This week I continued my focus on figure drawing.
I started off by looking for a different source of models to draw. I felt the sites I was using before were too inconsistent.
I ended up using Croquis Cafe which has models posing in videos on YouTube. These videos are closer to what you might get in a figure drawing class.
At first I just kept trying to do gesture and quick figure studies but eventually decided to switch to focus on drawing the torso. My thinking was that the torso is the core of the body and the core of the gesture so improving my ability to draw it would improve my overall gesture drawing skill. I completed one notebook with this focus.
After that I moved on to a notebook which was focused on drawing heads and faces. I had noticed that I was struggling with faces before this point. At first I used the same figure drawing resource but eventually turned to news and and movie still to get closeup images. This exercise is very challenging and very rewarding. Humans have evolved to recognize faces so capturing a decent likeness in a drawing really tests and pushes your drawing ability.
There are a lot of books that offer methods to construct the face, not to mention the rest of the figure, from certain proportions and shapes. I’ve only ever flipped through these, giving me the basic idea. But I think drawing a lot of faces and heads helps you build a better understanding of those proportions so that when you start using those methods you will start off on better footing.
I suspect with continued study from life and construction you will naturally start to learn how to design and build character traits. I’ll likely start moving in that direction next week by looking at some books about constructive anatomy.
While working on this face notebook I got some conte crayons and tried them out. These seemed like something somewhere between compressed charcoal and Crayola crayon. They feel waxy in your hand but they have a crisp and flakiness to them when you draw. Beyond the drawing feel, I really enjoyed using them for a couple reasons. For one, they make you focus on only major details and shading because they are a bit hard to aim for specific detail. They also give the drawings this sort of noir appearance which I enjoy.
Something I noticed while working on the figure and face drawings was a difference between drawing men and women. I find drawing the figure of women to be easier than men. Since for general figure drawing capturing the gesture is important, women’s tendency towards softer and curvier figures make it easier to see lines of gesture in my opinion.
However this same tendency makes facial drawing harder. I struggled a lot more when trying to capture likenesses of women. I think this is because men’s faces tend to have harder lines which can be easily focused on for likeness. Yet, when drawing from movies and TV I noticed that a lot of the actresses seem to have hard and sharp features especially around the eyes. This is likely partly makeup but it makes me wonder how much of this is designed so that the characters are distinct and memorable.
Near the end of the week I also started another notebook which I’m filling with sketches of random plants and animals. I have a giant natural history book full of pictures of many different species. I just flip to a random page and start drawing. I only made it a few pages into the notebook so I’ll continue that next week.