ja1307: Hi ja1307 thanks so much for your feedback. I like to try out all the different approaches there are to drawing that I read about. Sometimes it just confuses me but sometimes something clicks and I find it works for me. I actually found the hoover was a real struggle but it hasn't put me off trying this approach again.
I stumbled across a great web site called The Paint Basket Art Community, which has heaps of free art lessons on it (full two hour art lessons. They even have live online art classes every week. I've taken quite a few of the classes and it is a nice friendly community aimed at leisure painters looking to get that professional touch for galleries. I've learned quite a bit about oils and water colour and even followed along to build my own shadow box.
I was lucky enough to attend a four day figure drawing course with Henry Yan. I already had Henry's book but attending this course literally brought the book to life for me and it was a real high point to meet such a great teacher and artist, and to attend an atelier like studio as well. The following posts are my attempts at Henry's techniques. Unfortunately due to low light some photos are quite poor and some of my drawings also!!
Day 1 - 28.8.12
Henry demonstrated how to sharpen our charcoal pencils and how to hold it to create soft, broad lines, with the side of the pencil. Then pulled lines which are thin and sharp. He then showed us how to use the soft broad lines to get quick gesture lines and then how to focus on just a body part using thick and thin lines, soft and hard. After each demo we did a 20 min session of 3 min poses, then 5 min poses with 2 mins for gesture and 3 mins for the body part study. The last session of the day was two 10 minute poses combing all we had learned for the day.
Henry Yan with one of his fantastic drawings.
3 min gestures
3 min gestures
3 min body part studies
3 min body part studies
3 min body part studies
5 min combined study - 2 mins gesture then 3 min body part study
10 min studies combining it all
Last edited by Marian Rowling; October 4th, 2012 at 06:32 PM.
Day 2 - 29.8.12
Today we started of with a warm up of four, 5 min poses. Henry had moved next to me to draw!!!! It was very cool, but I was so intimated and in awe I ended up just freezing on my own drawings, silly me. Fortunately Henry didn't like the light and moved to do his demonstration, had he not I fear I may have not drawn all day...heheh
Today's demo was all about UNIFIED SHADOW SHAPES. Henry took us through how the light was hitting the model, explaining the difference between form, core and cast shadow. He said it was more important to get the shape of the shadow then to waste time rendering it as this could be done later. I wished I could buy a DVD of today's demo as Henry explains everything he does so well. We did two longer sessions of just over an hour trying this.
Although Henry was suffering from jet lag he also did an hour long evening demonstration of his wiping technique for us. Nothing beats being able to sit and watch a live demonstration, I have to keep pinching myself as I can't believe I'm not just dreaming it all.
5 min gestures
1 hour pose, I got lost in all the models stomach muscles!
Day 3 - 30.8.12
Henry demonstrated his wiping technique again for us today before we had a go ourselves. Henry is so skilled he is able to draw directly putting down the exact lines and marks he wants without doing a block in first. This in itself is amazing to watch, but to finish his drawings off Henry goes over his core shadow with quite a heavy application of willow charcoal, which he then wipes over the form with a small folded tissue creating some very subtle, beautiful mid tones.
I didn't really do to well at this technique as I got caught up with the models hair and also I kept redrawing her outstretched arm which was changing after each model break. I only realised after I did the same with the next drawing that this was a big mistake and that I should have just left my first lines and moved onto another area of the drawing. Lesson learned but it did mean I never got far enough to do the final wiping technique.
5 min gestures
1 hour pose
1 hour pose - Henry helped me correct the perspective of her back on this one. You can still see my original line of the spine which I had too far forward making it too thin. It's so great to have a teacher who can correct your drawing and show you your mistakes.
Day 4 - 31.8.12
Henry did a portrait demo for us today. It was amazing to watch and we all sat totally mesmerised by Henry's every word and move. Then we all had ago, but I just didn't feel mine went very well. I kept feeling the proportions didn't look right and again Henry stepped in to help out and correct my eye shape, nose and lips. Feeling that it was not my best effort I decided to throw all caution to the wind and try Henry's direct drawing technique for the last pose of the course.
I started off by drawing in the clearest shadow shape I could see which was the back of the knee on the front leg. I just focused purely on shadow shapes and worked my way down the front leg, then moved to the leg behind up to the stomach and on to the breasts. Sadly time ran out and I didn't get to finish but I felt pleased as this drawing seemed to have turned out much better.
We were all so sad to go and say goodbye to Henry, and already looking forward to Henry coming to the UK again in the not too distant future. It really was a brilliant experience and one I won't forget for a long time. Many thanks to my Sister and Brother-in-law for funding my travel to attend this course. I felt tired and my head was spinning with all the information I had been given but I know that I am so lucky to experience something very special, as this was Henry's first time visiting the UK.
Some dodgy 5 min gestures, I am losing the plot
1 hour pose, not doing so well with the proportions
1 hour pose, pleased to have finished with a better drawing
The cheapest way for me to travel to Battersea for the Henry Yan course was to buy a 7 day season train ticket to London Waterloo. This meant that I got to be a commuter traveling to Clapham Junction early in the morning and also got to spend two and half days in the city of London. I made the most of this and even had a go at doing a little sketch of Tower Bridge and also drawing in the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. I got to see the BP Portrait exhibition and basically had the time of my life soaking up all the art and culture I could.
Here are my sketches from numerous sketchbooks for this 7 day period. All are from life except the drawing of Henry Yan which I did from my photo.
Last edited by Marian Rowling; October 4th, 2012 at 04:48 PM.
So after all the excitement of the Henry Yan course I was really looking forward to getting back to my weekly life drawing class. This is the start of the 4th year that I have been going to this and with my head crammed full of so much information I had high hopes for a good start. They soon disappeared when I started to draw, I guess I just felt a bit confused this week as to what to do. Should I try out some on my new 'Yan' moves or follow my usual routine, or listen to my teachers advice???
So I ended up with a bit of a 'mish mash' of drawings but on reflection I am pleased to try out all these different techniques as I still don't know which suits my own personal style best.
5 min gestures.
20 min pose.
15 min pose.
15 min poses. Trying a few 'Yan' moves!
Last edited by Marian Rowling; October 19th, 2012 at 05:36 PM.
About a month ago I was very flattered when my current employer asked me if I would run an art class for our residents who all suffer from varying brain injuries. I've never done anything like this before but it seemed like a great opportunity to be able to combine my passion with my willingness to help others. In an effort to encourage our residents to attend I decided to do an advert to stick on their notice board. I'm pleased to say this did work and I did have two willing residents and quite a few members of staff turn up for the first class where we all had ago at drawing apples.
Here is the study of apples I did and the advert. If all goes well I am hoping to stick up a different advert each month for them to encourage new interest.
What a wonderful opportunity it must have been to attend a workshop with Henry Yan! I can tell from some of your drawings that you benefitted from the workshop, and I am sure that in time you will see further improvement, as some of the information begins to sink in and the "a-ha" moments strike you. If you permit me, I'd like to call your attention to some of your drawings at Henry's workshop, and say a word or two about what I think worked well in them, making them stand out in comparison to some of the less successful ones.
The first drawing that called my attention was the last 1-hour pose on post #693, the one of the reclining girl. Why do I think this drawing stands out when compared to the other drawings from the same post? The key word here is GESTURE. (Maybe you've heard Henry mention it; maybe some of your other instructors mentioned it before). Gesture, in the context of drawing, refers to the overall thrust of the drawing or a pose, to its rhythm or line of action. In this particular drawing, the gesture is a sweeping curve that goes from the figure's stretched hand and goes all the day through her body and down her knees. It gives the drawing a sense of movement, of fluidity, that is very pleasant. (If you compare this drawing to the one above it, the 1-hour pose of the sitting male model, you may understand better what I mean. In my view, the greatest problem with that other drawing is not so much the excess of details in the stomach area -- though that, too, is a bit distracting. I think that what makes it less than successful, apart from some problems with the proportion of the figure, is that it lacks gesture. When the eye tries to move across and along the figure it cannot find a clear path to follow; it is not led gracefully along the drawing; rather, it keeps stopping at unwanted places.) I am attaching a picture of your drawing showing what I take to be its main thrust, its gesture. Notice how the eye is led along this axis in a flowing, pleasant manner from one end to the other of the drawing:
The other drawing to which I want to call your attention are the two 1-hour poses on post #694. Here, what strikes me as particularly successful is not so much the gesture as the VALUE. As you probably know, in the context of drawing value refers to the range from dark to light. Unlike in the previous drawings, in these two drawings you were not afraid to push your value range: the darks are dark enough, the lights are light enough. (If you compare these drawings with the other one I talked about in the previous paragraph -- the one in which the gesture was successful) you will see what I mean. Even though I like that other drawing because of its gracious gesture, its value range is rather timid. The darkest darks could have been pushed further, for instance. As an exercise, look for those drawings of artists you admire (look at Henry's drawings, for instance), and try to see how dark are their darkest darks. And since value is relational, at the same time check how light are their lightest lights. You will probably discover that, usually, the most powerful drawings are those that possess the broadest value range. You will also notice that, unless it is a very long pose and a highly polished drawing, the values are simplified. Three or four values are often enough to give a drawing a very strong read, if the value range is well-distributed (i.e. if the darkest dark are clearly distinguished from the mid-values, and these in turn are clearly distinguished from the lightest-lights. Problem occurs when these get confused, because then our reading of the drawing will get confused).
bkkm: Hey Brenno it's great to hear from you and thanks so much for the helpful feedback. It's was just so amazing to draw with Henry Yan and it will take me quite a while to be able to take it all in and put it into practice as I still really need to work on some basic foundational skills like proportion and rendering. I always feel so lucky to have artist's I admire help me and I always find it very motivating so thank you again.
kasblue: Hey kasblue thanks so much, I'm glad if I can help others as so many here have helped me I always hope that I can pass something useful on.
Lavender Hill Studios - Foundation Course
I've been very interested in the atelier approach for sometime now and whilst attending the Henry Yan workshop I had the chance to chat and see work by the teachers and students of Lavender Hill Studios. I have to say that I was impressed by what I heard and saw and so I decided to take their 10 week foundation course to find out more. This is a 3 hour evening class that I am taking on Mondays.
Class 1 - We first started out being shown how to hold the charcoal to draw thin lines. Even though I've been drawing with charcoal for some 3 years now I still have difficulties handling it. We then moved on to drawing white blocks in different arrangements followed by a wine bottle, vase and then a teapot.
The object of this lesson is to see the whole by starting with a fixed top and bottom and then sighting by eye to find the width. You then continue sighting to find the next horizontal diving the space for the objects you are looking at. Lavender Hill have some great free PDFs you can download that explain their encasing approach much better than I can. Here is the link http://lavenderhillstudios.com/category/art-articles/.
It also sounds rather simple and easy but I have got into a bad habit of relying on measuring so this is really hard for me to do. It's good though because if I can stick with it and master it my sighting skills will be really good and I should eventually be able to get down a proportionally correct scaffolding for anything I draw. At the moment I seem to be making everything too wide.
White blocks of wood, we did a lot of these.
2. Wine bottle, vase and teapot. I didn't get too far with the vase and the teapot!
Tried using the encasing method to start of my longer poses this week. It's not easy at all so I'm keen to practice sighting by eye whenever I have the chance. Looking at my drawings now they do look to wide to me. Still also trying to render which just felt clumsy. I know I have to keep trying however hard it might be.
So more practice this week with our white blocks of wood. Then onto a wine bottle, teapots and a jug with paintbrushes in it. I felt I did better this week although I am very slow at making my decisions, second guessing myself often. Although this is only my second class at this I can see how important it is to get these first few lines right and how this can help you get the proportions right before getting too far into the drawing and finding out something is wrong.
Artist in training....
Level 11 Gladiator: Essedarii
Thanked 1,024 Times in 879 Posts
Those apples look delicious! Great work in these last few threads and Im glad you found the atelier useful! I like this last 35 minute figure too. Youve really blocked in the light and shadow forms clearly and that adds a lot of strength.
One of my main critiques would be to remember that reflected light, once you move past the core/terminator [however you like to say it, its the same thing], is very subtle. Always a lot subtler than you would expect. Because you have that knowledge, and know to look for it, people who understand what it is really play it up and overemphasise it. As a personal rule I always check by squinting at the subject. If you have done the reflected light in the shadows delicately enough it will blend into the "shadow" almost completely. If it is a little overdone it will stand out, almost like another light section.
Anyway, you normally handle this well, but there are just one or two images where I can see that keenness to get the reflected light in!
Great work on everything else, as always your improvement is really obvious to the outsider! Ill be back to posting soon with my own recent work, but for now Ill have to make do with checking up on your own work.
Thomas M: Ha, Ha Tom I really didn't expect to hear from you for quite some time. I'm sure you are spending every waking second on your TAD studies, so I really appreciate this visit. As usual you are able to see my weaknesses and offer help. I totally hear you about the reflected light. I have been trying to get to grips with my willow charcoal and work on my rendering, but I do struggle both with getting the charcoal to go on as I want and to see that divide between dark and light. SO when I see a bit of light, often reflected, I am going overboard.....guilty as charged....and I must listen to you and stop.
Many thanks as always for all the feedback and help, means so much to me. I hope TAD is living up to your expectations and that you are coping with the work load.
Life Drawing Day
This is my 3rd year of attending the life drawing day and I had a really good time this year. It was a lovely bright sunny day and there was only six of us, so plenty of room. It was a really relaxing day and the time went so quickly.
p sage: Ha, ha Chad I think you could be right, and I've had quite a few more of those that I will be posting. I actually think on that one I decided to try out the 'encasing' method that I am learning at Lavender Hill Studios, hence the slow speed...maybe. Thanks as always for your continued support, it is always appreciated.
Lavender Hill Studios - Foundation Course
So this week we carried on practicing the 'encasing' method. I can't help but think of Rolf Harris whilst I'm doing these and him saying 'can you see what it is yet?', sometimes although I'm doing the drawing I can't! Early days yet.
Vase with paintbrushes.
Vase now lying down with paintbrushes in it. Wine bottle behind and onion in the front left corner. I actually got quite lost with this one, the perspective really confused me. The bold lines on the drawing are my teachers showing my errors. I still couldn't see it though.
Last edited by Marian Rowling; October 25th, 2012 at 02:28 PM.
Practicing shadow shapes from black and white photo ref.
Encasing method and proportion from photo ref.
25 minutes on the train traveling to Lavender Hill class.
Began this as an example to take in to help my students in Art Class. Drawn from life.
Relaxing on the sofa doing a bit of drawing and sketching. Those pears have sat at the end of my sofa for quite a few days slowly going rotten!
Liked the vibrant colours so I tried to do a little watercolour colour study. I didn't fully get the colour of the fabric right but I think this and the drawing would be good enough reference to do a painting from. I was thinking of doing it for a new advert for my Art Class.
Did these quick onion sketches this week in my Art Class to help demonstrate drawing with a pencil for my students. I am finding that due to their brain injuries it is better if I can just show something rather than use a lot of words which can just confuse them.
I thought I would try to explain my methods that I am focusing on at the moment, as it might help me remember what I am trying to do. I sometimes have so much in my head that it is easy to lose focus.
So for my 5 min gestures I am taking the Henry Yan approach of trying to lay in quick gesture lines, sighting by eye, and then if time permits I am going back in to get the contour and shadow shapes using a combination of fine thin lines and soft broad stokes to build tone.
For my longer poses I am using the 'encasing' method. So I start with a top and bottom line, this would be a left and right line for lying down poses. These are my anchors and must not change. Then I sight the overall width of the pose always trying to see the whole. Next I look to see where best to divide the box and begin to lay in the gesture. The object is to only use a few lines, no more than 12, to accurately capture the proportion and movement. Should I achieve this before time runs out I then using my trusty knitting needle to check my proportions and start to look for that dividing line between the dark and light. Next I want to block in my shadow shape in an even mid tone and then proceed on to try to get four values of dark, light dark, light and dark light. Before a final flourish of my wrist to sweep in the subtle mid tones.
Ha, ha, SIMPLE, so why am I making such a hash of this? Well I need a lot of practice, and hopefully one day I will be able to draw and demonstrate my own drawing method like a highly honed articulate master, effortlessly dancing across the paper with my charcoal making drawings of great beauty.
5 min gestures
40 min pose.
35 min pose.
My teacher had a spot light set up this week for a technique he has the new students do, so I benefited from it and was able to see those shadow shapes a bit better.
Lavender Hill Studios - Foundation Course
This week we warmed up doing more gesture drawings of casts. The reason I don't have all the drawings I do to show is that we just rub them out and do another to keep practicing seeing the proportion and gesture. We then had a demonstration on values, edges and the next stage of drawing in the shadow shape and then just rendering it in one dark tone. So just black and white at this stage. I didn't realise we should have changed paper and use a white paper with a tooth that the charcoal can be rubbed into until the end of class when my teacher said ' so why didn't you use the white paper?' DOH!
5 min gestures. I still feel I'm drawing heads to large and legs too short.
40 min pose. Made a mess of the face and got caught up in detail before I had finished working on the whole. I felt the tone on the leg was a bit too dark, but of course with more time I could have fixed this.
35 min pose. This was a challenging pose for me because of the foreshortening of the legs. It took me a long time to get the drawing and before I had finished my teacher encouraged me to fix it with the tone but I couldn't work it out without the drawing.
I do think my general proportions are getting better, although I tend to make everything a bit too wide sometimes. As always I can't wait to try again.
Lavender Hill Studios - Foundation Course
So this week we started out revising last weeks lesson still working from our plaster casts. The studio had run out of it's brown packaging paper that we practice on so we used newsprint. We then watched our teacher go through the same demo as last week which I was glad off as I had forgotten quite a few things. Then onto the white paper to have ago ourselves.
The cast I was drawing from was really tricky and my drawing looked so abstract when I had drawn in the shadow shapes that my teacher said it looked like a Picasso! Once the tone went in though it made a bit more sense. I do find I get lost once I've obliterated half my drawing with tone but the idea is that we then rub the charcoal in to get a lighter dark to which we can add a dark again. Then to add a darker light. Still finding it difficult to clearly see those shadow shapes but I am really enjoying doing this course.
Wow just when I thought I was getting more capable with my drawing we had a whole night of really challenging poses that made me feel like a total beginner again. I personally like being challenged like this and I really liked the poses although I struggled to capture them.
5 min gestures.
40 min pose. The foreshortening on this just totally confused my brain. I spent most of the time working out the drawing. In the last 5 minutes I quickly blocked in some shadow. I realise that I made the front elbow look too short with the tone. Really it went to the bottom of my tone marks but I felt that when I blocked in the shadow shape I totally lost the arm altogether.
35 min pose. More foreshortening. I ended up breaking the cardinal rule of not changing the top and bottom starting marks. I couldn't decide whether my anchors should be left and right or top and bottom. I changed them both to correct the drawing and nearly ended up off the edge of the paper. Looking at it now I think I have made the bent leg in front too long and this is what is throwing the proportions of.
So after a week off for half term I felt rusty and I was pleased we started out we some warm up drawings. My teacher asked if I would like to draw a hand or a foot. I said I didn't mind. He said they were both hard but he thought the foot was harder, so we attempted the foot cast, and yes I found it very hard. I just couldn't decide on the proportions. I kept thinking the toes were too long then too short, then no perhaps they were right and it was the middle of the foot???!!!!! Such a challenge, but I am loving it and the more I do the more I want to do more.
ja1307: Thanks ja1307 I appreciate your feedback, and yes if when my drawings fail I always do learn something. Sometimes it difficult to try and remember it all. I'm currently checking out your sketchbook and I'm really impressed with your own progress.
This is just a bit a fun. The guys over at www.paintbasket.com ran a little competition to design a t-shirt. I wanted to have ago just to test myself and support their community. Usually I have an idea but my drawing skills let me down and I'm unable to draw it up. This is far from the standard I hope to achieve but it is much further than I would normally get, so I am reasonably pleased with my efforts. I don't think fellow t-shirt designers need to be to worried yet!
Hey! Thanks for stopping by my SB
I didnt have time to look through all the pages but I had a good look at some of them and Im just so amazed. The gigantique progress u have made from page 1 to this. Really enjoyed it and I was really glad to see your work today. Made my evening
I dont have any crits myself, I think that your proportions, perspective and values are just popping. I also like the T-shirt design. Good luck with the competition!
Sorry dont have any crits to give more than keep it up. Ill be subscribing.
ninaren Thanks so much for your kind words Nina I really appreciate your feedback and support. I know I am enjoying myself even though my progress is so slow compared to so many here. It's good to know you enjoyed it to and really nice and encouraging of you to say.
5 min gestures.
45 min Pose. I am still trying to see that divide between dark and light. I knew his back looked flat in my drawing but time ran out before I could work out what to do.
35 min pose. This was another one of those tricky foreshortened poses. I took my best guess but I knew I was wrong, so I whipped out my knitting needle and did a few comparative measurements to help me. I could see the dark tones on this pose but again time ran out before I could really get stuck in. All in all I just need a lot more practice
Lavender Hill Studios - Foundation Course
This week we had to draw the cast to illustrate the four steps that we have been learning. This meant drawing the cast four times which was not that easy. I got stuck on Step 1 and it took me quite a long time to work out what lines would communicate the gesture. I thought having done that drawing it would be quicker to do the next but I was still very slow and ended up running out of time for the last step where it should show the full range of values.
I didn't really feel I did this lesson justice but as always I did learn quite a lot.
Here are the steps: Step 1 - Proportion, gesture, negative space. This is supposed to be a quick step with a few lines.
Step 2 - Shadow shapes, refine shapes. Now add in the line that divides the dark from the light. Try to make it as accurate as possible. Include half tone as light and reflected light as dark. Also start to refine your shapes further.
Step 3 - Dark and Light. Next block in just the dark, There should be only 2 values at this stage and do not worry about losing parts of your initial drawing.
Step 4 - Final values. After rubbing all the charcoal into the grain of the paper we go back and add the darks again. the rubbed in value becomes the reflected light. So we have two dark values, dark and light dark. Then add some dark light. So we have four values - Dark, Light Dark, Light and Dark light. Finally add the half tones so you have a full range of tones.
So for those of you who can remember I started this sculpture back in February of this year when I went to a two day workshop. Unfortunately it has sat on the back burner for quite some time waiting to be finished. So it feels really good to have completed it now. I had to give it a name as it's gone into a local open exhibition where I go to do my life drawing. So I decided to call him 'Meringoo'. It's quite exciting as this is the first time I have put anything in an exhibition so it will be interesting to see how it looks compared to all the other art.
I would also like to work out how to make this sculpture in metal as I think it would look nice in my garden. So I shall have to start asking around and researching how it could be done. If you can help please PM me.
"Meringoo' - Paper Maché
Here's a photo of my sculptures, (little angel in the middle, bird on the floor) for my family who won't get to see them.
Last edited by Marian Rowling; December 16th, 2012 at 07:56 AM.