In 2011 I was lucky enough to find a regular figure drawing studio session here in Bruges. Bruno cracks up the jazz and off we go with short or long poses. The four minute poses are great for capturing the gesture quickly and decisively; I usually use cheap tinted sketch paper with a stick of charcoal. The fifteen minute poses allow for more refinement; I usually use toned charcoal or pastel paper, with conté crayon and/or pastel chalks.
Tonight, with Eva, one of our regulars, the Indian girl (whose skin color I find challenging). But this time, she had a more challenging night than I and was a little dizzy during some of her poses. So we all had to slow down and adjust, to accommodate her situation. It’s just like that sometimes. We are no slave drivers (thankfully so). And yet some figure drawing session organizers can be more stern and unforgiving. But certainly not Bruno. So we had a nice chat at the break as she gobbled down a quick snack to help balance her energies. Hope you feel better, Eva!
Two fifteen minute poses. Conté crayon on tinted Canson pastel drawing paper. 32.5 x 50 cm or 13 x 19.75 in.
Three four minute studies. Black charcoal on tinted sketching paper. 35 x 50 cm or 13.75 x 19.75 in.
The model tonight was fantastic. The second time I remember drawing him. He’s really good because he seems to know intuitively what to do. However, even though the model can be fantastic and I resonate with him/her, I can still have a mediocre evening. Tonight was that way, principally, I think due to my own state, as I was not feeling very well. Even in such cases, it’s always good to go out and try, and see what happens.
Two fifteen minute poses. Conté crayon on Canson tinted pastel paper. 32.5 x 50 cm or 13 x 19.75 in.
Four four minute sketches. Charcoal on tinted sketching paper. 35 x 50 cm or 13.75 x 19.75 in.
Tonight a new model. I think it was her first time ever modeling. She was very good. Sometimes it seemed she realized – a little too late – the difficulty of something she had committed herself to, but stuck with it anyway. Bravo!
Below four fifteen minute drawings. Conté crayon and conté pencil on tinted pastel paper. 32.5 x 50 cm or 13 x 19.75 inches.
Three four minute gesture studies. Black charcoal on tinted sketching paper. 35 x 50 cm. or 13.75 x 19.75 in.
Tonight we had one of our regular models, Lisa (or possibly Melissa?, I might have previously misheard her name). Anyway, she’s a good model – and was in her chops tonight. What makes a model good? A feel for interesting poses – and of course – the ability to hold them. What makes for an interesting pose? Well, a little bit of twist goes a long way. It’s not necessary, but if over an evening of about 15 poses there’s not some definitive variety of movement in the torso I have a hard time. (You’d be surprised, some models just move their hands a little for a new pose and think it’s sufficient for generating interest!).
So Melissa was on. She has exceptionally thick hips and thighs (the elephant woman!) and always wears her glasses (the glasses lady!). And I had a good (chakra) night too – the tactile warmth and energy of chalk and pastel on the paper fed into my searching circles, allowing the figure to slowly emerge. I definitely had some throw-aways but amazingly, many of the drawings turned out well. The final drawing of the evening is the featured image here at the top of the page. From my position, it involved direct foreshortening – which is always a challenge – but tonight I just let the chalk follow the sensuous curves. Hooray for bio-feedback!
Five fifteen minute figure studies. Conte pencil and conté crayon on tinted pastel paper. 32.7 x 50 cm. or 13 x 19.75 in.
Four four minute gesture studies. Black charcoal on tinted sketching paper. 35 x 50 cm or 13.75 x 19.75
The model tonight was a new (to me) guy: Frank. Wow! Amazing! Very muscular, very athletic poses, a real Mars-bar with reddish hair and fair skin (playful and silly too). Big head proportionally – yet not out of proportion. A pleasure to draw. The four minute gesture poses really made my day. During the fifteen minute studies, I got a bit overwhelmed by my warm-toned pastels of a warm subject on that warm paper. Luckily, a few made the grade.
Black charcoal touched up with conté crayon. 32.5 x 50 cm. Or 13 x 19.75 in.
Five gesture studies. Black charcoal on tinted sketching paper. 35 x 50 cm. or 13.75 x 19.75 in.
Tonight we had Ina, originally from South America, so Spanish speaking. She is together with a Belgian man with whom they have two children. But the curious thing about her is that she, husband and two children took off from here about two years ago to live on a sailboat and sail around the world. Well, she’s back now. The sailing adventure did not go exactly as planned. 😉 But they are still free spiriting it around Europe living in a camper van and sailing a few months out of the year. So much for the story, here are a few drawings from the evening.
Four fifteen minute studies. Conté crayon and pencil on tinted pastel paper. 32.7 x 50 cm or 13 x 19.75 in.
Two four minute gesture drawings. Charcoal on brown tinted sketching paper. 35 x 50 cm. or 13.75 x 19.75.
Tonight we had Eva again. One of our more regular models. I find her challenging because her skin tones and hair tones both veer towards the cool range chromatically, and for me, drawing the figure is all about creating warmth on the paper.
Tonight (as last week) I experimented with using basic charcoal on the 15 minute poses to very lightly sketch in the figure on the paper first. The point for me experientially is the tactile experience of charcoal on paper. It conveys far more sensation, creating a sort of virtuous (tactile) circle. Once the circle is warm – and the figure has started to emerge – do I segue into the pastels: conté pencils or crayons. Don’t get me wrong, they are tactile, too, just not as intense feeling-wise as plain ol’ charcoal.
Below four fifteen minute poses. Conte crayons and conté pencil on toned pastel paper. 32.7 x 50 cm or 13 x 19 3/4 in.
Below three four minute poses. Charcoal on brown tinted sketching paper. 35 x 50 cm. or 13.75 x 19.75 in.