- Lesson details
In this lesson, Leo will work through the same problems but in a short pose drawing. He will be working on toned paper from a live model trying to get a real sense of who this person is and how he is standing.
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.
Discuss this video in the forums!Discuss
I did from the first long post,
but this will be sort of a shorter pose drawing.
I'm not going to model to full black background.
I instead want to only go over the light and shade pattern and try to get
a real sense of who that person is the way that they're standing and I'm going
to do this on grey paper with white chalk to try to heighten the lights of
it. It's important to remember that this isn't just always about working from pure white to
pure black. Instead we want to try to use that contrast to help us see more
clearly the shapes, anatomy, and structures that are there in front of us.
For you guys at home, try to treat this the same way that you would a block in,
whether in a portrait or a cast project or one of the Bargues and then slowly
working towards a little bit more contrast,
but perhaps not pushing all the way to pure black right away.
This project is gratifying because it bridges the gap between the block in and avoids that
dangerous stage of when you might lose the drawing of that working too quickly and with
too much contrast as you work your way forward.
And notice that throughout the projects that we've been doing together
I'm consistently referencing having good light, right, that's part of the setup is that we are
trying to learn to use our set up to help us see the light and shade
that should be in our drawing. To basically
to be able to simplify things into the families of shadow, halftone, and light. So Mark’s taking a
really nice pose for us today.
One of the things that I like about it is that he has really nice,
clear angles through the hips and shoulders and as we look at the center line meandering
through the body we can sort of get a sense of the big rhythm, that serpentine rhythm
that runs through the figure.
So for me this is always an ideal situation to have a pose that is well lit
and that has a sense of weight,
right, he is slightly balanced on the box behind him,
but you can clearly see how much weight is on each leg.
And when I look at the pose and I squint and I really do squint all
the way down, that I can easily see the fall off
of light and shade and that sort of gradation from being slightly darker to slightly brighter
up into the lightest lights of the pose in that highlight right there on the forehead.
So before I start I want to try to imagine my big shape.
You guys have seen me do this a couple times now,
but I want to make clear the importance of getting a clear big shape.
So the negative shape between-the-legs
we can see there's this long angle all the way along his leg,
it's almost straight. Almost. Then there's this angle
and this angle. There's a long angle here, another one
here. Okay, so these are the long angles you’re gonna see me
represent on my page. And remember this is a sight-size project.
You may not see from the camera behind me the model and the figure in exactly
the same place, but the model will line up exactly across with the bottom of his
foot and the top of his head on the page are going to be on a
straight axis out like that from my point of view. The camera cannot be in the
same spot as my eye as I'm working.
So that's - these are the points that he's lining up to on my page.
I want you to remember that before we get started.
The last thing is to grab the plum line.
And a plumb line will give me a clear concept.
Mark can I see you put your chin -
yeah, that's perfect. Looking down like that is excellent.
Thank you. One, two, and a central point. In this case the obvious
midpoint is this angle right here
where he’s sitting on the box right there.
So remember I said I sometimes put these marks on the outside of my page here,
just to help me register with my eye
how close they are to the model. In other words even though this point where he’s sitting
on the box will be way over here on my page.
It's helpful for me to have a mark here just so I can flick my eye
back and forth and make sure.
The next thing that I'm doing is I'm using my plumb line.
I'm dropping at just from the standing foot for - he hasweight on both legs,
but this is sort of the more focal foot right from there and lines right up
with the outside of his head.
His naval, the sternum, the chin, all of that exists to the right of that plumb
line that I'm looking at.
And I'll check my plum line even
with the plum line to see if I am.=
close to a real vertical.
This mark is off to the left of the plumb line. This is one of the things I
like about the sort of sight-size Florence Academy approach to drawing a figure is before
we're even trying to draw the individual parts of a figure we're trying to make this
cookie cutter shape that encompasses.
So I gives me a way to imagine where everything will go before putting it down.
I want to check with my plumb line,
but basically I'm look at the angle right now from here to here.
I'm looking at the angle from the leg all the way up to the shoulder there.
So let’s plumb that again. So these are really the same bits of information
just like those first few angles that I showed you.
He looks clearly wide through the hips.
So I'm starting to decide where to shrink down the pose, you know, whether to pick up
a little bit off one side or the other side or both.
Okay, even though I really haven't drawn
Mark yet, I haven't really made a sense of what our model precisely looks like
in terms of body type,
this is a good enough start. Remember, and I will step back for a moment, show
you how I'm simplifying this again
a long angle for the foot here, angle going up for the pubic area, another going
all the way down the leg here.
This is our big shape, the sort of cookie cutter potato shape.
I like potato shape. What people call
that big shape of the model. And I can clearly see that the angle that I
have in a couple areas aren't lining up but this is a good start to get
me into the next stages of the drawing.
When I am drawing the legs, I look towards the ankles which clearly taper down so
much and I try to find from the ankle
what the taper is like moving up
through the lower leg. Let's soften everything.
Okay Mark you can take a break.
This is a good initial stage. Remember the concept of flexibility
I've been talking about throughout the drawings
I'm doing for you here and New Masters Academy.
It all comes down to a simplification.
And for many people this is less information than they would start with a drawing but
in my case just having these angles gives me a framework, a sort of foundational structure
that I can now build on top of. So I'm going to take this break also
and when I come back
we're gonna tighten this up and start to get it to look a little bit more like
our model’s body type as well.
I'm noticing that this negative shape right here
on my drawing is too big from there to there.
This angle to this angle. So I’m going to bring that in towards him.
And take a quick width measurement.
Space between his feet. As you can see I'm starting to break
the marks that I've been making into smaller groupings. Actually Mark is a great name for a model,
I mean all I'm doing is mark making
on the board, but it's also mark making, that's a terrible pun,
bet you heard that one before Mark.
But probably not the first time,
a recurring theme. Have a show named Marks.
It's all good. It is starting to resemble more and more his body type on my
page. I am asking myself the following questions: one, how tall does the person on the
page look? I am not just flicking my eye back and forth
and telling myself good job.
I'm asking myself, does it look
like the person on my page is the same size as the person in nature?
That's a great way to trick yourself into seeing proportions with more accuracy.
Before I was telling myself that although it looked like a person - it looked like there was
really long legs and a short torso.
So I asked myself, why do the legs seem really long? Maybe this insertion here or
here I need to deal with. Why is it that the torso seemed short?
Well, it was I just had him too wide across there.
So it's really a slow building game. If you move one thing, you consider its neighbors.
Center line way over here. After I ask myself about body type, the next question I'm asking
myself is about stance. Is the person on my page, does it look like they are
standing with the same weight on each leg?
I use my plumb line
even mentally, right, I’m tracking with my eye from here up, making sure it intersects with nothing
because that foot is so far out to my left side.
I don't want the model to feel
just like a similar body type to Mark in nature.
I also want them to have a similar stance.
A way of standing with rhythm and tension that conveys a sense of weight and presence.
And his leg was a little long.
Just brought his foot up.
It's really very nice the way that this foot on the right, his left foot,
he’s got the weight on the outside of that so we can see just the bottom
of his big toe there. I'm always
referencing the widest point in a form and the thinnest point in the form. Notice that
I've moved from his ankle
right up to the thigh and trying to gauge the two of them together.
I'm thinking about taper. As he's settling in the pose
I am seeing less of this arm and I really like it.
I'm getting more of a C shape through the upper body.
Remember earlier when I was talking about working responsibly
and trying to follow some of the choice that nature gives you, this is one of
the incredible gifts of working from life. But we have choice.
Just very very lightly indicating the break between light and shade looking at the forms thickest.
and the thinnest points. I'm looking at
long angles, I'm looking from the arm all the way down the leg trying to make
sure that my drawing is placed correctly.
Of course, the arm will swing.
In here before I was saying
that it was too wide and now it's widened up again.
We are going to use his accordion to
his elbow, to his wrist, these three points later to help us figure out exactly
where we want that arm to be. Almost like a triangle.
But for now it’s certainly good enough.
My eye starts to automatically go
to spots that are maybe a bit too thick or a bit too thin.
Finding straight lines to track where things are. At the Florence Academy we would train the students to
spend a lot of time
observing and re-observing the weight on the standing and relaxed legs. And the lesson is to
always reference one side of the form to the other straight lines all the way through
so that this becomes a tangible rhythmic line and everything else flows within that. One of
our tricks is that if we on the high point on a form we imagine an
angle across like that and those high points from one form to another should have as
dynamic relationship is possible. I want to show you on the model also.
So that nice long line through the form, the clear line across a form here or
Here, these are our friends in relationships and trying to get a
strong sense of rhythm and weight as possible.
I’m seeing more of this arm again.
I'm trying to design an overall shape for the pose.
In the neck, sternum. And as I place the naval, sometimes
I'll look at where the nipples are by comparison,
again like a triangle,
to make sure placement works. I'm suspicious that I have this shoulder low.
I’m gonna grab my plumb line. Oh, yes indeed.
Now I'm remembering before when I was saying
that my shoulders looked wide well
one of them isn't tall enough.
Certainly would make it appear that way.
I'm running through my matrix of decisions to make again.
I'm thinking body type starting to look more like our model.
Gesture and rhythm starting to improve. Even though we can't see his spine.
I'm trying to imagine the curvature of his back as I work through
the ribs and the center line I really want to get the feeling that his hips are -
I'm sorry that his shoulders are leaning forward and his hips are pointed up towards the
looking at my drawing from a distance
that it was starting to work
okay. And that's the important line to remember is that it should work well from a distance
first. Frank Benson line I like, we said before is should work
well first from 30 feet, then 20 feet, and only then 10 feet.
I'm stepping back to my spot as much as I can
to look at it from that distance,
but what you can't see is the times I'm stepping way back just so I can
see it from a far distance.
See what I see. I'm going to continue placing more of the shadow edge now.
Mark can I ask you to lower your chin just a little bit.
Thank you. That's perfect. And Mark you either need to relax your left shoulder or raise
your right. There you go.
Perfect. Wonderful. Thank you.
I'm really trying to continue to develop
drawing as a whole. I’ve just spent some time in the trunk and working on that
that curvature of the spine concept again.
Then I quickly jump up to the head to make sure that's not falling behind.
Looking up more now now, so I'm going to raise the brow for a moment.
You'll notice every time I'm attacking the head, whether it's in the Bargue project, the cast
project, the figure, portrait, I'm really always trying to just place the brow line
and perhaps the bottom of the nose in relationship to the back of the head and
the ear. Trying to get some general sense of which way the head’s pointing.
So even though it's early
I’m gonna use just a bit of chalk in the sternum. I'll make sure I got everything
in the right place.
Okay, that's enough for me.
Just a few little marks
annotating. And I can start to go over the shadow edge again.
We're very fortunate to have Mark modeling for us today.
He's got a great definition.
The pose he’s taken and the way the lights falling on him
it sort of reminds me of Jusepe de Ribera
the great Baroque Spanish painter. it really has that sort of
light and shade on him. I'm glad I thought of him because he’s a great example
in his work of this flat shadow light modeling concept.
He also worked in a limited palette.
And the fact is, when I'm working at my easel
I'm often trying to think of my heroes,
artists usually long dead, who are a source of inspiration as I work through
some of the problems in my own project.
At my studio and Boston I’ll often have art books open to certain pages around me.
Just as sort of cultural reminders.
And you have to pick your heroes carefully.
I hopped down the legs because I can feel they were falling behind.
and this is still pretty early on in the drawing.
I'm just sort of getting
all of these big forms placed. Just like the Bargues, we’re thinking about big forms before
we think about small forms.
Big shapes to smaller shapes, big angles the smaller angles. So I’ll just sort of unify that. So I did put
up just a little bit of white chalk here.
The intention is not at any point to just like forge ahead and start finishing any
one area. I use something - if you remember I was talked about the the nipples to
the naval, that sort of triangle.
Those are landmarks that sort of annotate where things are and I can just look at
the shapes that they correct. Well
the white chalk is serving the same purpose for me.
I'm just looking at the rhythm between the light on his sternum and the light on
his forehead. I am not going to start just going in and modeling
at this point, modeling a form.
All right could you just sort of maybe get up just slightly and reseat for a
moment. It seems like your hips are just a little bit in the wrong spot.
Oh, that's much better actually. And then yeah and then the shoulder -
yeah. There you go. Perfect.
Thank you. So each of these are like little
bits of information I will use. Again,
looking through the form. I'm looking at some of the structural overlaps throughout the legs, try
to help me figure out
the distance between things. Now I’ve only been working
on the shadow edge and the contour up until now.
I’m almost ready to start working up some more half tone.
Still making an effort to not stay in
any one area too long, flicking my eye back and forth between nature and the model
and just seeing what Is calling for my attention.
Work my way up to the head now.
Just little landmarks. That line’s a little shaky.
It's all right. Looking at the negative shape
around his shoulder here. I noticed I had his head coming too close to shoulder.
I’m gonna drop that just a touch too. You’ll notice
working with a live model, everything just shifts slightly
and what I'm watching is this space where I can just see a fraction of the
ear on that side. It starts to shift away from my position that I want.
I’ll shift my effort to something else for a moment.
I’m a little too thin in the bicep.
I'm just designing shapes. And that's time for a break.
And before I take my break,
I'm just going to lightly soften. Again
I don't want to get too dark too quickly.
Just unifying everything so I got that nice snap of the fresh
eye when I come back.
And just relax them a little bit.
Excellent. Thank you. Just a touch wide through here. Starting place some half tones now.
It’s a bit more halftone. A lot of light fall-off down both the legs.
Mark could you incline your head back a little bit?
You're sort of - perfect. That's better.
And drop that shoulder again,
please. It's always fun working with the live model, it sort of
has to be a collaborative process.
A pose looks best when you allow the
model to take a position naturally.
I give sort of reminders from time to time if something is far out of place
that I need at that point in time in my drawing.
Or painting. I’ll often find as a model sort of shifts around organically,
we end up finding a middle ground, a kind of amalgamation of the different positions a model
Going after the few shapes
around his eyes, not just going straight into the iris.
instead finding the shapes around the eye socket
that show us the shape of the orbital cavity.
Just starting to enlarge some of the
lights that I've started to place.
Thank you. And that's all the time we have for now.
I'm at the end of my first session on this drawing.
So as you can remember from the cast, Bargue, find the similarity between all these projects.
Whether we’re working with the live model or we’re doing a copy,
the goal at the end of the day is just to prepare our surface
so that we can see it with a really fresh eye and get that initial glimpse
of something is maybe off a bit.
I wanted the next time I see this
everything's developed at about the same rate.
So I often tell my students, use the end of your session to prepare your work
for a new day. I'm just going to take back a little bit
so this is unified everywhere.
Now when I come back with my fresh eye
we'll see what needs to be changed.
bit of new perspective. I am trying to always develop that kind of sixth sense feeling
of what just sort of appears off when I when I glance at it.
So before I do anything today,
I want to just step back and look at the pose, and start to observe what
changes I will be making throughout the course
of this morning. When I am
looking with a fresh eye, I often sort of make a list of bullet points of things
that that I might address.
So that's the first thing I'm going to do with Mark today.
We are going to work as long as we can on trying to develop this drawing
within the context of the whole. I'm going to try not to really pull ahead in
one area or another but continue to slowly
develop each piece of the drawing as a part of the overall puzzle.
So Im gonna grab a piece of charcoal just in case I need it and a soft
charcoal is always nice for for making these adjustments.
I'm gonna step back to my spot with my mirror.
Now the first impression I got is an interesting one, is definitely related to the other problems
that I had yesterday. It’s not the same issue,
but it's similar. The guy on my page looks a little shorter than Mark does in
nature. And let's think about why.
Well I think in a couple spots
he's right on the edge of being thick. And when I say that
I mean just a really a line width or two.
One of the places I would say that's true is here
in the lower leg even, here in the ankle.
It's as if the man on my page
just looked a little bit
shorter that our model. So there's a couple more of these. I would say in here
we're about a line with too thick.
Now the pubic area can come down just a little bit.
But I do still think his torso is right on the edge of being wide.
This is again and again,
I come back to the concept
of the Bargue drawings and the value of learning to see really small intricacy of shape.
Even though this is a three-dimensional model,
living and breathing, we can sort of posterize it in our mind, try to flatten it
out. That actually makes a big difference, that little bit I just brought his armpit in.
The big thing that I keep coming back to is
I think the head is big. I was just giving him too much of a
sort of the back of the head here.
I'm going to take that down.
A little much there. Now I want to be careful
as I'm working on the shadows to not make them different in one area
then another. What I want is
to keep an overall sense of unity throughout. I am going to unify the shadows again at
least one more time. I just want to get everything around the same
darkness, same value. Grab my eraser, just clean up.
This is a system in painting and drawing and seeing which is really based in auto
criticism that we try to develop
a way of working responsibly throughout. Mark could you drop your left shoulder?
always looking out looking around and making sure I have enough ingredients ready to go.
I'm just sharpening H charcoal now, only sharpening H charcoal.
And this way I have a whole bunch ready to go.
I really like how in this foot
he’s just rolling the foot slightly.
It’s a really nice position. I’m gonna hop up into the face because I feel like
I've been ignoring it for a little while.
Grab a new charcoal. Really making sure to outline where there is a cast shadow and it's nice
and sharp to sharpen that up.
Just move the ear up a little bit.
Try to show that he’s looking down more.
The other eraser.
I'm going to knock back the drawing a couple more times,
but we are starting to commit now.
Flexibility and commitment, these are the two phrases I’ve probably returned to more than any
others during this class for you guys.
Resuming more and more using smaller touches. Notice how
I’m starting to stand a little bit closer to
my easel now. Zooming in, giving every sort of portion a little bit more attention
than I have in the last few sessions.
Trying to just give a little bit more
sensitivity to the limbs and the trunk. Just going around, softening.
I guess we'll take a break.
accentuate to form a little.
Trying to keep the integrity of pattern and light and shade whole.
All right. I think by now we spent enough time together that you guys can tell as I
go quiet towards the end of the drawing,
that's normally the time that I am
sharpening things up, softening other things, really trying to turn the patterns that I've created in
So I'm just going to clean up a little bit. He still looks a touch thickin a
couple spots so I'm just cleaning up
some of his contour so it really looks nice and specific.
This is our last session with our model so I’m just trying to make sure to clean
up a little bit, get something
really crisp. I'm going over these negative shapes to just trying to carve out.
Cleaning up in the chin a little bit.
I'm really just jumping around
from one area to another. Thank you,
Mark. So this is as much time as we've had to work on this drawing.
And remember these aren't just meant to be
drawings of mine that are done for my own purposes. These are studies that are meant to
show a series of steps.
So please notice in the pose
we have those same first few angles that we went over. This method of trying to
find the longest, straightest lines to express a whole limb, a whole percentage of the pose,
this is the same way that we did these Bargue drawing exercises and spoke about them.
It's a way of us
again learning to work responsibly. I'm of course tempted to keep messing with my drawing and
in fact given the opportunity I can bring this to a much greater degree of refinement,
but what's important here is the sense of shape and edge and the fact that we’re starting to make
the beginning of form. You can imagine if I was to take longer go to a
full black background like in the other white paper drawing,
if I was to really take my time
I could get a great deal of subtlety in the modeling of the chest and even
more sort of sinewy feeling to the form.
But what I wanted to do for you is to show how to step away from
an initial block in to committing to the contour shadow edge and light pattern and then
slowly start adding a little bit more halftone so that we start to see things the
way that we do in nature.
Remember, this is much more about the process than the product.
The concept is for us to have a way of working that we can carry across
to really any medium.
It's not just a step-by-step procedure.
It's a process in trying to view your work and nature on optically equal terms. That you
just flick your eye back and forth between them and always seek to make it closer
and truer to nature. To make it appear as real as possible with the limited
amount of value that is available to us in our medium of charcoal and pencil. Remember
at the Florence Academy of Art,
these projects are not only designed as exercises in drawing, further
this is a preparation for painting. Now when you try this,
remember this is similar to what we did with Aurora, instead
we are trying to focus with even more accuracy on the shapes overall so that we
don't necessarily need the highest degree of contrast.
But we do need is the highest degree of detail within our contour or shadow shapes
and our center line running throughout the figure to at least give that same sense of presence
and weight without the high, heavy contrast that often is necessary as we're learning how to
control the tonal values to make the appearance of nature.
So, thank you and good luck.
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
19m 3s2. Blocking In the Figure
30m 49s3. Defining the Outline and Placing the Big Shadow Shapes
22m 43s4. Adding Values to the Big Light and Shadow Shapes
22m 28s5. Placing Smaller Shapes
22m 58s6. Adding Values to the Smaller Shapes
24m 53s7. Comparing the Drawing with the Model, Making Changes
23m 36s8. Modeling the Forms
23m 31s9. Adding More Information to the Drawing
17m 33s10. Final Pass Over the Figure, Adding Accents
25m 26s11. Finishing the Drawing
1m 33s12. Short Pose Figure on Toned Paper Project Assignment Instructions