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Sounds like a beautiful plan Marian, to be creative and to help people I don't think I can imagine a more noble and rewarding career path. May the art gods forever bless you
Thanks for the link, been wanting to try the strathmore paper and generals combo. Seems all the American artists I like use supplies that are not so easy to find in the UK.
That's a lovely portrait - well done. As to the model, it's hard to say if the legs are too short, as men's legs are usually a bit shorter proportionally than women's. It would be nice to see you try to define the muscles etc more as you seem to be afraid to move on from the more general form.
bharat: Thanks bharat the weather here has been the same since before Christmas, mild for the time of year, very very wet and very strong winds. All English people are longing for some dry sunny weather.
Bri in the sky: Hey Bri I to hope the art gods can bless me, if not I shall just have to stick to hard work. Glad I can help with the pencils and paper, they have such good materials in America at low prices so it is good to see some of them here, lets hope more will follow. I always find it hard to find toned grey sketchbooks.
Thanks to you I brought some nail polish remover with acetone. This is a first for me as I have never been one of those girls who paints her nails. I just need to find a fine spray bottle now so I can experiment with some charcoal.
Black Spot: Thanks Black Spot I am glad you like it. I shall try to do as you say, I think it is more because I am slow and have a lack of anatomy knowledge rather than fear, but you are more experienced and may well be right. I would be wise to listen.
Lavender Hill - Term 5
So it's good to be back at class again and we started of doing a portrait which is great as I love doing portraits. As you can see though I have little skill in drawing from life and learning the technique with the charcoal. Photo's 1 & 2 show my start and what I completed at class. My teacher said I had the nose too short and that it is best to work from the chin up.
When I came home I worked from a photo to get to photo 3 and practice working with the charcoal. We don't measure at class only sight using verticals, horizontals and angles. At home I take my best guess and then I do measure when needed. The coloured lines on photo 4 were traced off the photo and show that I got closer but my eye still needs more training. I am getting the chin line too steep and not full enough. This is fun though even if at this stage they look terrible.
Henry Yan 3 day Workshop
Henry Yan with the last demo he did of the workshop.
So when I heard that Henry was doing another workshop I jumped at the chance to go. This is my 3rd workshop and I find that I get more out of them each time I go. Henry imparts so much information that it is good to refresh and remind myself of all I have forgotten. This was really fun and a great boost for the start of the year. I tried really hard this time to speed up my initial block in, sometimes sacrificing proportions, so that I could practice the techniques Henry was showing.
Day 1 - 10.1.14
Henry always starts his workshop by explaining how to sharpen the Generals charcoal pencils he uses. Then we all practice making thin and thick, soft and hard lines. This sounds simple but I think sharpening the pencil and holding the pencil to control it to make the right type of line takes many hours of practice. To build soft lines used to show the muscles and anatomy in quick pose drawing you need to start lightly then go over and over to build up the tone using the side of the lead.
Demo notes: Use soft lines to show direction and capture initial gesture and angles of head, shoulders and hips. Use centre line from pit of neck to judge and work out perspective for width of torso. Indicate centre line for angles of legs, feet and arms. Use overlapping lines to show 3D form. Establish core shadow first with soft, thick light lines then draw darker plane changes with the shadow area by going over the lines to build them up. Cast shadow has harder edge. Use thin pulled hard line to draw contour.
4 x 5min poses - anatomy study
Demo/Notes: When doing quick poses choose what to practice either gesture to capture whole pose or anatomy study. In anatomy study choose parts of the pose that are your weakest of dramatic areas that show muscles. When you get good you can combine gesture and anatomy study. Work towards 2 min for gesture and 3 min for anatomy study.
4 x 5 min poses - anatomy study
Demo notes: Quick pose drawing is good for practicing core shadow edges. To create dramatic core shadows on the model place the light on the opposite side of your view. Exaggerate and push your gestures from 80% to 120%. To make a good drawing focus on shapes, perspective and proportion.
First approach start with angle of head, mark top and bottom. To find the shoulder angle look at the relationship with the chin. Find centre line of torso then look at hip to heel of foot to find leg line. Then arm angles, upper arm to elbow and elbow to hand.
Second approach find shape of hair and neck. Find overlapping lines for compressed body parts.
4 x 10 min poses - gesture study
Demo notes: After blocking in the gesture focus on drawing in the shadow shapes. Use light soft lines. Look for the edges of the shadow and start with the obvious shapes. Block in shadow shapes with a single tone. Look to join all core and form shadow shapes together.
Do this using soft thick lines with no gaps in between, don’t go do dark at first. Then go over comparing areas to see what is darker and build up these lines softly.
20 min Shadow shape study
Notes: All of todays drawings are done with 6B Generals charcoal pencil on smooth newsprint.
40 min Shadow shape study
Day 1 finished with Henry also doing an evening demo of his technique which gives his drawings such a painterly look.
Last edited by Marian Rowling; February 9th, 2014 at 10:55 AM.
Henry Yan workshop
Day 2 - 11.2.14
4x 5 min warm up on newsprint.
Talk notes: Henry started of reviewing the techniques he had done in the evening demo. Use smooth to medium tooth paper for this type of drawing technique. Start off blocking in the gesture and shadow shape with the 6B charcoal pencil. As charcoal pencil is difficult to erase you can start with vine but be careful to not use too much as it can cause problems later when blending.
Create a dark base with charcoal pencil in a single tone first fill in your shadow shapes. Use vine charcoal to go over and darken your core shadows and shadow shape area. Use a folded piece of kitchen roll (paper towel) to wipe from the dark to the light to create the mid tones. Use charcoal in the background around light areas where you need to wipe. Pick out highlights with a putty rubber. You need to have wiped tone lightly on to light areas to do this. Finally use a 4B/2B charcoal pencil to add final details with cross hatching and sharpen shapes where needed.
Henry also talked about the importance of composition and placing the drawing on the paper at a size that will fill it. I mucked up my proportions on the first long pose so I didn’t manage this.
My initial proportions were well off, Henry came along and sorted me out. He said to be careful about the length underneath the chin where it joins the neck. It is a common mistake to make this too long. Henry uses Strathmore smooth drawing paper for these drawings. I was using Windsor and Newton’s smooth cartridge paper for mine.
1hr 20 mins Wiping technique.
2 hours wiping technique.
Henry came and added a lot more charcoal to wipe over the knee area and add the highlights there. I ran out of time to sort the face out and soften the edges.
This is really amazing stuff Marian. Looks like Lavandar hill has really paid of for you big time.
mark maker: Thanks markmaker that is kind. I hope you got my pm about Lavender Hill it has really helped me and allowed me to do these added workshop with Henry Yan. If you ever get the chance I highly recommend Henry’s workshops they will blow your mind and are very different from Lavender Hill’s approach but the foundations they teach are all the same as Henry's foundational advice. It's all about shapes, proportion and perspective to begin. It’s all very good stuff and getting to see an artist of Henry’s skill helps so much and amazes me every time.
Henry Yan workshop
Day 3 - 12.1.14
All to quickly we were on the last day of the workshop. We went over all that we had done on the previous days.
4 x 5min & 2 x 10 min warm up quick poses
20 min quick pose
Gesture and shadow shapes blocked in.
2 hour wiping technique.
Again I got my placement on the paper wrong, too low this time and as I took time to get the proportion right I was rather slow. Henry suggested that I quickly block in the shadow shapes as a single tone and then focus the rest of my time on the head and torso area. Our model was magnificent to draw and come the end of the day I didn’t really want to stop.
Great updates, love that you walk us through the technique, tis really enlightening. We get free tuition thanks to you Really like the wiping technique, nice job Marian, look forward to more.
Wow! great sketches, I have to say I'm impressed and then some.
Thanks for dropping by my sketchbook Marian was good hearing from you. Such wonderful drawings you're creating, and wow, a workshop with Henry Yan? that must have been amazing! please keep sharing!!
Thanks everyone for all your great comments. I have been absent for a while but I hope to get back on track to posting and updating soon and will reply in full then.
Thanks Darkstrider for trying that for me. I did use the upload manager but it was an image I had already uploaded so I just selected it and dragged it down into the box to add it in. I must fiddle and maybe try uploading again.
Bri in the sky: Hey Bri thanks so much for your support. It makes me happy to think I can give something back and help others. I can highly recommend doing Henry Yan’s course if you ever get the chance.
I have been having to juggle work and art and sadly work was winning but I am fighting back for my art. Also I love all the changes to the new site but it has been making updating and browsing in general difficult for me even though I have a fairly new iMac.
Call0ps: Are my friend I did not ever expect to see you posting in my little sketchbook. Your words make me very happy though and you know I really appreciate all your help, support and encouragement.
Mike Butkus: Hey Mike thanks so much. It always mean so much to me when you stop by and makes me want to try even harder.
DefiledVisions: Hey Murli thanks for returning the favour, Henry Yan is amazing and I am very lucky to be able to go to these workshops. If you ever get the chance go to one, watching Henry draw really is magical.
Chronberg: Thanks Chronberg, I am glad to see you back and posting. I always enjoyed your work and really appreciate your feedback.
Black Spot: Hey, hey Blackie you know I really appreciate your feedback and all the time and help you put in here on the site. I was kinda hoping that we might all get to meet up again in the city for some sketching this year but I haven’t heard anything yet.
Lavender Hill - Term 5
I have still been studying away although I haven’t been able to post, so time to catch up. This is another attempt from last term. My original drawing from class was so wrong that I had another go at home from a photo I took. It still was wrong so I did an overlay and I am still working on it to see if I can improve and get more familiar with the method of working the charcoal on the Fabriano paper we use. I still find it quite tricky to handle.
Quick head poses 10 mins.
2 hour pose.
Many more hours at home
You have some incredible work here. Going to really savor looking back through your sketchbook. I love to see the stages and the process you go through. Very helpful indeed.
I'm moving to the south of England in the summer so will definitely look into lavender hill studios.
fatman274: Hey Scott thanks so much for your kind words. I’m not too sure whether you will want to savour anything looking back as I am very much a work in progress myself, but I appreciate you looking and I know I to like to see others stages and progress. I love going to Lavender Hill studios and it has been really good for me. When you do come south give them a call because they can arrange for you to go for a visit of the studios. Also give me a shout if you have any questions or would like to meet up for sketching.
Lavender Hill - Term 5
This is from last term - 2.5 Hours
No way, your sketchbook is so inspiring. Great to see the progression happening from page to page. Your combination of studies, experimentation and drawing from life has really paid off. That head study on your easel in post 422 is amazing. I find charcoal so difficult to handle but you nailed it.
Yep. I will miss Edinburgh but starting to get quite excited about moving south now. I found some interesting art groups in Brighton and the evening classes at Lavender Hill sound wonderful. Just gotta start saving
fatman274: Well thanks for looking so far back Scott I really do appreciate your feedback. I am still finding my way with charcoal especially in the technique used with the Fabriano paper at Lavender Hill. You do need to just be patient I think and of course practice loads.
I only visited Brighton myself for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Lots of interesting architecture to draw but probably not as good as Edinburgh. I am sure it will be a great experience. I hear you about the saving.
Istmin52: Hey Ian I was really pleased to see you back posting and all that you have achieved. Thanks so much for your feedback, I am glad you think my values are improving as I am still struggling to see and do this. Charcoal is something you learn to love over time I still struggle with it but you know me I relish the challenge and don’t like to give up.
Lavender Hill - Term 5
So this is back from last term and it is still the same model that we have been drawing for all the other portraits that term. Viewers may find that hard to tell though! I am still finding it very challenging but this just makes me want to try harder. My teacher said to look at the shape of the chin and work up to get the top lip. This was a useful tip and something to remember for future use. I would like to do a comparison on this and rework it if I get time from a photo I took.
Great to see you posting again Marian Like the charcoals, very soft and delicate. Did you ever give the acetone a try out?
Bri in the sky: Thanks Bri hopefully I will have more time for posting now as I have quite a backlog of work from last term. I did get round to buying some nail polish remover which said acetone on it. I haven’t had a chance to give it ago yet though. Hopefully I can make time in the not too distant future.
Lavender Hill - Term 5
My teacher got me to do a small thumbnail of the pose with just the basic outline, hip and shoulder line. This showed straight away were we had gone wrong with our drawing. I think it is a good idea to get a quick understanding of the pose and work out the largest shapes and proportions.
Lavender Hill - Term 5
We started of with 20 min quick poses this week which I really enjoy doing. I wish I was able to do these from life a lot more as I think this is a step I really need to practice. Then we did a long pose but I didn’t really like the pose as I couldn’t see the legs and I wasn’t really sure how to handle it. It was good practice though as it really made me think about what I was going to do. I was pleased with how I rendered the breasts as I often just make them look like round mounds!
Lavender Hill - Term 5
This week's pose reminded me of Johannes Vermeer's painting - Girl with a pearl earring.
I really enjoyed having a go at drawing this one. I got of to a good start but lost it in the rendering again. It needs more work to soften the edges and turn the forms. One I must do a comparison of and a redraw sometime, I think.
Last edited by Marian Rowling; May 2nd, 2014 at 04:15 AM.
Lavender Hill - Term 5
For the last three weeks of term we were able to paint if we wanted to. I was really excited to try this as it has been over 2 years since my first attempt at portrait painting from a life model and I haven’t had the chance to paint much since. We spent the first week doing a grisaille.
I used raw umber mixed with solvent. Starting of by using a large brush to cover the canvas with paint and then wiping it of with a paper towel. This gives a nice toned background to work on. Then using a small brush I drew in the basic shapes and then blocked in with a larger brush. What I liked most was how fluid and easy it was to change things. I actually scrubbed off my first attempt and started again.
As our model was pregnant I wanted to try a 3/4 pose although this did prove very challenging due to the small size of the features on the head. My arm and hand was very trembly trying to paint small shadow shapes. Hopefully I will build up some muscle tone with practice as I really enjoyed doing this.
Week 1 - Grisaille
After a week our paintings were dry and we were supposed to start blocking in the colour. I didn’t actually end up doing much as I was a little overwhelmed in what to do and where to start. Luckily for me one of the student teachers came into paint and I spent the lesson watching him paint the portrait from beginning to end. It was a big help.
Studio set up
Week 2 - Starting to add colour
I felt a lot more confident in what I was going to do in the last week. I didn’t worry too much about exactly matching colour as I was working with a limited palette of Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Blue, Ivory Black and Titanium White. Instead I focused on values just thinking of three, light , mid tone and dark. This really helped me. Our teacher had said to leave the turban to last as it would have changed as did the models clothes and had position so I didn’t worry too much about them.
I also learned that although I couldn’t match the colour of the turban that I could still use high chroma to get the effect. I had originally used too low chroma to paint it. Yet again I had a great time and it was a nice end of term even though I didn’t get to finish it.
Week 3 - Adding Colour
Week 3 - Photographed at the studio
Week3 - Photographed at home in daylight
I still have a lot to learn about how to photograph my work, so any tips or advice are welcome.
Chronberg: Hey Chronberg thanks for the kind words. I am glad if I can help.
R-K: Hey R-K thanks so much for your kind comment. Your work is great, I am a fan.
Life Drawing - Term 13, Week 1
These are the start of last terms drawings from January from my local life drawing class where my life drawing began in earnest.
Last edited by Marian Rowling; May 11th, 2014 at 12:26 PM.