I teach an Advanced Art International Baccalaureate 1-2 class. The class consists primarily of juniors, though I do have 2 seniors. The students just got their sketchbooks last week and their first assignment was to do a self-portrait using graphite pencil on the very first page. Because I do the assignments with them, and it is due on Monday, I just spent a couple of hours drawing my self-portrait. I had them start their book this way for a couple of reasons: first, it serves as a record of who they are as they begin this sketchbook and second, it shows their skill level at the start of the school year. All of my sketchbooks are begun with a self-portrait and I enjoy going back to see how I have visually changed over the years.
8-18-12, Self-Portrait, graphite pencil in sketchbook
This past Tuesday evening I did go to my life drawing session. Craig was our model; he always takes the most unusual poses. These drawings represent three different 20-minute poses. I worked in graphite pencil in my 11″x14″ sketchbook. I have two more drawings that I started, but I want to come back in and add some more value to them before I post photos. I will try to finish those drawings today, since it is Saturday.
Last night was Life Drawing at Stu’s studio. We had a new model, Vanessa. She was a fairly young, thin, African American model with curly black hair that was hard to capture. It was very refreshing to have a model that was different from our norm.
I worked in my 11″ x 14″ sketchbook, with graphite pencil, and focused on achieving correct proportions first, then with the time remaining in each 20-minute pose, I added value. I was surprised that I was able to accomplish so much in a short pose. I finished the night with what I felt like were 4 decent drawings.
“Vanessa Standing”, graphite pencil in sketchbook
“Vanessa in Profile”, graphite pencil in sketchbook
This past Tuesday was another life drawing session at Stu’s studio. Because I did not want to continue working in soft pastels, I decided to simply use graphite pencil and draw in my 11″ x 14″ sketchbook. I am now on page 175 out of 185 in my sketchbook! This particular book is one I use only for figure drawing; it was begun in March of 2011 and I am about to have it filled up. This is quite a feat for me as I have many sketchbooks, for different purposes, but this is the closest I have come to actually filling every page in a single sketchbook!
I decided to go back to basic drawing with graphite pencil in order to focus on both proportions and value. My first drawing of the night was the larger drawing seen on this sketchbook page. While I usually work my values gradually and gently,I began the night feeling a bit anxious and decided to try and loosen up with rougher marks. I also tried to delineate the figure with adding darker graphite marks in the negative space. For the second 20-minute pose, I decided to work on a portrait of Teresa in the open area of the page. Now I was able to relax and applied the values in a smoother mode. This page is a fairly accurate representation of Teresa. I was calm and relaxed as the night progressed. The contour line drawing of Teresa was begun with light pencil marks that were a bit rough. I was pleased with the contour that I drew, so I went back over and darkened the lines. This drawing might be a starting point for a painting or print in the future. My last drawing of the night was this drawing of Teresa where I worked the values in hatched and cross-hatched lines. I can see this drawing as my next drypoint!
I do feel as if the night’s focus on proportion forced me to really look closely at the model. I think I will do something similar to this at the next life drawing session!