To complete the animation part of my masters project I need to gain more confidence in actually applying pen to paper! I have no trouble using photoshop, editing video or illustrating on my wacom tablet, but the last time I applied charcoal to 150gsm smooth white was an awfully long time ago…

So to gain my confidence back in my own physical drawing abilities I went back to one of my favourite lessons, from my BA course, Life Drawing.

With some trusty charcoal and my original oil pastels (let’s hope they still work) A3 pad under arm, I wandered into the life drawing class, not knowing what to expect. It’s all very help yourself, the easels are lined up on one wall and the chairs the other, small board or long board and a plan chest full of various types of paper with accompanying bulldog clips in a box.

“Just use the cheap paper for these first fast poses,” recommended the tutor, so I and the other 7 students duly set ourselves up whilst he sorted out why we had 2 life models turn up.

Eventually it was decided to use both models together for the first half of the session so they remained clothed and struck their first shared pose.

I felt it easiest to try with charcoal to get my eye back in and as I concentrated let my fingers take over.

I knew immediately that I wanted to make strong flowing marks, not mess about with tiny fine touches, just to capture the line and essence of the figure. I always found it harder to draw people with clothes draped as they can hide so much, but I tried to just use similar strokes to denote the shape and hang of the garment. I found an old trait crash straight back into my life drawing, no matter how big the paper I couldn’t get a whole figure onto my piece of A2, and I concentrated on only one of the models, I wasn’t interested in trying to get their pose together correct, I just wanted to feel like the lines were flowing and have confidence in my marks and movement.

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I was pleased with the pictures although the tutor pointed out that I seem to have a habit of making the heads too big, but he really like the angular feel to my drawing.

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I tried an oil pastel, but this went terribly wrong, she’s come out too wide and has none of the poise and delicacy of her actual figure come through, she was – obviously – wearing a tutu, but what I didn’t draw was the beautiful ‘enpointe’ she was making with her right foot in her ballet shoes.

I did try a really quick angular line only drawing but didn’t have time to finish this before the model left so that the chap could do his single longer pose…

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This style of life drawing is straight from my past sharp strong lines with lighter lines and a smudge to denote shading/shadow. I am really pleased with this image and it has the essence of the texture that I want to get into my animation for my Masters Project.

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