June 16th – 22nd
I have quite a big update for you all this week!
Week 13 marked the beginning of Pencil Kings’ Figure Drawing Challenge 2014. The aim of the challenge is to improve your figure drawing skills by completing set homework utilising techniques demonstrated by Sycra in a daily instructional video.
Day 1 – The challenge commenced with the task of practicing measurements and repeatedly drawing out the proportions of the standing figure (or ‘stickman’), 8 heads in height and viewed from the front.
I found the exercises for practicing measurements particularly helpful; by ‘ghosting’ – that is, moving your hand over the drawn line until you get a sense of its length – it became much easier to divide or double lines in equal segments.
After practicing measurements and proportions, we were then encouraged to experiment drawing the stickman at different sizes (keeping to the 8-head proportions) and body shapes.
Day 2 featured learning to draw the stickman from the side view, including how to draw the head and placement of the ear and neck.
Day 3 involved using the ghosting technique and/or your pen as a reference to find and draw more accurate angles. I felt a little silly that I hadn’t utilised these techniques before; they make it so much easier to place angles, such as the shoulders and the hips, and create more faithful studies.
For those who aren’t aware of the pen method (is there an official name for it?), basically you hold up your pen at arm’s length and use it to gauge the proportions or line angle of the object you’re studying. In this scenario, you can hold the pen at a horizontal or vertical to the observed line and better judge the angle you want to draw (Eg. How far off is it from being flat or upright? Is the angle above or below 45°?).
After practicing the techniques by looking at angles around the home (seen below, in #1) we then studied the angles in photo reference to put the stickmen into action.
In Day 4 we were introduced to the line of action and basic gesture to encourage more movement in our stickmen sketches.
The line of action (seen as magenta lines in #2, below) is used to indicate the movement and directional thrust of the figure. It’s established by observing the dominant line, usually a blend of the line of gravity, the spine or centre line of the body.
Homework for the week wrapped up with making stickmen studies using photo reference and then creating a page of stickmen in various poses from imagination.
The first 4 days of homework were mostly in my comfort zone, but the content is fairly fast paced, so I’m bound to run into some discomfort (growth!) soon.
A big positive of following the challenge is that it is teaching me to have fun and experiment. I’ve been drawing more faces from imagination, playing around with proportions and seeing what works. (The small sketchbook also has a few studies of people on the train).
Now onto the 3rd Anatomy Turnaround Sheet:
I felt a bit rusty drawing the full figure from imagination, since I’ve been so focused on stickmen lately, but, here they are nonetheless!
Some thoughts on my latest anatomy turnaround sheets:
- Proportions, particularly the widths are looking better than before
- The arms and hands (claws??) still need more work
- The figures are looking less stiff
- Still needs more work but, the feet finally have ankles!
- Slope of the calves into the ankle have improved
- The 3/4 view is still a bit of a mess, but the weight is more evenly balanced in these iterations.
Overall, I’m happy with how my skills are progressing. One difference I discovered while sketching was that I’m picking up on more mistakes and correcting them as they happen, rather than leaving all the revisions to the end. Seems my knowledge is expanding!
As for what’s next, I will stick with The Figure Drawing Challenge until its conclusion in 3 weeks, then decide what to study from there.
Until next time,
x Kristy Kate
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