Thursday, February 10, 2011


This first exercise is called The Directional Swaths Exercise and helps you "reduce a pose to its basic directional swaths."  You gain control over the figure by rendering it this way - you see the directions the "hinged I" goes, breaking down the body into 14 segments (head, neck and spine = 3).  The author, Bill Buchman, used sumi ink and a 1 or 2 inch brush but I used Indigo watercolor and my No. 10 round.

I was only going to do the 2 in the box but then decided to try some more so turned the paper and did a few more.  These are fun and usually easy when doing a simple pose.  Just remember to separate the swaths into 14 for the whole body (don't worry about hands and feet).

The next exercise helps you get a feel for the direction of the body angles.  Using a conte crayon, you move the point in a zigzag fashion that replicates the directional movement you see as your eyes travel around the body.  You never let the crayon leave the page once you start. 

I wasn't satisfied with my first effort, so tried this one again with the same photo.  (I think a combination of both of these would be more directional and accurate.)

The author talks about the psychology of perception and how implications of , partial and fragmented images and visual cues will lead the viewer to fill in and complete the drawing/painting.  Let the viewer's mind close the image and don't fiddle with every little detail = less is more.  Well, we all KNOW that, but how many of us DO that?  I know I have a hard time with doing less. 

So I was looking forward to the next exercise to elucidate that idea a bit more.

So...for the closure exercise, the focus is on only what is essential.  With Indigo watercolor and a No. 10 brush, I began putting in some shadow shapes.  The author says "delicate shadow shapes" and I think I got a bit heavy-handed, not delicate at all!

The author, again, used Sumi ink - and says that while the ink is still wet you add a few overlapping contours with a dark water soluable crayon, including ONLY what is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to hint at the action of the figure.

You are to leave out more than you put in and put the crayon down.

I don't think I succeeded with this one when I got to the crayon lines, but I'll try it a few more times to help me know when to stop and leave areas untouched by brush and paint or crayon. 

I know I can do better.  How about you?  Are you going to try this one?

Part I of the book, Expressive Figure Drawing, was about the essentials of drawing.  Part II talks about the different drawing materials, from dry media to wet media and everything you can think of to make marks with, including reed pens, water soluble crayons and oil pastels.  There are only 3 exercises in Part II, which are set up to help you become familiar with those materials you want to try out for drawing; then we get into Part III - Drawing Concepts and Techniques.


debwardart said...

Enjoying these sketches!

Dominic Petersburg said...

very creative!

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

I'm with Deb, and am enjoying your experimentation.
Go girl!

Tim Robinson said...

I am loving your exploration!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks so much, Deb, Pam and Tim :)

Dominic, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Sadami said...

Dear Rhonda,
Thank you for sharing precious hard work. I admire your challenging spirit. Very interesting. I made millions of stick figures on millions papers at primary school time(*I was enjoying making frame cartoons, but all tiny charactures were nearly stick figures. Got excited and had a great fun in their "movements"!). Later, I realized they became the foundation for my figure drawing skills. I never underestimate stick fitures.
Kind regards, Sadami

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Sadami :) I think all of these exercises are laying a good foundation - like every drawing class and figure session, you just keep building on foundations :)