Monday, 6 February 2017

Week 2: Life Drawing 1 Expressive Hands & Portraits

Week 2: Life Drawing 1
Close Up Work: Expressive Hands and Portrait Week.
In reading the reflective and critical essays from Semester 1, we realized a large number of you wanted to spend time studying particular aspects of the model in more detail. Heads and hands were often referred to. So this will be the focus of week 2.
To help you focus your observational skills, create a viewfinder from a piece of A6 card.
Warm up exercises.
These exercises will help you loosen up, feel at ease, and observe, preparing you for the longer and bit more demanding poses later on.  So imagine you’re either a musician getting in tune before a concert or an athlete stretching before a long distance run. 
Focusing on the models head, employ a variety of warm up exercises. Such as;
  •  A number line drawing with a varying the length of time on each position, such as 20 seconds x 3 , 30 seconds x 2, 1 min x 2, 2 mins x 2.
  • Drawing with your non drawing hand x 1  (5 mins).
  • Blind drawing (not looking at the paper) x 2 ( 2 mins each)
  • Continuous line drawing (keeping the pencil/charcoal on the paper) x 1 (5 mins)
  • Spend about 15 - 20 mins on these quick drawings

N.B.  During the exercises keep looking/observing the models head/face, and don't worry about your drawings, the more you let go, the easier the activities will be.
For the next warm up exercise, place the drawing board so it runs length ways, draw a line down the center of the page, making 2 A2 boxes. Be bold and  fill each of these A2 boxes with your portrait drawings.
  • Employ the wondering line approach, view the head/face as a landscape, see where your eyes take you as look closely at all its features, eyes, ears, nose, nostrils, forehead, chin, jaw, eyebrows, hair etc. Switch off the critical voice, and enjoy the experience. Vary the density of line, thickness of line, aiming to describe form. After 5 mins, work back into the drawing making alterations. Another 5 mins.
  • Repeat the exercise, this time after the first 5 minutes, work back into the portrait using a range of experimental marks to describe the surface of the head/portrait. Finish after 5/10 mins. (Beforehand students may need/want to make a variety of marks on the side of the paper to refer to/help with this last drawing).
Warm Up Exercises Completed.

Fold an A1 sheets in half, keep folding in half until the sheet is A3 in size. Then fold out and tape to the paper to your drawing board, place on easel so its portrait in proportions – you now have 4 A3 rectangles to draw 4 heads/portraits in.  Or draw the grid with a pencil, avoiding the folding.
The Model will gradually rotate so you'll be able to draw her head from 4 different perspectives.

Becoming aware of proportions.
  • Using the view finder to help you, draw the head in silhouette. Approach this carefully, look at the head as you would the whole figure, taking time checking features in relationship with each other, e.g. length of nose to chin, length of nose to forehead. Check angles of chins, foreheads, nose etc.   (10 mins ).
  • Repeat the exercise, this time drawing the negative space surround the head, fill in the negative space leaving a white positive shaped head. (10 mins).
Focusing on expressive and descriptive mark making.
  • Using a variety of expressive marks no longer than 1 cm, describe the light and dark areas of the face, like the previous exercise this will help to focus your looking/observation - keep looking at spatial relationships, checking angles and proportions  (15 mins).
  • Repeat the exercise, but this time really aiming to describe three-dimensional form with a wide variety of expressive marks. Pause from time to time to critically reflect on your progress. (20 mins).

Expressive hands.
The Model will need to move around the room so everyone gets a chance to draw their hands, or the room is arranged so the Model is at one end and the students curl round in a C shape.

Warm up drawings. A few very quick post-break warm up exercises.
Fold an A1 sheet of paper in half, then half again so it’s the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Unfold making to making 8 A4 sized rectangles, place on a horizontal drawing board, place on easel.
The Model will create a series of interesting & expressive poses with their hands. Fill the sections with drawings of hands using a variety of methods including continuous line, blind drawing, non drawing hand drawings – time the drawings so some are very quick: 1 min to longer poses such as 10 mins.

You'll probably need to include some context, when drawing the model’s hands, so the drawings make sense/work. They may also be holding objects.
  • With another A1 sheet, create a grid of 4 A3 sized rectangles, this could be folded or drawn. Now follow these instructions:Draw a hand/hands looking at proportions, length of fingers in relationship with each other, check width of hand in relation to length of hand etc.
  • Repeat the same exercise this time experimenting with density of line to describe form.
  • With this third drawing play/experiment with a range of marks to describe the surface of the skin - knuckles, wrinkles, veins etc. (To help you achieve the best results, its worth creating a wide variety of marks on the side of the paper before you start).
  • Combine the last 3 drawing approaches in this final drawing. 
Spend 10 – 15 mins on 1st, 2nd, 3rd exercise – then about 30 mins on the last one.
These times could be extended, time allowing…or go straight into the last exercise…last exercise.

Expressive Hands and Face. (Time Allowing)

If there is enough time left, spend the last part of the session drawing the Model’s face in her hands, or hands over their face etc.
Work independently. Try and put into practice what you've learnt over the course of the session.

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