Tag Archives: art practice

Why Life Drawing?

22 Jul


I’m often asked why I do life drawing. Partly it’s because the portrayal of the human form in European art dates back around 40,000 years to cave paintings; partly because I love to study anatomy, it’s complex and I love it; and partly because I was trained in the discipline of regular drawing exercise, which underpins all my art. Even when I veer off into abstract mark making, the practice of many years of life drawing feeds in to what I do.

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I drew this with a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 using a free Markers app, saving regularly to show the different stages of the drawing.

Blog A Sprog

19 Jan


I’ve been taking advantage of babysitting family sprogs to carry on practicing drawing heads of children. It was the two-year old’s turn today. I mesmerised him with a DVD of Tractor Tom and scribbled with graphite into my A5 Tate Gallery sketchbook. I had a couple of attempts first before it finally clicked and I’ve ended up with a reasonable likeness and a drawing that I like. I’m very pleased with the flexible and flowing line the graphite has given me.

I tend to fail at portraiture with children because I can’t accept the extreme proportions that are right in front of my eyes but this time I forced myself to pay close attention to what was actually there and forget the nagging voice in my head telling me that the proportions couldn’t possibly be like that. The face is very small and drops away at the bottom of the head, leaving a very large brow. The little ear, so round, is set very far back, the upper lip juts out further than the tip of the nose and the chin falls away completely. And there’s the MASSIVE cheeks (food storage pouches) and huge eyes to contend with. It shoudn’t work but it does. Yes, chuffed with that 😀

OOOFFF! It’s Hard

14 Dec

14 hands

I’m working from a life drawing that I did quite quickly and I didn’t have time to draw in a hand, so I need to construct one in the mixed-media piece I’m doing. I made a start by doing some technical exercises, working from anatomy books by Burne Hogarth and Sarah Simlett. I find hands very difficult and I don’t want to get the artwork muddy so I want to get the hand right first time. Nothing else for it but a day of practice. Took me hours and I still don’t feel confident enough to get stuck in. I’ll go back to it on Monday and try out a couple more hands. It’s really hard though, it’s much easier to draw from life.

I visited the El Prado art gallery in Madrid a couple of years ago and had a good look at their collection of paintings by Velazquez. I was well pleased that when I saw them close-up, there were all sorts of mistakes that he’d scrubbed out, but you could still see them, especially with horses hoofs. It makes me feel a bit better about all the mistakes I was making today 🙂

Flappy Hands!

26 Apr

I carried on with the drawing I started yesterday. I left the hands to the last because they’re HARD! So I spent most of this afternoon twisting my left hand awkwardly in a mirror and trying to draw it with my right. I finally got one I’m reasonably happy with so I’m now ready to transfer it to the drawing. When it comes to hands and feet, there’s no substitute in my opinion for practice and academic study. You just got to grit your teeth and get on with it. And no matter how many years practice you put in, you’ll still get it wrong. I’m absolutely certain that all the greats, Leonardo, Michaelangelo and the rest of the Renaissance painters have loads of ‘wrong’ hands flapping about underneath the final versions 🙂

Drawn in HB pencil into an ‘Artbox’ recycled leather bound A6 sketchbook.

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