Aim: The object of this exercise is to create a drawing which leads the eye of the viewer into the overlapping twists and turns of the limbs. Use your judgment to make the most powerful statement you can.

Method: Make a drawing of two combined body parts which has a curving or sinuous composition. Look at the curves and the rhythms set up by those curves, the muscles and bones under the skin and the tension and energy they give.

Reflection: How far does your drawing direct the viewer’s gaze? Did you manage to retain the tension in the limbs – or do they seem a bit floppy and directionless? Have you managed to add an extra dimension to what could otherwise be a technical or academic exercise?


The series of drawing across this project were various body bits of family members; my son – Connor, and wife, – Gill.  The media I used was al on paper – one or two which are tinted.    This tinting was suggested by the subject matter and hopefully enhanced it.  Some of the paper tints are a bit subtle and don’t reproduce well in a scan; some of the shades are cream, but look white.  Other darker tints were able to approximate for the middle tone in the drawing.  Drawing materials used : Conté pencil, charcoal, pastel and pencil.  White pastel / Conté was used to heighten some highlights.

There are a few proportional errors in the drawings but I tried to produce them with no erasing of lines; either guide of erroneous!

Connor, clasped hands behind head, charcoal and white Conté on grey pastel paper
Connor at his laptop, not normally a topless exercise. Charcoal on cartridge paper

Connor at laptop, Brown Conte like pencil on cartridge paper

Connor, again topless as he contemplates. Brown Conté like pencil on cartridge paperHow far does your drawing direct the viewer’s gaze?

I have tried to direct the gaze in most of these drawings by using various compositional devices.  To take for example the drawing of Connor resting his chin on the tips of his fingers.  The viewers eye is lead up the arm onto the hand and along the fingers to the chin where the sitters identity is discovered.  A family member would (hopefully) discern that this is Connor other would see a bearded young man.  The viewer’s eye travels down the right arm and instead of off the page the elbow twist brings the view back along the hand and fingers again up to the chin and lower face.

 

Did you manage to retain the tension in the limbs – or do they seem a bit floppy and directionless?

Most of the drawings hint at the underlying structure of the body part in view.  The highlights on the knuckles and wrist bones as well as the tendons in the back of the hand indicate the tension in the limb or joint.  These underlying structures are obvious in the two drawings of hands below.  The bones, tendon and veins shown that this is a real person and not the young man with the bare torso above.

In the final drawing on the tinted tan paper below the feet are twisted and the wrinkles and folds of skin indicate the tension and twist of the feet across each other.

Gillian’s hands joined on her lap.  Graphite pencil on cream cartridge paper.
Gillian’s hands overlapping on her tights. Brown, Conté like pencil on mid-grey tinted cartridge paper

Have you managed to add an extra dimension to what could otherwise be a technical or academic exercise?

I have hopefully added an extra dimension to what could have resulted in a sterile academy style drawings possibly a drawing of a plaster cast limb.  The extra dimension I have tried to add was the this is a live subject.  The fingers rest on the chin of a young bearded man cannot be a plaster cast drawing, there is vitality and life.  The veined and wrinkled hands are the hands of a living middle-aged woman (who is still 21 at heart).  There is life in the feet below, keep watching the toes do wriggle occasionally.

graphite pencil on cartridge paper
graphite pencil on cartridge paper
Tan tinted pastel paper with Pitt pastel pencil in brown sepia and white

 


 

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