Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Back to the book, Expressive Figure Drawing, by Bill Buchman.

The last exercise in the previous section on Line was to create a continuous line drawing, then go back in with ink or paint and make some shadowed shapes.  I used my Tombow pen (which is water soluble) and then brushed around with the ink in the Tombow or some added watercolor for color.

Now we go on to the next section, Structure.  The author uses the structural method of drawing:  reducing the human body to a small number of distinct sections.  You've probably seen this before - using:

1 oval = head
4 cups = shoulders and breasts
2 balls = kneecaps
12 cylinders = neck, upper back, torso, arms, legs
1 modified cylinder = pelvis
2 wedges = hands
2 triangular solids = feet

(The picture - upper left - is the author's drawing of the structures of the body.  The picture - lower left - is the structures showing the "hinged I" that makes up the torso of the body.

I began by drawing a "hinged I" from a photo in the book.  Then, on the same page, I drew the body structures around the hinged I.  Finally, I filled out the body shapes still using the idea of the hinged I for a structural basis.

It's interesting that you get a sense of movement in just the stick figure.

The first real exercise in this section was called the Structural Shapes Exercise and we are to draw, with a continuous line, the structural gesture of the body.  Using a thick sharpie or other thick marker, draw while looking at the shapes and structures of the body, fitting them together as you go.

Instead of following that exercise to the letter, I taped the body structure using masking tape and then painted around it, trying to fill out the body shape around the foundation.  Kind of interesting result.

We'll continue on with more structural exercises next time...


jgr said...

Rhonda, these figures are looking great!

Dee Doyle said...

Wonderful interpretation of the the lessons in Bill Buchmnan's book. I bought the book because Myna WAcknov recommended it, because I believe YOU recommended it. I, too, am working my way through the various exercises and find them invaluable. Your work inspires me to take the exercises more seriously!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

You are so good doing all this practice work with figures. Love the battered scruffy crow you are painting. Sorry about the ceiling/roof leak - hope its not too expensive to repair.

AK said...

I could not understand the technique but the end product is so simple and eye catching.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Jane.

Dee, thanks! I bought the book because Myrna recommended it and am enjoying going through the exercises and reading about it - any good foundation in figure drawing is good for me :)

Thanks, Joan. The crow is still sitting there, waiting for me to do more - but he seems pretty happy to be inside :)

Sorry you couldn't understand the technique, Asit. Really, it's to create a "hinged I" using the top of the I as the shoulders and the bottom of the I as pelvic area and the straight line I is the backbone. Then put in the structural shapes (cones, balls, etc.) around those shapes like the drawing and go from there - this way, you set the body's stance/position and build up around it - like you've got a wire base and are sculpting with clay around it, building up little by little. That's how I look at it, anyway.

Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

My fav of all of these you are doing is the top pose with the female leaning against the pedestal, that one is just so evocative and expressive with just a few lines to suggest mood. You are building good foundations with these studies, something I usually don't have the patience to do, I usually just jump right in to the paintings and that is where I make mistakes in the shapes.

Phoenix Peacock said...

ooo I love this. I like the look of the tape, and I am wondering if you incorporated it or took it off for the final product?

I'd be honored if you would take a moment to give this consideration:

Celeste Bergin said...

great work...looks like you are enjoying the process and thoroughly taking in the advice--love it!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks so much, Susan, Celeste and Phoenix :) Phoenix, I'll check out that site you mentioned and see what it's about - thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

Dee, I spent a while checking out your blog and you've been doing some great figures, too!

Irina said...

I like these dancing people a lot! Feels like it was fun to exercise.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Irina, these were fun to do and pretty easy. My favorite so far is the straight line contour drawings.

Nick said...

Ilike that sketch a lot, Rhonda. Good work!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Nick, I liked that one at the top, too - it's from a site called Live Model Books and they have better lighting than the cds, so far.