Looking back at the first session, I can see that the proportions of the body are off. I was drawing the body way too big to be able to fit it all on the page in most of them because I was not looking at the body as a whole, rather drawing one limb at a time. This makes it difficult to get the shape of the body correct but also fit everything on the one page. It also takes longer to draw because I was measuring as I was drawing instead of getting the basic shape down before starting on greater detail. Michael gave me some feedback on this explaining how it would help to use a stick man and more S and C curves. This would help me have a free arm but also to get the structure of the body down whilst capturing the movement.
I found that within the following weeks, I started to show the movement of the model more (2+ sketches per page helped). I may not have got the full body completed, but using the stick man to lay down the structure helped improve the proportion in my drawings; slightly, but it helped. I found that using the dark and light shades of conté on the same page allowed me to demonstrate the movement from one pose to the next. We had a few practices of drawing without looking at the page (right image). It was hard not to look down but I realised whilst doing this that I wasn’t scared of messing up my drawing, probably the aim of the task but it benefitted in the sense that I wasn’t as uptight when drawing.
After the warm up, practicing what I had previously, it’s clear to see that the body proportion looks a lot more realistic and it all fits onto the page; a benefit of the stick man trick. Michael also showed us how to use circles to highlight the hips and torso – to draw these whichever way the body was positioned (squashed, stretched, tilted etc.). We had another task of sketching what we could in 15 seconds, rather than our usual 60 seconds. This encouraged me to get the basics down; to show the whole pose before trying to add detail, if there was any seconds spared. After this, moving on to the head close ups (5 minutes given for each drawing). This was all about perspective and using basic shapes to demonstrate which angle the head was at. Drawing the head is not a personal favourite, however, Michael explained that starting by drawing the shape of the skull first would help with proportion, which it did slightly but I need to practice.
Turning the model into Dirk the Daring was interesting. The use of basic shapes was crucial in this task because Dirk’s torso and hips were made up of 3; a half circle, square and triangle. Drawing these in after the stick man made it easier to place the other segments of his body. We practiced with a straight forward standing pose before more intricate poses. The highlighting of the torso and hips tip from previous weeks helped in this session as we turned the model into a character.
In this weeks practice session, I could see my sketches improving. Using S and C curves, using a stick person to set the structure of the pose and highlighting the torso and hips were all things that I thought about straight away when drawing as if it was planted in my head. Although, I may not have got a sketch fully complete, but I was able to get the basics down so that even without the model in front of me I could more likely draw them from what I already had down on the page. This was also the week of Madam Mim. Instead of just drawing what I seen it was about what was under her skirt… meaning the basic shapes of the body and how they were positioned to influence the shape of her skirt.
Regardless of improvement with body proportion, I was advised to start thinking about the environment and relating the pose to whatever was surrounding. The main item was a platform that the models worked around so I tried to interpret it into the sketches. Nonetheless, it still looks like the model and platform are floating. To improve I should have considered perspective better when sketching the platform with each change of pose.
To draw hats on heads, again, it is best to start with drawing the skull before the completed head and then adding the hat from there. I can still see that proportions of the head are not correct so more practice is necessary. With that, hopefully, if I draw a hat on a head it will look normal… depending on the size and shape of the head of course.