Pad size for figure drawing?
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    Pad size for figure drawing?

    I'm trying to hit up the figure drawing again, but I'm feeling a little constrained trying to do such fine detail on the face etc. I'm intending to pick up my old 2h clutch pencil again, so I can keep a fine point which might help, but I'm curious if paper size is much of a factor.

    I use A4 for everything I do, simply because I don't have space to store any bigger artwork in my room. I find it fine for environments and vehicles, but figures I'm not particularly skilled or knowledgeable with, and thus unsure of.

    What sizes are you guys using?

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    Hi there,

    I've used 9x12 and 11x14, I like both. But I find the 9x12 is most versatile for me as I ususally draw as I'm out and about and it's MUCH easier to take with me.

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    B2 (18x24) is the size I think best for drawing. Anything smaller you really aren't moving your arm. Even my sketchbook is 11x17 unless I'm backpacking somewhere and I am concerned about the weight. Especially for gesture you want to really draw from the shoulder. It forces you to draw at arms length, also small sizes mask inaccuracy, it is so much easier to make a dot for an eye than it is to actually have to draw an eye. Newsprint is cheap, draw large, you will learn a lot faster if you do.

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    18 x 24 is the life drawing standard.

    But leave that pencil behind and choose another medium for working larger. 2H will not give you a strong enough line esp on newsprint.

    Goodluck.

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    I use A4 as well as it's easy to cart around and I have to travel across town on public transport to life drawing.


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    Previous poster is correct, 2h isn't good for drawing. My standard is a 3-4b... I mean, I use an entire set but that's what I like for doing real work.

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    You should clarify if you're planning on drawing from the model or just studying the figure.

    There are a great number of considerations when choosing paper size for life drawing. Space is a primary concern; if you're seated and crammed into a small area, a smaller pad becomes a necessity. If you're able to draw standing at an easel at arm's length, then draw on the largest paper you can. Most people opt for newsprint for most of their life drawing. Another consideration is your preferred surface -- working at an ideal size may not help if you can't find a surface you enjoy working with.

    As others noted, a 2H clutch pencil is a bad choice for life drawing. Graphite, being a grey color, doesn't really show up on newsprint very well. I lean toward graphite chunks or sticks of at least 4B when I do use it. I prefer cont or charcoal of various types, as graphite is a very slippery material to work with (industrial lubricant that it is).

    If this is instructed life drawing, your teacher may have suggestions for drawing materials for specific exercises.

    Hope this is helpful,

    ~R

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    As mentioned paper size is a very important factor. I wouldn't work any smaller than 16x20 - 18x24 - B4 is typical. The other important factor has also been mentioned - setting up your surface vertically and drawing from the shoulder at arm's length. If you are new to that mode it can feel awkward at first - just keep at it though. Also everyone mentioned your medium which is important too - I would recommend sketching and laying in with vine charcoal then using compressed to develop value. Also get a chamois for both wiping off, blending and applying broad tone - and a large kneaded eraser (or six) for sure. Charcoal pencils are good tools as well but take a lot of proper sharpening.

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    I use 11*17 custom-cut Desert Storm paper from Kelly Paper in So Cal. It's really good for 20~30 min figure drawings. I don't bother with B2 size paper unless I am doing an hour drawing.

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    Cool gogidolim - I would love to get some custom size toned paper I could bind into sketchbooks. Did you tap into that through their website or? I'll do a search and see what turns up. Thanks for the tip!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Cool gogidolim - I would love to get some custom size toned paper I could bind into sketchbooks. Did you tap into that through their website or? I'll do a search and see what turns up. Thanks for the tip!
    Sorry for the late reply. Actually I went to a local Kelly Paper store nearby.

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    Once you master the 3x3 size THEN you can move up grasshoppah!



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