Stand Still, Naked Man

Last week I went to a figure drawing session for the first time in over a year. I’m definitely out of practice. I decided to take just copy paper and my little bag of pens and pencils. Most of these images were done in 2-5 minutes. I started out (above) with a ball point pen. After doing a couple of those I decided to do some in pencil. Unfortunately, I had nothing softer than an F lead, which led to some pretty light drawings (one of which is the next one).
Then I moved on to my Col-Erase pencils, but due to the limited time and the nature of the tool, I really wasn’t able to build up much contrast.

The following images were from the last pose I stayed for. The pencil drawing (which I used Photoshop to bump up the contrast considerably) was a failure in terms of capturing the “gesture” of the model.
In frustration, I turned to my cartooning abilities and turned out this quick drawing which I am much more happy with. The essence of cartooning is being able to distill an image into very simple graphic terms and still get at the truthiness of the subject. In many ways cartooning can be more representative and true than detailed observational, “realistic” drawing. I definitely think that was the case here.

I attended this session with my friend and fellow comic artist, Chris Samnee. He has posted a couple of his sketches from that evening here.
On a side note, I thought our model had a real Terrence Stamp, “Zod” quality about him.

Go Figure

Last night I attended a Figure Drawing group for the first time. I’d been wanting to draw from nude models for a while now (it’s been about ten yrs since I’ve done so) but I thought my only option would be to take a course at the local community college. I didn’t like that I idea because it ain’t cheap and I also didn’t want to feel beholden to a class schedule due to my odd working habits. It would suck to pay all that money and only attend half of the classes. Anyway, this group is perfect for me, they meet twice a week, it’s six dollars a session, and they meet just a mile from my apartment. The group is sponsored by the St. Louis Artist’s Guild and their building is this small mansion that’s almost 200 years old set in a park. The third floor studio is the perfect environ for this kid of work.

I was surprised to see the group as full as it was. There were about 20 folks there and you can come and go as you please. I was afraid that it’d be, like, me and two old women in a room with a naked model–Im very glad it wasn’t that intimate.
I didn’t bring any newsprint or charcaol in case I did feel a need to make a hasty retreat. So, I just had my sketchbook and a bag of pens and pencils. None of the tools were ideal but it was fun, while doing my pen sketches, to try and deal with light and shadow using hatching. I’l probably try that again sometime but right now I’m real anxious to get back in there and push some charcoal around. If there’s anyway I can scan those large images when done then I’ll be sure to post them here.

This session was also interesting because there were two models instead of just one. Apparently, it was the female models first time. I found that fascinating–how do you get to the age of 40 or so and decide that you would like to pose in the nude in front of a bunch of strangers? I couldn’t help but let my mind wander during the session and think about what might be going on in her life, what path she was walking, that brought her there that night. I spent the whole of that session creating little stories for her.