Sketching the figure: two perspectives

A week ago, I invited Tony, an artist friend, to join me in a figure sketching session in my home. I am lucky to have a private and reasonable-sized room to work in. I’d had asked Ayla to model again, as I was keen to get more figure sketching done. I wanted, and needed more practice. This time however, I was just going to ‘do it’ and not stress about outcomes. We began with two minute sketches, which I find a little fast, but went with the consensus. Yeah! I enjoyed it; standing at my easel, using A2 paper, extending my arm and moving my graphite like crazy. I always want more time, as I take too long sorting myself out before I put graphite to paper, and tick-tick I am racing to beat the clock. So, make that a 90 second sketch.

2 minute sketch

It was fun working with someone who is also interested in figure sketching. I always knew that I talked aloud while working, but soon the room was filled with mutual artist mutterings, sighs, and aahs, as we tackled our pages. It is usual to start with quick poses, have the model rest, discuss what kind of pose we would like, and one the model is happy with too. We moved into ten, then twenty minute sketches, changing mediums for different effects. I was enjoying the standing poses, but suggested Ayla wrap a sarong about her hips for one. I decided to use graphite for the body and pastel for the fabric. I like the juxtaposition of both colour and movement of the cloth. Not sure why my cream paper looks so grey in the image. Maybe it’s the photographer – mm?

20 minute sketch– graphite and pastel

I really liked what Tony did with this pose. For some time I have observed the different approach to drawing men often have; being less hesitant with their line and bolder with colour, for instance. I like the way the crumpled paper aids the sketch, and the highlights of vibrant blue. 

Tony’s sketch – oil pastel on brown paper

Next, was a reclining pose, where the cloth surrounding the model gave contrasting colour and pattern.  I used graphite and pastel again, rubbing with a finger to quickly gain more tone. I am planning to do more figure sketching next year, and shall ask Ayla, and other models to join me in these sessions. I enjoyed working alongside another artist too, as there is always something to learn from others in their approaches to drawing from life. It was a very good session. 

My 30 minute sketch– graphite and pastel.

Thank you again Ayla, it’s been great having you model. And thanks Tony for sharing your work on this post. 

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