Observational Life Drawing

Week 1:

A few of teh students on the Life Drawing course
A few of the students on the Life Drawing course

The start of this course got off to a great start with Gesture drawing. My all time favourite drawing exercise to help students, and artists alike, learn to get a feel for the pose, feel the sense of movement inherent in all poses (even seated) and try to capture the real essence of what the pose is all about – basically – sum it all up with as few lines or marks as possible. Sounds easy – but its not!

Gesture drawing
Gesture drawing

There is so much to take in and try to capture on the page the best way is to try to abandon all fear, all worry and try to loosen up – put charcoal to paper – and don’t stop drawing. And anyway – keeping the charcoal moving over the page, through the figure exploring it up and down and all around is the best way forward. What you don’t want to do is get caught up in detail trying to everything ‘right’ – whatever that is!

So here are a few examples of student’s drawings – all about 10 minute poses.

Ink gesture drawing 1
Ink gesture drawing 1
Ink gesture drawing 2
Ink gesture drawing 2

After a bit of practice we started shortening the pose and eventually had poses of less than a minute. I really like these as students have to be really fast and the only way to capture the gesture of the pose is to work hard at getting to the essence by leaving out anything superfluous about the pose that doesn’t communicate the central thrust or gesture of the pose.

Ink gesture drawing 3
Ink gesture drawing 3

After a well earned break we used ink as an alternative way of ‘seeing the figure as a whole’. Working this way means students can’t get caught up in line, segmenting the figure into body parts, which is the biggest obstacle to seeing the whole and expressing the gesture, movement and flow of the human form.
Great results don’t you think?