Tag Archives: contrapposto

Black, White And Sanguine

19 May

May 8

Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop working with a super model, such an interesting body. I drew into a large, A2, brown paper sketchbook with white, sanguine and black conte crayon and some compressed charcoal. I quickly sketched in the rough outline of the figure in white and then drew into it with sanguine and then black, adding more layers of detail as I went along. It was also great to draw a contrapposto pose, quite challenging.

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I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Spots and Twists

15 Jan

warrior spots

I like working on direct line (trace) monotypes. It’s an immediate and spontaneous way to get an original print and the quality of the line is soft and smudgy. I also like to work with models in poses that are twisted or contrapposto, they have a dynamic interplay of forms and planes that I find more interesting that passive standing poses. I particularly enjoy setting the model against or within a pattered  artefact like a rug or blanket. This model is a young soldier who often models for our life drawing group when he’s on leave.

The monotype is printed from a perspex (plexiglass, acrylic sheet) plate coated with black oil-based litho / relief ink thinned with a little extender. It’s important to roll the ink super thin otherwise you’ll get huge black smudges everywhere. Once there is a very thin layer of ink on the perspex, a sheet of fairly thin paper (a good cartridge paper around 150 gsm will be fine) is placed on top and a pencil drawing done on the top of the paper. The pencil needs to be kept sharp. When the paper is lifted off the perspex, the ink will have stuck to the places the pencil touched, creating an unique monotype. It’s a very good method for artists who love drawing.


12 Jan

the twist


Here’s another direct line(or trace)  monotype, based on an original drawing I did in a life drawing session. I like twisted and contrapposto poses; I like the challenge of drawing them. This sort of monotype technique gives a gentle line and soft, smudgy textures. I used Intaglio Printmakers black litho/relief ink and a fairly thin paper, just a good quality cartridge paper for this.

Cake And Contrapposto

17 May

My hobby is baking cakes. I don’t particularly like eating them but I love making them. I usually make one for life drawing group at Swansea Print Workshop on Thursday evenings and tonight did a classic sponge cake filled with home-made strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream. None of it made it back home – these artists take no prisoners! 🙂

Tonight’s model is in her forties and has strong features and a powerful body. I love drawing her because she’s very fit and flexible and holds some terrific poses. I did three drawings of her tonight and this is my favourite, a thirty minute pose in conte and oil pastel into my Bockingford sketchbook. I like the foreshortening and the awkwardness of the left arm. It’s a pleasing composition and it’s definitely going to be reworked as a more complex drawing and then made into a large monotype.There’s a terrific twist going on, a sort of horizontal contrapposto.

Contorted Man [parental guidance]

28 Apr

Ink sketch: male nude.

I had a really productive session at life drawing group on Thursday, getting in some good practice pieces and also some drawings that I’ll continue to work on to eventually turn into full-colour monotypes. Here’s one of them. Our model is a young soldier who poses for us between tours of duty. His army chums think he’s really brave to do life modelling; he reckons it isn’t as bad as being shot at! Because he’s very fit, he’s able to hold difficult poses, especially contrapposto – the ones that twist the body and put muscles and joints under a lot of stress. He held this for thirty minutes. I don’t think that artists’ models get the credit they deserve. It’s a hard job, much harder than most people imagine. The pay is OK but not brilliant and it’s difficult to do it as a permanent career.

I concentrated on trying to get the relationship between his head and hand right. It was tough because of the twist on the arm, which was quite severely foreshortened. But I like being pushed. Just as well really 🙂 It’s a Faber Castell Pitt pen size S into a 30cm square Bockingford sketchbook.

A Man Constrained [parental guidance – male nudity]

9 Apr

Graphite life drawing.

When I’m at life drawing group I prefer poses that turn the body in on itself in some way, I guess that reflects me and my somewhat dystopic view of life, the universe and everything. I like to draw ‘off-the-page’ and have done so for as long as I can remember, since I was a small child. It’s as if I’ve always felt that people are boxed in, that there are invisible boundaries around us. Some of my lecturers at art college used to try and persuade me to draw an entire figure within the one page, but I rarely managed it. It doesn’t matter how big the piece of paper – and I’ve worked on some huge ones, the figures are nearly always cut off by the edges at some point.

This is our soldier model. I’ve drawn him in two different grades of graphite – 6B and 9B into an A3 Bockingford sketchbook over the double page. I’m pleased with this and I think it may make a good full-colour monotype so I’ll take it into the studio tomorrow and work it up into a full-size drawing, probably onto some Somerset Velvet or Fabriano paper. Our model is exceptionally fit. This was a tortuously twisted pose, rather like a contraposto in Mannerist art and he held it for a full hour. At the end, he had weals across his thighs from the edges of the chair.

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