HI I’m still drawing a lot, and I’ve been working on lots of different things to build up my skills this winter break. Winter break is suprisingly boring when it starts a month before all your dearest and geographically nearest friends’ breaks start. So I’m going to talk about three ways I’ve approached the drawing of people in this past week to improve different skillsets, and to train my eye, hand, and brain.
The first is life drawing. I went to the Monday Night Life Drawing session at the Princeton Arts Council last week (not this week tho. 2 tired) And drew from a live model. The poses were between 3 and 20 minutes each, allowing for sustained observation of the model and anatomy. I’ve actually been going to life drawing things on and off for about two years now, so despite what my well-meaning college upperclassmen friends keep telling me I’m very comfortable in front of a nude model.
I used Strathmore Charcoal paper for these, and charcoal and conte pencils. I also left my erasers at home but the girl sitting next to me let me borrow hers, bless her heart.
Here’s some of the short poses I liked.
And the longer poses. Sometimes I remember to write down how long they are. Sometimes I do not.
Not gonna lie, I like the life models at SCAD more than these models. The SCAD ones are practically living statues, and the Life Drawing Coordinator Michael can hold the same standing pose for like half an hour without moving at all. This one kept moving very very slightly such that my initial sketch of where everything was did not match where everything was twenty minutes later. Very unfortunate.
I like to think I’ve gotten significantly better at life drawing over the last two years, but looking back, the only thing that’s really improved is my sense of proportion. Which is also important, but I wish the change was more noticeable after all this time.
At least I learned how to draw feet and faces better.
So the first way of drawing people that I’ve talked about is drawing people from sustained, long-term observation.
Today I practiced a different method of drawing people. I sat at the front counter in a Starbucks and drew the people walking by. I didn’t have more than a few seconds to look at any of them, so it was a race to capture the gesture and feeling of everyone I saw. I added the yellow to create more visual interest in the page, and tried to use shapes to create more character in these quick drawings.
Then two girls I knew from high school but wasn’t friends with came in and sat down next to me at the counter and I was very stressed for five entire minutes. Anyway.
The third method of drawing people isn’t really drawing people at all, it’s creating characters from imagination and making them look like real people. I have a script written out for a story idea I’ve been playing around with for a while, and I decided to make myself get more comfortable drawing the characters, since I hope to spend a lot of time with them and maybe eventually create a graphic novel or a webcomic around them. Consistency is important for cartoonists, in the sense that a character has to look like the same character from every angle and pose. So to work on that, I created animation turnarounds for the three main characters from the short comic script I’ve written out. They still don’t look exactly like I want them to look, but I’m getting better, and that’s what matters.
So the moral of this post is: practice drawing things from observation, but also from imagination. Because both things need to be practiced.