Project 6: The Head: Exercise 1: Facial features

Making a start on facial features.  Mostly from on-line images and magazines, but some artist inspired.  I have tried to use a range of drawing materials as well as different aspects  for the features.  I have started with eyes and mouths.  The rest to follow!

A4 Sketchbook: Eyes

As I sometimes wear glasses myself I am interested in how glasses change the shape of the eye and face beneath the lens.  I am very short-sighted so when I have glasses on they make my eyes look much smaller and also distort the shape of the face.  There is also the reflection in the glasses themselves to contend with.  Reading glasses have the effect of making the eyes look larger.  I have noted the different shaped eyes of different races, and some women emphasise their eyes with make-up and change the shape of their eye-brows.

I have noticed that I need to pay attention to shading on the “white” of the eye in order to make it look round.  The bottom eye on the above page I should acknowledge as an attempt to copy a Ambrose McEvoy self-portrait.  It is beautifully drawn and you really can see the orb of the eye in its socket.  The shading in the original is delicate yet definite.

A4 Sketchbook: Mouths

I particularly like my lipstick mono-print.  Not sure if I could complete a full self-portrait by pressing my full face of make-up on some paper though.  Or might it be worth a try?

Update 20th July:  Noses

A4 Sketchbook: Noses

Project 5: The moving figure: Exercise 2: Groups of figures

For this exercise I decided to draw figures as they walked towards me rather than past me.  I thought this would allow me to capture more of the movement.  I also decided to try blind drawing, only moving my eye back to the paper after completing each figure.

Groups of figures 1
Sketchbook Group of figures

I think this is more successful as the more fluid lines capture the movement better.  Also, the different size of the figures give some depth to the image, and a sense of them moving towards the viewer.  Having some structure of the buildings also adds to the solidity of the sketch.

Desire lines transfers

As well as drawing figures I wanted to try out a techniques I had been introduced to at the Rauschenberg exhibition – transfers.  I looked this up on-line and there are a number of ways of doing this but I decided to try transferring using acetone.

I am interested in maps and how people use them to navigate.  Some people follow prescribed routes, others take short-cuts.  There is a term in town planning called a “desire path” or “desire line” where people deviate from the planned routes and pathways and over time new paths are created from the erosion by foot-fall.  The “desire line” is usually the shortest route between two points.  It can be seen as a metaphor for triumph of the common man/woman over authority.

Starting with two laser prints (open source material) of images of a local map and walking people.


I then combined them by transferring with acetone on to a new sheet of paper and added marks in graphite, fine-liner pen, and eraser.

Desire lines 3
Desire lines. A4. Ink, graphite, fine-liner pen.

I could have thought through the composition more on this, but I mainly wanted to see the effects.  Depending on how much or little acetone you apply, and how heavily you scratch the paper, the images transferred are more or less clear.  I wanted to give the impression of people randomly wandering along, perhaps heading home after work, and taking the shortest route possible through well-established desire lines.  I have contrasted the hard graphic of the map with the softer graphite marks, which I have erased in parts to indicate the eroded paths.

Project 5: The moving figure: Exercise 1: Single moving figure

My first attempt at sketching single moving figures was at Liverpool Street Station.  Perhaps not the easiest start.  I was on the same level, but sat down on a bench.  People were rushing everywhere, all I could aim to do for each figure was to catch a line of an arm or leg or tilt of a head.  I am not sure I have captured movement, I tried to get some striding legs, there weren’t many swinging arms as most people were carrying things, and a great number staring at mobile phone.  This is going to need a lot more practise.

My second attempts were on holidays.  This was much more relaxing as people were walking more slowly and in less of a rush to get places.

I feel here that I have achieved more of a sense of movement as I have captured more of the whole body.  The angles between the legs and the swinging of arms helps with this (though many people had their.

Smartphone zombies

Back to London again and I decided to try a few sketches of individuals walking along with their mobile phones.  I was reminded of this modern phenomenon when at the Giacometti exhibition (notes not blogged yet) and one of his sculptured in which three figures appear to be walking past each other in different directions, without noticing each other.

Single figures 5
Smartphone zombies

These aren’t particularly good drawings but the idea of people weaving around each other without looking could provide an interesting idea for a drawing.

I was reminded of some of Julian Opie’s paintings of people walking around in the rain.  The main subject of interest, apart from the figures, is the umbrellas but I note that some of his figures are also using mobile phones.  This image is from a flyer for a 2015 exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery and features Opie’s Walking in the Rain, London, 2015.  I admire the simplicity of line in Opie’s drawings, which make them graphic in quality, yet they clearly spell out people moving about in a busy, wet city.  It’s the gait of the legs mainly, but also how the figures are transitioning across the frame of the paintings.  You just know they are part of a long stream of people moving back and forth.

Julian Opie
Julian Opie. Walking in the Rain, London, 2015. Alan Cristea Gallery flyer.

Research point: The nude

We are asked to begin to consider how the depiction of the male and female nude has changed over the centuries.

Research source:  Ways of Seeing, John Berger et al. 1972.  Penguin Books Ltd.  Essay 3.

Main points of John Berger essay

This is quite a complex essay, and I will go back to it and re-read as I am sure I have missed some of the subtleties of the arguments, but for now the main points I took from it are as follows.

Written in 1970s.  Acknowledges that how women and men are perceived (in art and wider) is changing or at least being questioned.  But sets out the premise that historically:

  • The male image projects power and is external (though may be a “front”)
  • Images of women are internal – she is often observed – by herself and others
  • The power and control is with the male.

To summarise “Men act and women appear”.

Early stories about Adam and Eve – they were naked and unashamed.  When their eyes were opened to “evil” they perceived that nakedness was wrong – and Eve was blamed and made subservient.

Women often painted as if aware the viewer is looking at her.  A mirror was used as a symbol of vanity in women.  As if it is acceptable for an external viewer to look at her, but vanity for her to look at herself – a hypocrisy.  (P. 51)

Notable that in non-European art (Indian, Persian, African etc) “nakedness is never supine in this way”. (P. 53)

My note:  I believe the Hokusai exhibition (yet to see but I have a book on his art) at the Tate has some of his erotic art.  I will be interested to see how women are depicted. 

The nude is not just nakedness but an art form.  But it is/can also be sexual (P.54)

“A naked body has to be seen as an object in order to become a nude.”

“To be nude is to be seen by others and yet not recognised for oneself.” P/ 54.

My note: This is interesting.  I am very rarely embarrassed at a life drawing class as the professional models are definitely perceived as “nude” rather than “naked”.  There are all sorts of etiquette I have observed, such as not talking to the model (the individual) when they have no clothes on.  I actually came across a model at a life drawing class who I had drawn at two portrait lessons (with his clothes on).  He recognised me and before he took his clothes off said hello to me and asked me to pass his best wishes on the other art tutor.   As soon as he took his clothes off and posed he was no longer “Steve” from the portrait class, he was a nude model and I was concentrating on his shape and form.  It wasn’t until the end of the class when he had dressed again that we had a short conversation about the next portrait class.  I would never have spoken to him as an individual when he was naked, yet I wasn’t worried about studying very intently some intimate parts of his body when he was nude.

In Western Art, woman does not show passion – no pubic hair (hair = power).

P.57. Points out the few exceptions where the painter is painting an individual woman, but her relationship is clearly with the painter.  (Danae by Rembrandt).

P. 63. The European nude – spectator-owners usually men; objects usually women.


There is such a lot to think about here and I know I haven’t even scratched the surface.  Such a lot was changing when John Berger wrote his essay, and have changed further since.

Sexual orientation

There is very little discussion about sexual orientation in his essay.  Caravaggio was believed to be homosexual and he did some very fetching paintings of young men.  Was that a reflection of his sexuality?  Or his patrons?  There is a multitude of gay art in the mainstream these days, it is hardly credible that in the UK homosexual acts between men were still illegal until the 1960s.   It still seems to me though that gay art is mostly male-orientated, but perhaps I haven’t looked in the right places for lesbian art.  There are a number of major exhibitions out on Gay art at the moment which I will aim to explore.  I have already noted the work of Gluck (Hannah Gluckstein) in my sketchbook and notes.

Women artists and their art

The essay author acknowledges that women as subjects of art, and indeed women as artists (and that’s another whole subject) were changing at the time this was written.  Indeed, by the 70s women like Judy Chicago had already started to define what “feminist art” might be.  Yayoi Kusama didn’t seem worried by definitions of what was feminist in her exploration of nakedness in her New York Happenings in the 60s.  Though she had to take pains to insist that she, and her work, was not sexual. (P. 105) Kusama, Y.  2011.  Infinity Net:  The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama.  English Edition:  Tate Publishing 2011.   (Translated by Ralph McCarthy).

Some other examples of women artists who have reclaimed the nude include:

  • Alice Neel’s portrait of John Perreault (1971) which turns convention on its head by showing the male model in a reclining, one might say vulnerable, position. However, as Perreault was gay, and a self-declared feminist, does that put another slant on the matter?  Are gay men more comfortably with appearing vulnerable?
  • Sylvia Sleigh, who also painted Perreault and his contemporaries.
  • Jenny Saville, whose honest, large-scale paintings depiction strong, real women.

Finally, I note the work of artist Poppy Jackson who is herself the artist and (nude) subject.  As part of the Spill Festival last November she boldly positioned her naked self atop a roof ridge as an action art piece Site.  It put me in mind of Anthony Gormley’s rooftop statues.  But while Gormley’s statues were replicas of himself, Poppy Jackson was allowing her real self to be seen – in all its vulnerability and courage.

Update 6th July 2017


I have been researching Egon Schiele as part of looking at portraits and I discovered that in relation to his nude paintings/drawings that “Accusations of pornography dogged him almost from the beginning of his career” (Vergo, 1981: 214).  This is another area I hadn’t considered.  The dictionary definition of pornography is that it is “the portrayal of sexual matter for the purpose of sexual arousal.” This is another area probably worth an essay on its own.  Why might Schiele’s work be described as pornographic when, say, Hokusai’s is merely erotic (which has a very similar dictionary definition)? And why shouldn’t art be “erotic” or “pornographic”, as long as neither vulnerable subjects or viewers are involved.  For Schiele “sexuality was … a vital source of inspiration” (Ibid) so his art was sexual.  It’s part of life.  Other people like to draw flowers (Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers were described as being sexual –  but she denied this was her intension.)


Project: Exercise 2: Three figure drawings

The aim of this exercise is to use different tools, materials and supports to work on a standing, seated and lounging model.  There wasn’t any opportunity to move around the model in the packed life drawing class but the model did assume a number of different poses which set a range of challenges.

I had hoped to work over two lessons with the same model for this exercise but unfortunately the model couldn’t make it the second week so I have included here what I managed to do in one session, and included a few from another session with a different model.


Two minute studies standing (Figs 1. and 2.)

Standing 1
Fig. 1. Standing arm raised.  Pencil on cartridge paper.  A3.  2 minute sketch.
Standing 2
Fig. 2. Standing leg raised.  Pencil on cartridge paper.  A3.  2 minute sketch.

These are more sketches than studies I think.  I only aimed to achieve line and indicate position on limbs and where the balance was.  In Fig. 1. I aimed to look at the relationship between the raised arm, the head and breast.  Fairly obvious I know, but raising the arm also lifts the breast, and from this angle obscures some of the face.  This would have been an interesting area to return to for a longer study but I guess it would be difficult for the model to keep her arm raised for any length of time.

In Fig. 2. I think that line of the shoulders (sloping) and the relationship between the head and the legs show that the model’s weight was on her right leg.

Five minute study standing

Ink standing
Fig. 3. Standing. Tombow pen and wash. Some crayon. A5. 5 minute study.

In Fig. 3. the model was standing with her weight on her left leg but it was crossed behind her right leg, giving her a slightly off-balance look (it would have helped if I had drawn her legs below her knees).  Again, the slope of the shoulders and the position of the head help to indicate where the balance lies.  Tombow pen is water-soluble so I used a wet brush to spread the ink to indicate areas of shadow.  I think that this gives an added sense of weight to the figure.  I started to add some additional texture with crayon but the time was up and the model changed pose.  There wasn’t time in the class to do a longer standing drawing.  I will have to see if I have time to do another longer standing drawing of another model to insert here.


5 Minute studies

Seated 1
Fig. 5. Seated. Willow charcoal on sugar paper. A2. 5 minutes.

I wanted to capture more of the upper body and arms crossed at the wrists in this front-facing drawing (Fig. 5).  The willow charcoal gives it a soft feminine feel and I am pleased that I haven’t overworked the facial features but just hinted at them.  The darker tone in the background offsets the delicate marks well.  I also like the hint of harder edges to the charcoal here and there.  It’s amazing what you can do in 5 minutes if you don’t over-think things too much.

Seated 2
Fig. 6. Seated. Willow charcoal on sugar paper. A2. 5 minutes.

The model obligingly turned around so that I could draw her back view (Fig. 6.) also in willow charcoal.  Again I attempted a darker background next to her face and tried to capture the slight twist of her torso as she was looking to her left.  The back and spine were interesting and would have deserved a longer study in themselves.

Thumbnails and longer studies

The model assumed a semi-reclining position for the longer studies.  I wanted to get the whole figure on the page, and fill the page up, so I decided to do some thumbnail sketches first (Fig. 7.).

Fig. 7. Thumbnails. 4″ x 5.5″

Although I was pleased I had got all the figure in the left sketch there seemed far too much background for a pleasing composition so I played around with cropping the thumbnail.  I did a separate thumbnail of the detail of the head to help me with the final drawing too.

Despite all my planning the figure in the final drawing (Fig.8.) still turned out smaller than I wanted it.

Seated ink
Fig. 7. Ink and stick on watercolour paper. A2. 40 minutes.

I had used stick and ink in still-life drawing and wanted to try it on a life drawing.  I was probably a little more inhibited than I could have been but I am fairly pleased I have managed to capture the image.  I aimed to have heavier lines to indicate weight and tone but have over-used them in places (model’s right hand foot).  The scraping marks with the side of the almost-dry stick are useful, again to indicate tone and shadow.  The foreshortening of the model’s right leg was particularly tricky but I tried to isolate the shapes.  I judged the size of the foot relative to the model’s head – though the foot may still be a bit small.

We had a break after 40 minutes and had another 40 minutes to go so I thought I would start another drawing of the same subject in a different medium (Fig. 8.).

Seated pencil
Fig. 8. Graphite pencil on cartridge paper. A2. 40 minutes.

Using pencil gives a much softer feel to the drawing and, in my view, suits the model better.  I tried a contour approach trying to keep the pencil on the paper, but I fear I have “outlined” too much.  I spent a lot of time trying to get the foreshortened right leg right.  It’s getting there but I am still learning to record what I actually see rather than what I think it should look like.  For the feet I was trying to channel Henry Moore, I think the scribbly approach works well with lighter and darker marks.  I didn’t have time to apply this approach consistently across the drawing.

I left my guideline marks in.  I drew a vertical line so I could see where the head came in relation to the knee and the torso.  The head was on a slight tilt so I drew diagonal lines to indicate this.  I had to change the model’s right shoulder position as I had initially drawn it much too broad.  This then put the bottom of the body out of kilter but I didn’t have time to adjust it.

Another model sitting and lounging

I am not sure that the model in the previous drawings could be said to be “lounging”, more like semi-recumbent.  So I thought I would include here some drawings I did of another model who is both seated (Figs. 9 and 10.) and definitely reclining (Fig. 11).  The model was of a similar curvaceous stature to the last model.

Seated 4
Fig. 9. Black conte on drawing paper. A3. 5 minutes.

I like the sharp edge to the conte stick, though I am note sure it is the best thing to depict a curvy female form.  Her arm in particular appears more muscle-bound than I intended.  Indicating the spine gives the body a sense of form.

Seated 3
Fig. 10. Charcoal on sugar paper. A2. 10 minutes.

The softer charcoal better represents this model’s curves.  I struggled to get the legs right on this one but managed to capture something of the chair and room to place the model in her setting.

Fig. 11. Conte and charcoal on drawing paper. A3. 30 minutes.

In this final drawing of a lounging figure I combined the hard edges of conte stick with some softer willow charcoal.  The biggest challenge on this was the foreshortening of the model’s left leg and the model’s head which was at an angle away from my position so I knew I had to keep it smaller relative to other parts of the body.  I drew the line of the torso (marks retained) so that I could gauge relative positions of the hand legs and face.  The model’s right foot is unconvincing.  It looks too sharply turned to the model’s right and is too small.



Project 4: Structure: Exercise 1: The structure of the human body

I have started a new sketchbook for this exercise.  I am hoping that Leonardo Da Vinci will inspire me.  I have found Life Drawing Class by Diana Constance invaluable for my learning on life drawing and many pages in this sketchbook draw on the book’s contents.

sketchbook cover

Most of my commentary is written in the sketchbook but I may add some further reflection in my blog as I add pages.

Body 1Body 2Body 3Body 4

More to add as I complete more drawings in sketchbook.

Additions 2nd July 2017.

Leg and arms bones.

Leg and arm bones
Leg and arms bones

My hand.

My hand
My hand

Quite a few discoveries looking at my hand.  First, I have so many lines and marks on my hand – the few scribbles I have added don’t do them justice.  Second – I have discovered a new bone in my thumb!  Daft I know, but I didn’t know how long the thumb really is if you count its length from the third joint which comes nearly to the wrist.  Knuckles are hard to draw.  Interesting exercise.  Who knows what I will discover when I draw my feet.

Update 19th July 2017:  My feet

I decided to try a different drawing approach for my feet.  I started by incising the outline of my feet (taken from a photograph) in my sketchbook and then drawing over with the broad edge of a graphite stick so that the incised outline could be seen (Fig. 1.)

Feet 1
Sketchbook Feet 1.

Then I worked into this with hard and soft graphite pencils and a putty and hard rubber, and added some Tombow pen for the stool (which was probably a mistake) (Fig. 2.)

Feet 2
Sketchbook Feet 2.

The graphite, smoothed out and left rough, allowed me to capture the different tones and textures of the feet.  I am not sure about the incised line though as it looks a little artificial – I could go over it with a fine pencil I guess, but I am going to leave it as it is for now as a reminder of my technique.



Project 3: Exercise 4: Energy

I had already practised some marks and approaches on energy and movement in my sketchbook (see Blog entry 16th June 2017).  I tried to let myself go a bit with these drawings.  I did enjoy the exercises but I think I have probably overdone the lines a bit and therefore have achieved some muddled results.

Energy 1
Fig. 1. A2. 5 x 2 minutes in a variety of media.

For this drawing (Fig. 1.) the model moved to a different pose every two minutes.  I aimed to use a different medium for each pose and I rotated the sugar paper each time I finished a pose.  I tried to add some “flowing” marks to indicate movement, but I fear they just look added in for effect (which they were).  Probably the poses weren’t dynamic enough.  I feel that “Energy” needs to be about the pose as much as the mark-making.  I do like how the face of the model (top left) stared wistfully out of the chaos.

Energy 2
Fig. 2. A3. Charcoal and crayon on paper. 5 minutes.

For Fig. 2. I wanted a sense of the model moving forward – a little like the repeated images of Duchamp’s Nude Descending.  I also wanted to capture the sense of the right hand image “walking” off the page – which again helps to describe movement.  (Again see Blog sketchbook entry for 16th June).


Life drawing: mono-prints

Having practised some mono-printing in my sketchbook I thought I would try out a few life images.  Having found that watercolour was not successful I dug out some old printing ink and worked with them.  I understand that you can also use oil paints but I didn’t have any of those.  Basically, you can use anything that doesn’t dry out quickly.

I started by using a half-drawn sketch of a life model that I had to abandoned Fig.1.).

Drawing for print
Fig. 1. A2 pencil on sugar paper

This was a 30 minute drawing that I had got wrong so many times (you can see the rubbed out lines right to the top of the page!) that I had to give up on it as we moved to another pose.  However, I liked some of the lines in the middle section.  So I took a photo and cropped it to A4 and used that for a mono-print (Fig. 2.).

Print from drawing
Fig. 2. Mono-print A4.

This was a fully inked glass plate; plain white paper placed on and image drawn on reverse.  The cropping shows some interesting negative space and the mono-print lines add interest.  I could do more work on this but decided to try some other mono-prints.

Plate running 1
Fig. 3.
Plate running 2
Fig. 4.

Sticking with ink I tried drawing into the glass plate again (Figs 3. and 4. ) to see if that would work.  I wanted the figures to indicate movement (walking around a room).  Fig. 3. I took out some ink with a cloth and then wetted the plate with dropped of water.  For Fig. 4. I used a paper towel and the end of a brush to make some marks.  Again, I quite like both these temporary drawings, which I am glad I recorded.  Because the results on paper again were a bit of a disaster (Fig. 5.).

Fig. 5.

The watery one (left) gives some interesting blobs but the main image didn’t come across at all.  Perhaps the ink wasn’t thick enough or I didn’t press hard enough.  Same for the right hand print.  I will have to research this method further as I think it has potential.

Then I decided to go back to the method of mono-printing I knew did work.

Print after Durer
Fig. 6. Print after Durer

This very rough copy of Albrecht Durer’s Study of Eve was done directly on to a black printing ink ground on glass.  The composition is interesting and shows the balance of the figure, but I have put the feet too near the bottom of the paper again.  I must learn to consider the length of the figure better, even when doing a sketch.  I do like using coloured paper for images/prints as it adds another dimension to the drawing.  Must try different colour inks too and drawing on the mono-print.

In Fig. 7. I did just that.

Print and tombow
Fig. 7. Mono-print and Tombow

I drew a mono-print from a photo of a nude reading a book.  Then I added some dark lines and detail with a black Tombow pen.  I started with a life-like drawing but stylised it with the marks so I think it now looks Oriental.  The Tombow marks show up grey-ish in some areas of the photo but this less or not apparent in the actual drawing.  Though I have noted that if I am adding to a print that I need to consider if the ink matches or if I want a contrast.

Sketchbook: Movement

In preparation for Exercise 4 Energy I practised some mark-making and ideas in my sketchbook.

Sketchbook Page 21
Sketchbook A3 Page 21 Movement
Sketchbook page 22
Sketchbook A3 Page 22 Movement

I have been reading some research on how we perceive placement of a figure on the page.  I have hinted on this in the sketchbook but I will write up more fully when I have finished reading.

Sketchbook page 23
Sketchbook A3 Page 23 Movement Duchamp and Rodin

I took inspiration from Marcel Duchamp (Nude Descending) and Auguste Rodin (Cambodian dancer in profile) for page 23 of my sketchbook.  I tried to emulate the Rodin drawing in watercolour and pencil.  I was worried that the pencil wouldn’t work well on damp paper but it was fine.  I used watercolour paper so it was sturdy enough when damp.

The Rodin drawing has achieved a sense of lively movement through the fluid medium used and the loose but accurate way the body is described.  I like the way the background adds to the sense of movement too.  My figure is a little too stiff but it is a method I am now keen to try for a life drawing.

Duchamp’s method of depicting movement was to duplicate the figure in a series to show changes in level (walking down a stairs) and forward movement.  I tried to attempt to roughly copy this by a printing method.  I had a glass plate with some grey watercolour paint on which I wetted and drew into with a cloth (Fig. 1.)

Duchamp plate
Fig. 1. Glass, watercolour A4.

I liked the outcome which I think did convey a sense of movement.  I then decided to try a mono-print from this.  The problem was that the watercolour had dried and I know that if I tried to wet it I would  lose the marks.  So I tried to apply wetted rice paper to the plate.  And that was not at all successful.  It just turned out a muddy mess.  However, I was glad a took a photo of the plate with marks on it, which I guess was a temporary drawing (remember those in Part One?) and I have put the photo in my sketchbook.



Project 3: Exercise 2: Essential elements

The drawing class didn’t accommodate six different ten minute poses, but I have here five different five minute poses and two different 20 minute poses. So they just about add up to the same drawing time.

For the five minute drawings I didn’t attempt tone but concentrated on form and proportion.

Five number 1
Fig. 1. Conte. A3.  5 minute drawing.

Fig. 1. Head and neck a disaster, I have made some attempt at getting the models stance right and a tiny bit of tone.  Model lit from front right.  Drawing too small for the paper – needs to fill paper more.  Figure not grounded in background.

Five number two
Fig. 2. Charcoal. A3. 5 minute drawing.

Fig. 2.  Filled the paper more (I intended to crop this one).  Head too big.  Arms unconvincing.  Not sure I know what to do with charcoal.  Too tentative – should use broader sweeps and bigger paper.  I haven’t forayed into A1 yet but have had better outcomes with A2 but it’s expensive for warm-up drawings.  Perhaps I should try newsprint paper?

Five number 3
Fig. 3. Pencil. A3.

Fig. 3.  Tried drawing with a continuous line with this one – not taking pencil off paper.  Should have more internal lines, and all the lines too similar in weight.  Didn’t manage to get the lower legs on paper, though I did intend to.  Must make more effort to establish the middle of the drawing and work from there if I intend to get all of the figure in.  Not much going for this drawing.

Five number 4
Fig. 4. Pencil. A3.

Fig. 4.  Still working with continuous line in pencil.  It is working better in this drawing across neck and chest area.  Foreshortening on front leg starting to work but the model looks a little unbalanced (which he wasn’t).  Started to establish some background to ground the figure.  Proportions not bad.

Five number five
Fig. 5. Pencil. A3.  5 minutes.

Figure 5.  Starting to get a hang of this contour drawing lark and have started to add some firmer marks which add weight and solidity to the figure.  This is the most successful drawing I feel because of this.  The proportions look sound too.  I indicated the pillow that the model was kneeling on to ground the figure.

We then went on to draw two twenty minute poses.

ten minutes 1
Fig. 6. Pencil and charcoal. A3. Twenty minutes.

Fig. 6. For this drawing I used pencil contour drawing again but added some tone with hard charcoal.  The model was lit front right.  I think the seated position is fairly convincing and I have attempted foreshortening with the model’s left leg, which isn’t bad but the foot is too small.  The face is sensitively drawn and not a bad likeness.  The tone is only basically put in and in places the hard charcoal is too severe (model’s right thigh and the stool).

ten minutes 2
Fig. 7. Pencil and willow charcoal. A3. Twenty minutes.

Fig. 7.  Contour pencil drawing again, but this time with willow charcoal applied and rubbed in.  I also tried varying the pencil line strength.  Overall I think this is starting to be a successful way to work for me.  The pencil and charcoal could be bolder in places but for a 10 minute sketch I am pleased with this.  I feel that I have the model convincingly placed on the chair too.  I paid attention to the angle of the body and the arm and both legs.

Updated comments 6th July 2017.  I have been re-looking at the pencil and charcoal studies of Jenny Saville and reflecting on how I used pencil and charcoal in these sketches.  Jenny Saville often uses layering in her drawing work, she appears to use a rubbing out and adding back method, not dissimilar to that of Jeanette Barnes (though the latter works with buildings rather than bodies).  Saville uses “narrow marks [that] allude to the shapes and forms, and broader marks [for] … internal surfaces.” [Reference: Ashmolean Notes for secondary teachers:  Jenny Saville Drawing 15 October 2015 – 10 January 2016]

If I were to do these studies again (and for a longer pose) I would try to get more depth by aiming to consider Saville’s approach.  Perhaps having some tone in charcoal on the background to start with would allow me to erase and draw over to give a more layered effect.