that dark anymore.
I darkened this a lot.
But if I darken that more or a darken this more these, will need to
darken also. The important thing is that we start moving our values in tandem that
we are moving them together like a game of chess.
If you move one piece,
everything else will need to move to support it and this is just like that.
So I'm going to take a break for a minute also,
just to rest my eye.
So I have as fresh as an eye as possible when I come back,
but this is our first foray into real strong contrast tonal drawing and I'm sure it
looked a little bit shocking as a started putting down these really dark darks and pushing
stuff around, but because I know I am working within the value key of my
charcoal to the value of my paper,
I know that I will need to compress values.
So again value compression is the perhaps biggest concept to really start to take hold of in
the stage. So we know some things will have to go darker in order to make
other things seem lighter.
I want you to know that pretty much every time I’m taking break at this
stage I'm washing my hands and I'm trying to be aware that I'm not getting charcoal -
I mean, I don't really care if I got charcoal on myself,
but I prefer not to and prefer to work cleanly.
What I'm really concerned about is if I get charcoal in my lightest lights and if I
stain in the paper because we're working with that value compression concept to my contrast between
that darkest thing and the lightest thing, which is the paper, is of paramount importance.
So before we get started with the model again,
I just wanted to take really like two minutes to remind you that the model, their
time is really valuable and your time with the model is valuable. A project like this
might take you - well at the school in Florence
we would spend five weeks five days a week three hours a day on a project
like this. So your time is extended but still incredibly valuable.
What I would do during a break is remind myself to unify things. In fact I want to write that in the corner
today. See if this was a soft enough one.
When I was a student,
I often had this written
in the corner of my drawing board just to remind myself of that concept during every
break and at the beginning of every session.
What was I saying is helpful to me, well remember that clean passage for the eye
of the sort of aura around the model. I’m gonna grab a softer charcoal and
I can just even use the side of it.
Oh great and the model’s almost done with her break too.
And this is really enough for me to not have that super dark spot.
Yeah, I'm ready. Thank you.
This little mark here is from the watermark of the paper.
You'll see that in a lot of the charcoal drawings from the Florence Academy or even
any of the other schools that use Roma paper.
You'll pick up a little bit of that watermark from time to time.
I really like it. I'm used to it. But in case you were wondering at home
what that is, it's just the watermark that's on the other side of the paper coming
through it. If you don't like it it's easy to sort of unify that too. So we now have a super
clear contrast between our model and background and nature.
So this is starting to get a little bit easier on the eyes.
I haven't gone anywhere near dark enough down here in the background, on the other side
here, but the shoulders and even part of the head is starting to work contextually between
me and the model. So what is the name of the game today,
the thing that I am really trying to remind myself of as I am working?
It's this concept of unity that I wrote up here and I'm not kidding
I would really write that on my drawing boards because if we get tempted to work
on one piece at a time often we'll break the overall impression.
We will break our - how
should I say - our impression, our
sense of the whole. Okay,
that's you can sort of draw a line under that one too, sense of the whole.
That I want that overall
look of the whole to be the most important thing to me as I am inevitable
working on just one piece at a time.
I want to make sure that if I'm working on this corner,
I am relating it to us here.
This has gotten further ahead than this has in the head has, so my drawing is
dictating to me what I should work on next.
When I squint the cast shadow on the leg -
and you might remember this concept from our plaster cast -
well that's just a nice
open shape from there all the way into there. That just starts to connect.
Again, unifying the shadows. This has gotten broken up.
I have this very dark and this very light
but when I squint my eye they are basically the same.
Again unifying that. Unifying that. Let me point something else out to you, remember this halftone
that I did yesterday in the legs and it looks kind of dark you can almost
not even see it now.
In this keying stage we are trying to achieve our final contrast
not just finish it within whatever contrast I have on my page at that time.
I have this nice and dark,
but this slight cast shadow from the hand I want to push that too.
I grabbed my little more
stumpy piece of charcoal. You will notice that there is kind of pieces of charcoal you’ll
use for the background and ones you’ll use for
more sensitive work. Here we go. This is starting to be more similar to this now and that's
been my goal. Now because charcoal is a dusty medium, and for those of you watching at home,
I'm not sure if the camera can pick this up with enough sort of precision to
the dust that's coming off but there’s almost wisps of charcoal coming off at
a time and because of that my paper is starting get dirty
and some of my edges are starting to get really soft.
These edges that I worked so hard to draw with precision earlier are starting to
become a little bit generalized so this is not the job that I'm going to do
now, but what I want to remind you that I will be doing and you can
remind me of that too is that I will need to re-establish my contour and get
that very intricate edge to everything
back into focus at some point.
But for now, that's slightly softer
look if anything is an advantage.
Specific but soft. See that dust that just came along that edge,
that's okay at this stage. You might remember that I have this hand a little too low
at one point. I just want to double and triple check that.
Down here the background is definitely darker than the shadow.
I'm going to create that for now,
that sense of contrast. In some spots, like up here,
the two are almost the same value.
I might lose that edge if I want to. Here
I have a clear one,
so I want to make sure.
I'm okay. I just made her leg a little too
wide also. If you lose the drawing in an area like I just did, take
your time to re-establish. I'm looking hand-to-hand,
I'm relating the hand to the navel to the pubic area to the knee.
I do think I have it just a hair low so I just bring it up just
a little bit and I immediately start to feel better. It’s time to start work on the head.
Just put on a bit of half tone along the jaw line on
her cheek. What I’m gonna start to do is
get that shadow back in. Again,
none of this in here is as light as the light on her chest,
right here on the sternum and maybe even over here.
There's a lot of light this is probably brighter than that is really facing up at
our light source. So I don't mind
getting a bit of halftone everywhere here.
That's now too dull to use.
Even this is dull. I'm a switch to a sharper HB.
Perfect. I’m sort ignoring a lot of information in the eye. I'm just leaving the eyelid
a little bit lighter. And unifying the shadow from her trapezius right up into the head,
one continuous, unified shape. And I don't mind if I get this a little bit dirty
over here because this arm is not as light as this. That's why I'm starting using
that as a bracing point for my finger as I’m drawing.
There’s a highlight here on
her forehead. There's another highlight here on zygomat.
Periodically, I'm just - because everything so dusty,
right, because as I'm working with a charcoal sort of furiously and I'm working with the
brush moving back and forth,
everything is getting infected. I want to just for a minute -
and I hope you can see this clearly -
I’m gonna clean my lights. So really nice pristine paper
where my highlights will go.
Here in the clavicle there's a highlight so I’m gonna bring that up.
Yeah look at that.
Bit of a difference. There’s even a bit of highlight here.
Certainly up here. Yeah look at that.
I hope you guys at home probably, maybe can see that there's a very subtle contrast
between here and here and we’re going to start using this wispy and dustiness of the
charcoal to our advantage that it will naturally, as we're working furiously across the paper, it'll
start to infect some of the areas of the drawing and then we'll just continue to
clean our lightest lights as necessary.
See how I’m crisping up that contour a little bit getting, snapping back into focus just a little bit.
In the head I’m really trying to forget about eyes, nose, and mouth and just drive
this unified pattern, continue to design the head on the shoulders rather than independent of the
shoulders. Remember what I said earlier,
not on this project but we started to talk about this on the Bargue, we did the cast as well.
In English we call this an eraser but it's not really just for erasing.
I prefer thinking of this as a drawing tool as useful to me is my charcoal.
Sometimes I am pushing around and shifting what is already on my page, on my paper
with this, persuading it right where I want to go.
So yeah, not just an eraser,
but maybe my most important drawing tool as well.
I’m gonna take a break if the model’s getting down.
we need to maintain our materials as we are doing this.
I've been drawing fast and furious, just racing to get stuff down, and basically all of
my charcoal is too blunt to use.
So I'm sharpening an H charcoal to a point right now
so we have a really nice tool for all of our detail work.
This is starting to get pretty sharp.
It's almost there. Remember, I'm always sort of tapping off the dust.
There we go, beautiful. So now we have a nice point on there.
That's a really nice point. It’s a little wider on one side , I’m gonna get it
just like a needle. Perfect. I’m going to do an HB also,
so I have it ready to go.
The softer the charcoal is, the less time it usually takes to sharpen. It takes less effort
to work through it the softer and materialized is. it’s eally only my H’s,
my hardest charcoal that I'll sharpen like a point.
The HB I sharpen more flat on one side.
But whatever you like to do is really fine.
What is of the paramount sort of importance
is it we have really sharp tools to work with at this stage.
And this is like really best done during a break. Aurora, our model, has been so generous to
give us all the time
we need to do the drawing but there's no sense in wasting time,
especially if you're paying model fees to do the project.
You have to remember to sort of take care of your stuff at all the moments
that you can. EWven though
I sharpened every piece of charcoal I had this morning before the model went
up when I came in it's still not enough.
You just need to remind yourself constantly that you are using the right tool for the
job. I know that the chefs that I know, the people that cook professionally, are meticulous
about their knives and their cutting stations and how they place everything that they're working with.
And your studio can be as messy or neat as your personality is but your tools
have to always be appropriate for your job.
I think early. Are you ready?
Cool, Aurora will you twist your hips just ever-so-slightly, the other way actually, that's even -
actually that's perfect. Just like that.
Remember as I'm correcting the model,
I'm looking at the distance from her navel to the outside of the body.
I'm looking at the sternum, I’m looking at the pit of the neck.
My nice sharp tool gets right into the texture of the paper.
Before our break if you remember I just started to re-establish that contour but now that
I've gone back and again darkened the background
my shadow seems too light there,
doesn't it? It's so obvious when we look at the model that especially in the image
here this is a lost edge.
You can just make out where her arm is,
but you can't even see so clearly where everything ends and what we want is to
create that same feeling of a lost edge and are drawing without. I find personally very elegant,
I think it off since some of the tensions in the pose really nicely. When we're
trying to set up rhythm and gesture
it's always good to find what is a languid and then find what is tight. In
this case I really like this languid line.
I would not like to lose it entirely,
but I do want to unify it again a little bit more.
Did you see that I just turned the charcoal in my hand. I'm trying to turn it to the
sharpest side of it. The Roma paper has a bit of texture and the reason why
my teachers insisted that this was the right paper for charcoal drawing is because all that
surface texture makes it possible to build up all this myriad of value and tone that
on a different paper would just you know start to come apart like a sweater.
That kind of fuzzy, less
clean surface that you would get after working as roughly as we have. So all
that surface area both make some more resilient paper
and it's just more little nooks and crannies and hills and valleys for the charcoal to
stick to. And why am I working
on the shoulder, the upper arm, and the forearm when
I was just worried about the head?
Well these shapes connect, right?
This is a long, interconnected area of the pose. I want to make sure switching now
to my H charcoal, I want to make sure that when they connect it is a
unified and elegant of a shape as possible.
I really like the light on her shoulder
right now. And notice as I'm darkening a shadow,
a line that was soft before now looks too sharp because of the contrast between
here and here. I want to point out that I've avoided drawings some of the particulars of
the anatomy. I have not drawn nipples or a mouth or an ear.
I’ve only tried to place where those things go.
I'm trying to get sort of the big forms set up before I do any of
the details within it. People, as they are drawing, get very attracted to whatever surface anatomy
is obvious, but the adage that I always tell students and I think you can try
to remember while you're watching this pretty clearly, is that we work from large to small, from
general to specific. So where I’ve placed
her hips has to do with where I place her shoulders and where I place her
shoulders has to do with where I place her head.
They are all interconnected. And this concept of developing the whole and being subservient to nature and
what nature is doing and what options nature is giving us very much goes back
to the Boston School painters Ned Tarbell, Frank Benson, William McGregor Paxton, Phil Hale, Lillian Hale.
There's just an endless list
of these academically trained American impressionist painters who not only worked but really preached and
taught this sense of developing
the whole has primary importance in
their own work and then their student’s. Notice I touched with my kneaded eraser very lightly
and I did not erase all the way to paper.
There is a slight tonal difference between here and here I want to lighten up,
but I don't want to go pure white unless I absolutely intend to. If you need to
lighten something very carefully, and it sounds sort of funny,
but let’s say I want to take just a little bit of charcoal off,
breathe on it just a little bit.
That then gives you the ability to work darker if you need to in an adjacent area.
Okay. I'm sort of feeling again like we've gone
as a full pass over the figure and we have a fair bit of detail in
the head. It’s certainly not finished,
but it is coming along.
My attention’s getting cold again to lower half of the drawing. How bright these legs are is
starting to feel slightly distracting to the flow of light overall.
I hope that it's obvious also to you when you look at the drawing that this
upper body is not yet brilliant
and shining. So although these tones we put here yesterday,
is anything they look dark but that was within the context of the lighter background,
now that we’ve gone darker and more contrasty everywhere else,
let's see what feels like the sweet spot now.
This already needs to be resharpened.
With almost no pressure on my charcoal -
this is an H charcoal sharped very sharp.
I'm just rubbing it quickly
back and forth across the form, getting the white off the page.
Here, I'm going to go all the way across both legs because it can all receive
a little glaze of tone.
Notice after going this way
I'm sort of switching the direction. I don’t want to create unnecessary hatching.
I do like hatch marks.
I like surface texture, but certainly not on subtle form.
This is starting to look dark well watch what happens
when I lay the background next to it again.
Now was that too dark? No, if anything
we can push on this a little bit more.
Step back to my spot.
This that looked dark before now looks too light. Haven't really dealt with the design of the
hands or feet much yet
so I'm just starting to look at that.
Just made the hand slightly too small through here, persuade it back
into shape. If some of my mark-making looks just a little bit scratchy sometimes -
great - ’is enough to pass over it and then remember to go sort of in another
direction or something to just even that out.
I just washed my hands again.
I joke with people that I wash my hands like a doctor. Whether I'm painting or
I'm drawing, I really try to keep my hands as clean as possible.
And I remember before I went to the Florence Academy, when I was in art school
people would sort of wear charcoal on their face and all over their hands like a
badge of honor. And you can do whatever you want,
right, you can be as messy or as neat as you want to be. But as
much as my tools are instruments,
so are my hands that I'm drawing and painting with so at basically every break I
am just cleaning up and making sure I don't smudge my work.
Are you ready? Seeing a couple drawing mistakes in the legs now.
When you do have to sharpen charcoal with the model up
it’s nice to step back for a minute
sort of meditate on the work you need to do.
Trying to remind myself that even though her torso is so bright,
her hips are really sort of leaning back.
There's a lot of arch to her spine.
And even though we're looking at a front pose,
I'm still trying to imagine that arch of the spine and where sacrum is,
and make sure that I sort of twist
this bit of my drawing so it really feels like it's moving back in space.
Now observing a few more half tone shapes. There’s like a wad of bright spot is right there on
the high point underneath the navel.
That means that this gets slightly
darker, a little treatment charcoal to start to make the underside of the belly button
get that feeling of light.
I keep looking at the cast shadow
that's coming across from her arm and hand when her arm swings forward like that.
It’s a big cast shadow but I do like a softness
it gives to the leg. So for starters
I'm just going to hint at it while I mow over whether or not I want
A cast shadow on that place.
When I say something like that,
I'm trying to make the point I am
still designing the pose. I am not locked in to every particular yet and
everything that I'm trying to do is to serve the light effect
and to try to bathe the upper half of the drawing and light so it feels like
it's falling. And like there's almost this spotlight effect
on the focal areas of the pose. Cast shadows, speaking about this cast shadow immediately made me start to
think about the other cast shadows in the pose.
The cast shadows underneath the breast have to be sharp and sharpest closest to whatever is casting
it, right, so I wanna make sure
I have a real nice to defined edge on my shadow line there,
which will then help me soften a
slow turn of form up here. When I'm looking at the light here, all of this arm is a
little bit darker, so I'm just going to go ahead and take that down a step.
Sometimes when I'm hatching I'll put a few lines to sort of indicate
the direction a plane is moving, here across that way, here across this way, here across
this way. It's sort of like a visual
shorthand for some of the changes we’ll be making. The highlight’s only up here
so everything else can come down in value.
And down a reminder, I'm always talk about bringing things up in value, making them lighter,
bring them down in value, trying to compress them or unify them
with something else. Again, we are only sort of focusing on that visual impression. Even though
the background’s very black everywhere,
I do want to give the sense of this is a ground plane.
Meaning in here will be darker than this flat plane and surface she’s standing on and
again get darker. As I’m working on the feet
I just realized I need
there to be some sense of a surface for her to stand on as well.
And I hope that makes sense and that little change there is incremental but enough that
it gives a clear sense of the podium also.
I can even be fancy and I feel fancy sometimes so I'll put some cash shadow,
start gesturing at this larger shape that's here
from the spot. And now that I've got a little bit of light here,
can indicate that ankle with a little bit more precision. Excellent. Little pushes and pulls, bring one value
down and the other one up.
Sharpening edge where I see them need to be sharper.
Softening them if I see they need to be softer.
Darker over there. Trying to create as fluid of emotion through
the head and shoulders as I can and that's why I didn't rush
to put her features in so I felt like I had everything kind of placed.
And tomorrow will be my times really making a final decision about what to do
for the smaller forms of the body,
But the big forms are starting to work. The center line, which was sort of my first
day of work, right? It’s tarting to feel well connected in some clear planar sense.
Coming out in space, going back into space.
Grabbing my B charcoal where I need a darker accent.
Alright let’s take a break for a moment.
I am focused at the end of the day on preparing my work for the next
day. Not just trying to finish my drawing
however I think it should be done.
I'm trying to get it so that when I have my superpower of my fresh eye
tomorrow, and I really can quickly see information,
I have it ready to go.
So I want to make sure all of my shadows
are at the same value.
I'm actually becoming conscious at the end of the day today to make sure that I
only have paper where I'm going to want my lightest highlights.
I'm still nudging shapes around.
It's only after these hours of work
that I started to feel comfortable going into smaller forms like that ear.
I had a suspicion it was too big yesterday.
but I first really wanted to get the rest of the head set up. I haven't
needed my mahl stick up until this point because I've been comfortable letting any part of
my drawing that needs to get a
little dirty I can just stick my finger
wherever I need and sort of work strategically.
I'm starting to think tomorrow
I'm going to bring out my mahl stick though.
A few hatch marks here and there go a long way to help me to
describe the fleshiness of the form, that
this is pulling this way or that.
This comes down to personal taste
also, I like some evidence of hatching.
I'd like a little bit of graphic notes in my drawing like I’ve done here in
the background. If your taste is to work more clean,
that really doesn’t change anything. Starting to feel a little over modeled, all these dark and
light notes I can just glaze right over it. Unify it and pull it together. This leg’s
slightly smaller than I have.
Just pushing shapes around until it starts to lock in.
Remember always to put down a piece of charcoal.
As it gets blunt it's less useful.
Noticed these lines I was putting down,
it's nice for a moment
they were thick. Not too much.
Back to my H. Indicating some sharper cast shadows but then make the softer form shadows
turn. Although I like that lost edge there,
I do have to re-establish it from time to time
just to make sure I don't lose the confines of her hip there.
And I do work with my eraser whenever I kind of just pick something up a little
bit. I only ever use my finger
as a stump in spots that I know I won't need white paper.
A few sharper marks to annotate where the gaze is.
It's really going to help.
Notice, I haven't done anything
in the shadow side of the face,
and I don't know if I will.
Just like the plaster cast project we are
focusing all of our attention, the focal area, our effort and form all in the lights and
trying to use the pattern of the shadow to support it.
To not look within the shadow but
to look at it as a flat shape.
From time to time I just pull up
the hand slightly. Small landmarks here and there.
Here's a highlight I don't have in.
And if all is going according to plan this should work perfectly.
Teally clean that up with my Statler white eraser and there's my highlight.
I do like these cast shadow, I’m gonna indicate that just slightly more, use my finger.
The separation in between them.
As I work on the toe
my subconscious that are trained to hop around or to force me to hop around the
drawing is a oh toe, let's revisit that thumb.
And if we work on this hand,
I think I oh, it must be time to revisit this one.
As I'm preparing my work for tomorrow, I’ll
go around and sharpen up that
contour again, paying real close attention to
structural overlaps in the form. Is that time?
Thank you, Aurora. So although our model’s done for the day,
I want to take a minute
to talk to each of you guys at home about the process up until now. So
the way this works is you will have seen my finished drawing before I start
this drawing. And I'm quite sure that the first two days of me sort of slowly
working out almost a schematic or a slow structure of where all the forms in the figure go
looks so different than this contrasty representation of nature that's next to me now,
So one of the lessons that I think is important to say first to keep in
mind is that you cannot always judge something by how it looks in the beginning, the
way that something looks at
the end is often quite different. Getting everything placed is of the utmost importance.
And now that I feel somewhat confident,
and the general proportions and the rhythms and movements that I've set up throughout,
at this point all of a sudden I'm working on light effect and atmospheric.
I'm trying to give a sense of presence to the way she is standing in the
room and that she's almost emerging out of the darkness behind her. The podium became as
much of a subject today as the figure.
I shifted away from doing pure schematics of only how I thought that the figure should
be to try to place it in space. And when we talk about this visual impression,
which I'm sure you've heard me say a million times by now,
it is so important that we are placing our work within a context, right. The figure
relating to the background. We started out today with the shadow
darker than the background. I then became subservient to the way my eye sees it and just started
putting in quickly dark background, being very careful not to lose all the edges
I had set up earlier in the day.
And continually I am re-establishing and changing the drawing.
I hope you get the sense that although she's moving and she's influx,
the technique here is extremely similar to the Bargue drawing, given
this is my drawing, shows more of my personality, than
does a copy of an existing drawing.
I am interpreting nature. But this concept of moving something a millimeter here or
there or just shifting an edge by a little bit,
that's really the goal to be working responsibly
in that way we that we are continually flexible until it becomes time to commit. And
I think today is the first day that I really started to commit to this drawing.
A last note that I think it's probably important is to remember that
I've been - I was a student a long time ago.
I've been teaching versions of this program for a long time
and I'm doing my best to go very quickly for your benefit so that you can
see every step along the way without having to take the five or six weeks that
this project took me when I was a student.
So don't become frustrated while you're trying to do something like this. If you're trying to
work responsibly for the model and work slowly,
each of these days are sort of a condensed week of the time that it would
have taken me as a student and even still there areshortcuts that I have to take
because I'm talking and I'm trying to remember all of the lessons that I want to
revisit while I'm working. But at this point I feel fairly confident in the overall look
at the drawing. I'm sure that now that everything sort of at the same level tomorrow
when I come back I'm going to see something, there will be inevitably some change I
need to make but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The visual impression is now more or less the same on my paper
as it is in nature and that was a goal today to pull it from being a schematic or
a really detailed block in to having the same visual impact that we got when we
look at nature. So think of this as another argument for the optical impression and how
important it is to learn to see that because I'm sure that this made a big
jump in that regard today.
And I hope you can see the value and how slowly I had to work in
order to make that jump effective.
been kind of a mad dash.
I want to remind everybody that although you see me work a number of days on
this drawing, it is not the time that is going into it
that is most important. I am trying to work as fast and furious as I can to
show you all of the steps that are necessary to make a sort of fully realized
what we would call a long poem or a fully rendered drawing at the Florence Academy
of Art. So when I was a student there to get to a sort of stage
where you had a lot of value like this could take weeks of working with the
model, depending on how much confidence the student had in proportions and gesture. Tthere's been
a series of priorities which we have had up until now. If you remember the first
stage was sort of like that block in stage with the Bargue, that we just really
wanted to simply with long straight lines express the overall big shape, the cookie cutter shape
or the potato shape some people call it. What's important is that we remember we are
trying to work from general to specific in a clear and as progressive of a fashion
as we can. After working on that big shape,
if you remember we laid in all of the shadow shapes. The shadow shapes, people also
call it the bed bug line because bed bugs won't move from the light into the
shadow. So it's this line right here and how unified we can make that overall shadow
line. Then yesterday the big, big rush, the point of this drawing started to look totally
different was throwing in real dark contrast and trying to work for the first time optically
the way that the eye sees. So because we have a very black background
we just started to slam in a much darker tone.
And now we're starting to get some contrast.
However I am sure that there are still adjustments that need to be made. In this
drawing we want to start to get a little bit more of a sense of form
and light. I am happy I think with the movement and presence of the pose.
This is something that it may be a little specific to the school that I went
to that not only do they want for the students to explore how to draw the
figure but to how to make it really feel weighted.
If you remember one of the angles we continue to talk about was in the standing
leg, that long angle that gave a sense of weight to how somebody is standing.
And over and over we would look at student’s work and check the standing leg. It
is one of the sort of important things to setting off this serpentine rhythm,
which I think looks very nice and languid through the arm is how much compression and
weight there is on that leg.
If you remember yesterday one of the last things I was doing was really trying to place
the ankle and the big toe of the standing foot so that we could get that
really really strong. So we've been moving towards a tonal drawing and in trying to finish
this we really want to now use one of our other tools that we talked about
on the cast, which is the black mirror. And the black mirror is to be used
really just like the mirror. If you remember the black mirror is an invention specifically for
the observation of tone, a way of limiting color that we see and instead focusing on
tonal relationships. It is said that Claude Lorrain, the wonderful landscape painter,would take a piece
of glass and smoke the back of it with soot and people would call that Claudian
glass and he would then look at the reflection.
He would look at nature in the glass and would limit the amount of green he
would see in the landscaping and blue in the sky.
So instead he can concentrate on the tonal pattern in nature.
Well, it's no different here.
When we look at the figure,
let's say I'm looking at the knee,
I'll see all these myriad lights and darks within it but what the eye forgets to pay attention
to is that perhaps all of the knee is going to be much darker than say
the upper thigh or the shoulder.
So what we're going to do is at the very beginning of our session
we're going to run through our step-by-step hierarchy one more time.
Number one, drawing and design.
I'm going to stand back and see if there's any clear drawing issue. Does something seem
off to me as I flick my eye back and forth?
Number two, after drawing and design is the tonal structure of the drawing. So does anything
seem much too light or much too dark,
and I'm going to trust the impression
I see in the black mirror.
A note about using it. Unlike the normal mirror,
which is probably your most useful drawing tool,
this - if I use this direction or this direction is very very useful for me in
perceiving value. As I'm looking out towards you
I see all of a sudden where things start to come together. In other words where
those lost edges are and where contrasts are. If I turn all the way around and
instead look at the reflection here and I look at you back that way, that limits
the color and contrast even more.
So depending on which way you stand with a black mirror, that can be a really
really useful tool. The last thing I want you to remember
is it even though you haven't seen me do the sort of measuring with the plumb
line this way or this, it is not that I am not doing it throughout.
I'm doing it sometimes visually, sometimes when I'm on a break
I'm holding up the plumb line.
Remember that this is, as you start, one of the most important things you can do
is check the relationship between something like the standing foot and the pit of the neck and
track how those two things come together to connect what's going on up here with what's
going on down here. So remember that even if you don't see me doing this every
20 minutes, the less-experienced student has, the closer this needs to be to their hand.
So what we're going to do - Aurora
are you ready? Okay, so our model’s is going to get up and I'm going to
step back and we’re to talk a little bit about the value of impression and I hope
that here at New Master's Academy we’ll try to like work a little bit with the camera
to try to show you some of the same optical effects that I'm talking about.
I'm going to try to be very specific about what I am seeing in here and
what I want to make happen on my drawing because although this has a lot of
nice contrast, what it doesn't yet have is a ton of the atmosphere.
I want for my drawing to feel like it is appearing out of the dark as
much as it is there. So I'm a step back to my spot for a moment.
And Aurora, would you turn your shoulders a little bit towards your left,
please? Yep. Okay, so the first thing that I'm going to do is take a long look.
And as I'm looking in the black mirror there is so much more contrast between her
upper body and the lower part of her arm
and her legs and her stomach. In other words as I'm looking at my black mirror,
I'm noticing that up here is so so bright in this part of the body and
then as we work our way down the post the light fall-off is much more intense
than I have. In the blank mirror, this is sticking out like a little light in
my drawing and as you can see in nature that foot is is so atmospheric. It also
seemed to me in the black mirror like the light shape in the arm,
right the light shape in this arm here, is just a little bit too wide.
So either I have the arm top wide in general or it's a light shape
that needs to get eaten up by the shadow.
There's something going on there also.
I have most of the head
is going to need to get slightly darker in order to make that
highlight on her cheek and forehead pop out a little bit more.
And frankly in the black mirror,
I don't see her resting arm, the arm that's on this side,
I don't see at all.
But I may want to keep it because compositionally I do like that, that sort ofwhere
flow of the pose.
So besides some of the proportional and kind of obvious light fallout things that I was talking
about, also some of my shadows - although they look dark in my drawing
I want to push them more. The shadow
certainly in I drawing on the inside of the armpit there,
that's such a dark at accent and the pubic area, naval, armpit, and hair can
really all push to a pure black.
So we're going to make a little bit of a push today to try to make
my drawing - and I want to underline this point so it's super clear to all of
you at home - I want my drawing to look like the impression that I see in
the black mirror and we are training our eye to see a light and shade impression
as it is viewed in the black mirror. So often the first thing that I will
do is a few dark accents.
When we have something that is so light
it’ll often make us realize how dark
something seems next to it. I’m gonna push
this all the way to pure black too.
That means that I can go a little darker here also.
Notice how now that I'm making these darker accents
this is starting to seem lighter.
See how now that I'm darkened in the legs a bit,
the legs seem a little more cut out.
And that's actually one of the things I'm going to try to avoid.
I want to have as much atmosphere, as much sense of her stepping out of that
darkness as possible. Okay, now that
I have these dark accents
I'm going to go back
to the impression that I saw
in the black mirror and with my eyes open,
I'm now looking with my eyes open at the model, trying to see and remember what
I saw on the black mirror or what I see when I'm squinting. Squinting
is one of our best tools for seeing how tones come together, how a value impression
can grow from the interrelation of two tonal areas.
So for instance, this leg is much darker than this leg.
And it is of the utmost importance that I'm now using razor-sharp charcoal to really
get all the way into the texture of the paper.
As I’m squinting down, I'm continually looking at the connection
between some of these darker half tones and the shadows. These points where they just absolutely start
to overlap. All of this down here. My mark making looks a little scratchy.
I'll grab that brush again, start to unify it.
Nothing in the hand and arm is as bright as the chest and sternum,
so I'm going to very quickly.
From time to time I want to pull out my kneaded eraser
and see if I need to pull out
any lighter half tones. I'll also use that to clean up
my light shapes just like I did yesterday.
This H has gotten less than razor sharp,
so I put it down.
I'm looking in a triangle between the navel and the breast to try to make sure
that I get the right gesture there as well.
I'm constantly thinking about rhythm.
I am not putting down pre decided structures for any one part of the body.
Again, softening where need be and pulling out my lights again from time to time.
Grabbing my kneaded eraser. Pull out a light where need be. Noting that a highlight only happens
at a apex of a form
in relation to the light source so I can let that get just a hair darker
on that edge. Oh, it’s time for a break.
And although I've been talking to you guys throughout many of the breaks,
when I'm doing value impression work, when I am trying to make big pushes and how
the eye sees it's really important that I take a break from time to time.
So I'm going to get a drink of water, wash my hands so I don't dirty
my drawing, and pretty soon
we're going to talk about and introduce another tool. We talked about the black mirror
and how important it is here
nut I'm starting to feel ready to use the mahl stick at this point. The drawing’s
getting detailed enough. I'm starting to pick out little little highlights and darker accents here
and there so I want to talk about how we use that also.
What I would say is that the further along we get in this drawing, the more
we want to limit the white paper. That area of pure white paper should be getting
a little bit smaller and a little bit more concentrated throughout. As I've worked on this
drawing I’ve started to find differences. This got a little bit smaller and look at the
contrast between this leg and the other leg.
I started to darkend a lot of the trunk of the figure because I know
that I want this to shine and I know that I don't want that to be
as white as that. This is a hierarchical approach to tonal drawing that we start
from our lightest light and we work our way down towards our darkest dark just like
the cast. The problem has this is a living, breathing human.
It's easy for us to get caught up in a highlight in the hand.
This is clearly too light here. I can see that this is too light but when
I was looking at it my eye is telling me oh no there's a highlight there,
you should keep that really light.
But I know that because of the position of that hand and its distance from the
lightest parts in the figure that there needs to be light fall off there,
too. I continually glazed over the legs to try to get that atmosphere so that she's
almost stepping out of the background but even still there's more we can do in that
regard. So I took out my mahl stick. And mahl sticks are one of the oldest
tools for painters and draftsman. People don't seem to be using them as much today
but if you look at Rembrandt’s self-portrait when he was young in front of the easel
where the easel’s in the foreground and he's in the background you can see he has
a very long mahl stick. They are invaluable for detail work and you can make yourself one
really simply like I did for the cast.
It's just a dowel with some newspaper, paper towel, tape wrapped around it and that's enough
so that when I need to lean it somewhere I don't damage my drawing,
You know, it'll make a little stain like that but not a bright white mark like
a clean finger for comparison.
So the reason why I wanted this is I want to start working on foot, the
hand, the head, the chest, the individual parts of the drawing need to be addressed for
the first time. We have been moving everything forward
as a unit, right, the whole figure,
but now we need to start to look at all the differences within the individual parts
of the figure. Are you ready Aurora?
Okay, so our model’s going to get back up and I'm going to try to work
as quickly as I can to start to render this to get a sense of light.
One of my goals when I am painting, whether it is a portrait, a landscape, a
still-life, a figure, or an interior,
whatever it may be whether it is a sketch or a finished painting, one of my
personal goals is that it feels like the painting itself is emitting a sense of light
back at you, that it is not just a picture of something but a vibrating, glistening
representation of nature. And it is this concept of keying that we've been starting to talk
about yesterday, we went through on the cast, that working within the parameters of tone that
our medium allows us, to not copy things but to bring the gamut of color or
the gamut of tone down based on what your lightest light and darkest dark is
in your project. Now, I haven't needed my mahl stick up until now because I've been
working in such a broad fashion.
But I really want to zoom in.
So the whole reason by starting with the Bague project
I started talking to you about changes in millimeters.
And the whole reason why I try to underline the importance of keeping things flexible is
so that when you get towards the end of a project you are constantly improving,
not committing to a weaker drawing from earlier but continuing to try to improve your work. For
example, I'm bringing the shadow edge over here,
which changes the flow of light, brings it more towards the back of her head.
Soften that a little bit.
I haven't worked too much
on the head up until now so I really want to catch it up,
make sure it's nice and unified,
give it enough detail compared to the rest of the drawing. This concept of working on the
whole is a Boston School painting tradition.
Frank Benson told students to work all over a painting in a circular fashion.
And that's what we've been doing throughout.
Working on the thighs, then the chest. The head and the shoulder. This highlight that I
had before a little bit too large now. Grabbing a new sharp H.
I look at this hand,
I look at that hand. Automatically I go wow that's got to be too light.
I am putting here and there a few dark accents.
Where need be I can grab my kneaded eraser.
Heighten ever so slightly.
I'm really, really not only thinking about the form but trying to match the
patterns of values that I see when I squint at the figure. Notice that now I'm
zoomed in working on my drawing, the mahl stick isn't really leaving my hands a lot.
I'm continuing to observe my new changes that it’s really nice for me to have something to rest
my hand on while I do them.
From time to time I grab my kneaded eraser.
That’s a bit dirty. We're getting a good deal of contrasts now.
I think one of the reasons why I had that hand little light is
because the background next to it
wasn't dark enough. So like I moved
one piece, its neighbor becomes of affected.
I sort of think of drawing as this holding yourself back and then letting the horses
out of the stable to go as fast as you can. Drawing should be equal parts
your intuition and your intellectual analysis of the form.
If you only draw with your passion and your sort of underlying feeling of something,
you’ll miss a lot of the structural stuff. So if you’re overtly structural,
you might forget some of the lyrical, beautiful more romantic aspects of drawing.
So you see me move really slow and you see me move really fast and part
of that has to do with this balance that I am constantly trying to visit and
revisit. And I like the concept of scramble because we can try to get everything done
at its own pace. But sometimes we need to pick up the speed just to get
into a rhythm of moving things around.
I was just saying to the rest of the crew here at New Masters that
now I'm starting to get a little bit more tone in my drawing. It may look
to you at this moment like the stomach is getting a little dark but I'm happy
with some of the form modeling
that’s having its first sort of crack at three dimensions.
I guess part of it is because this clear shot of shape is next to this
dark accent. So I knew to get this as dark as I could I knew this
reflected light on the underside of the breast could not be as dark as that and
I knew that this shadow and dark half tone, depending on how she is breathing and how
much her spine is back, was a key to figure out the whole passage of half tone
and shadow through her midsection.
So I'm going to keep this for now and what I'm gonna start doing is darkening in
the arm and legs to support that. What we're going to try to do is get
a better sense of light on her chest and head over the course of the next
sort of two sessions with the model.
Note also in the last 25 minutes or so
I darkened the background - I first darkened the arm,
it started looking a little dirty.
It was looking over modeled, starting to look a little bit metallic almost. Rather than lightning
it because I was comparing these lights to these lights,
I instead darked in the background again and found that I had my background much too
light compared to the rest of it.
Aurora are you ready?
Let's see as the model gets back up what my impression is of the legs compared
to the midsection, compared to the chest, sort of breaking a figure down again and again
into its respective tonal pattern. I hope that makes sense. Pattern and tone are two of
the things that have been most important to me throughout the past two days.
Sometimes it's worth softening a shadow edge.
If becomes a little less than specific so I go back and re-establish
the shadow on the thigh. There's only really light concentrated right here.
I'm going to go ahead and take that down a notch.
Bring value up, bring value down.
When I really want to make a dark mark, just
make a few vertical lines so that as I move my charcoal across the paper
I don't make any of the paper come up and lighten it.
May be difficult to see on the camera but vertical marks do appear in a slightly
different value than horizontal marks.
Again I’m gonna go in and…
This foot feels just a hair big.
Trying to get all the subtle plane difference that’s happening in that leg.
I'm starting to enjoy the difference in contrast between these two legs.
My tools got a little dull so remember to sharpen them over and over.
Imagine a whole school, people doing charcoal drawing, making that noise.
Sometimes it’d be so quiet
and sometimes it would sound like fingernails on a blackboard.
Starting to feel a little happier with the legs now. Always looking for a better design wherever I
can find it, got her hair kind of poofy.
Humidity is different from day-to-day obviously, hair changes.
Wherever it's starting to look a little dirty,
remove a little. Soften that eye again, I need to give another pass over the eye
socket and the mouth. As you can see I'm using the brush really sparingly at this
point. I remember with some of my students eventually I would have to physically take a
brush or a stump away from them.
Although it's really nice how it unifies things and takes lines out, it also
lightens stuff. So at this stage where I'm trying to really get good contrast
I only use it if I am trying to lighten something. I will not use it
it in an area where I'm trying to keep a lot of contrast.
One of these moments when the model goes down is a great time to just check
the unity overall, see if there's any spots that are clearly much too light
compared to its neighbors.
I hope you're sort of watching how as I darken one part
sometimes it looks too dark and then I'll darken the thing next to it and
it’ll look right or sometimes something will look too light because it's neighbor’s too dark.
There are many approaches to drawing and painting which are really focused in prior knowledge about
the figure and prior knowledge about your subject.
All those things help but the sight-size approach is based so much on that visual impression
that that really is what I'm trying to focus on with you during my time here at
New Masters, I want to show how we can work responsibly.
Just trusting what the eye sees, drawing what you see not only drawing what you know,
those two things sort of come together in that same nexus of intellectual understanding and passionate
sort of impulsive drawing that they cross over one another.
The same way that prior knowledge of the figure, anatomy, structure, planes has to mix with
just what does it look like when I look at it?
Are you ready? And this is a marathon.
It doesn't really matter how long it takes us.
This is an approach in which quality is the only goal,
time matters to the artist but not to the viewer.
There’s another dark accent. This that was looking so dark before I think I can lighten a
little. Grabbing a sharp H.
Excellent. Eraser. It’s
probably time for me to go back to dealing with the head.
Again, I am waiting and seeing what pulls at my attention
as I look at the overall drawing.
It's only now after I've done so much work on the overall
impression that I can start to make
value decisions up in the lightest lights of the pose.
Notice that I was about to try to work on the head.
I started at the neck
and then got totally pulled in different direction
then I had intended. I would say that's that's pretty typical of this technique.
There's always going to be some finishing work to do.
And I try not to do it piecemeal and work on one bit at a time.
I really want it to look
like a complete impression at any stage that I leave it.
Add just a little bit of light on the outside of that arm there just to be
able to see it. Now let’s get back up in the head, unify.
Soft charcoal. Accent. Her eye socket coming down a little bit more.
When the model comes down I make an effort to really not change much but I do look for jarring notes, things
that are clearly slightly too dark, too light,
too scratchy, too messy, too soft.
But I always suggest to drawing students to really not touch their work when the model
goes down, besides filling in the background or whatever
tedious job would be affecting the pose.
I'm going to take a break for a moment too.
So it’s taken a long time to get to this point.
And I hope you can appreciate this
best value compression concept that we've been talking about. That sometimes we need to really accentuate
some darker accents and bring certain half tones slightly darker to match them. Every tone is subservient
to the highlights and the focal areas of the drawing.
I'll hop around for a minute after I’ve taken a break,
just make sure that I've tightened up
any of these forms throughout to give them a strength.
I give them another pass.
Wanna be careful not to over model, everything on this side of the neck is in the lights.
The trapezius is bright. I want to find a really sharp one.
That’s pretty sharp. This one. Okay. cover slightly softer charcoal these dark accents spot the eye again.
Grab a slightly softer charcoal for these dark accents. Spot the eye again.
That’s a little too dark in the eyebrow.
Because this forehead is so
purely highlighted, I'm just kind of over it quickly with a little bit of tone and
erase my highlight back out.
And up just slightly. Noticing the top of her ribs, the highlight is just a little smaller than I had it.
I think I want to give a last pass to a couple things.
I'm starting to be pretty pleased with the overall light effect, the structure and the torso,
the legs, shoulders. I wanna see if I can put a little bit more finish on the
head, work my way down the arms maybe one more time.
It’s also important to remember that this is a study. If I was to do a drawing
for myself in a sketchbook or even sight-size I might do it in a completely different manner.
This is an example for you at home to have a kind of a sense of
the steps to go through to create a fully
realized, full value drawing and some of the steps that people get tripped up on
along the way.
So I've sharpened a whole bunch of H
charcoal. You ready? Let's do it.
Okay, I’ve sharpen a whole bunch of a charcoal.
I have it ready to go.
I put it on my easel. Periodically
I'll take all my dull charcoal off the easel,
throw it on a table nearby so I know to sharpen it later.
Just trying to stay organized a bit.
Aurora's back in pose. I started working on the likeness
throughout the last session, but I will periodically soften it and just lighten up the side of
the neck. Yeah, that’s better too. Especially when you can see so much of the anatomy
of the neck, it’s important to remember that
it is basically a cylinder.
To not over model every little half tone throughout. Always trying to differentiate cast shadow from
form shadow. Periodically, I'm still going to grab a softer charcoal,
this is an HB. That’s too dull. The problem is is that as you start working and you get
into the groove, even if the charcoals really worn down you'll just continue drawing with
it. So I just have to remind myself to just put down what has become
a blunt instrument. A guy at the school always used to say - I quite like this
line - that you wouldn't want someone to do surgery on you with a shovel.
And if you're trying to render a likeness,
I think it’s sort of the utmost importance that your tools are
appropriate for the job.
Periodically. I’m gonna do a small pass on the hair. The model has sort of light brown auburn color, not r tooeally
dark with some sense the lightness there. I'm sure you guys can tell I do like a
lost edge. Clean up just a little bit.
Try to indicate that plane shift.
Okay. Slightly exaggerated there.
That's better. When I squint way down, although there is light on that hand.
Just trying to explain where the arm’s more cylindrical and where it's a little more planar.
Clean up the highlight on the nose a little too. So at this point I've sort of taken this as
far as I would like to within the time that we have allotted but
this is the sort of project that one can work on kind of indefinitely. When I
was a student this process which I ran through quickly for you guys,
so at home while you are watching you can see each individual step clearly and then
follow along at your own pace.
That said a project like this
we would spend five to six weeks working five days a week three hours a day.
The hours that we would put into this, especially from this point, would just be in
further refinement, further redrawing, redesigning everything is sort of there,
but we would continue to add more subtlety to each transition. Throughout
her ribs, we might continue to add just a little bit of tonal transition.
Just to further the sense of form and the sense of light. What's important for me
and what's important for me to do for you was to achieve a basic\
sense of light form and really talk about this visual impression. That we are
subservient to nature. That as we look at nature
we continue to make small changes at one point or another to make the drawing better
all in the service of tightening it up.
Like we are building a structure, like we are building an actual building, the foundation needs
to be strong and slowly we would add more and more tone, model more and more
form. Those light shapes might get slightly smaller throughout the course of the next couple days
but these are the steps that you should go through in order to find yourself with
a fully-realized tonal figure drawing.
And again remember this is the best preparation for your eyes to be able to paint
the figure in this traditional academic sense.
The goal is not just to paint a person but to paint a person in an
environment with a sense of atmosphere around them and I really I hope that comes across
for you at home. I think that this is a really important lesson and for me
it took me a long time at the school doing these same projects that I've described
to you. And I hope that as you follow along, you can see the same trajectory
of improvement in your own work
that I did years ago.
it's your turn to try to achieve something with the same degree of contrast and to
start working on this concept of value compression to get control in your own work.
Free to try
1. Long Pose Figure Project Overview1m 0sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Blocking In the Figure20m 37s
3. Developing the Contour and Introducing the Shadow Shapes41m 13s
4. Comparing the Drawing and the Model, Making Adjustments19m 36s
5. Laying out the Tone, Working on the Head and the Facial Features21m 25s
6. Working on the Visual Impression30m 54s
7. Starting Modeling, Getting a Sense of Form24m 19s
8. Working on the Shadow Edges, Modeling the Form24m 59s
9. Building Hierarchy of the Halftones31m 36s
10. Darkening the Shadows and the Background28m 3s
11. Unifying the Edges, Starting Detailing28m 31s
12. Detailing the Drawing, Working on the Background25m 55s
13. Detailing the Drawing, Working on the Standing Leg24m 21s
14. Checking the Design and Tonal Structure of the Drawing with the Black Mirror30m 41s
15. Keeping Working on the Tonal Relationships and Hierarchy27m 58s
16. Comparing the Tone of the Legs, the Mid Section and the Chest28m 8s
17. Adding Accents to the Drawing29m 31s
18. Accentuating Some Darker Tones25m 14s
19. Final Pass Over the Drawing25m 9s
20. Long Pose Figure Project Assignment Instructions29s