IV: Drawing figures – col sleeping

Task: Draw a model in a pose for an hour or so allowing the model to get breaks at least every 20 min. Choose the medium to your liking.

Quick sketch from life. Colin sleeping on sofa. (Sketchbook entry.)

A great holiday nap on an intricately patterned orange red sofa. I started sketching from life first but then Colin moved to an even better position turning his head towards me of which I took a picture just in case.

Colin sleeping on sofa. Pencil drawing.

Then I had to revert to the picture I took as by that stage he had moved. I first made a sketch with a black felt-tip marker, to which I added watercolour. You can see the felt-tip marker is water-soluble, bleeding out a bit. Yet I feel this is probably the best picture I ever made. It is still very free – slightly smudged in parts, but that doesn’t matter here. My drawings are usually rather tight and not focused on the essential bits. But here I managed. It is only there what had to be there.

Colin sleeping on sofa. Ink felt pen with watercolour wash

However then I tried to make another drawing based on this rather quick sketch. And I tried to make it bigger and neat destroying the whole thing. The fluidity is gone and so is the charm. There is certainly more detail (face, background) but that really doesn’t add to the picture.

Colin sleeping on sofa. Watercolour, ink. Roughly A3.


Were you able to maintain a focus on proportion at the same time as creating a sense of weight and three-dimensional form?

I think that was ok. I don’t measure the proportions much though I try to be aware of them, which sometimes creates a problem as the things may in the end not fit on the paper. This time I tried to measure a wee bit with my pencil. But when I did… like in the last big watercolour… it added to my stiffening up. Maybe I should try to go back to the fluidity of the smaller watercolour/felt-tip drawing. There was something there that I am seeking.

Which drawing gives the best sense of the pose and why?

The second pencil sketch and probably the last big watercolour. The latter because everything is spelled out. The former does that too but in a much more economic way. It leaves out much detail from shirt and background focussing on face and hands. The watercolour gives equal weight to every part of the picture and that is simply not attactive. Like a good essay or lecture drawing and painting should stress one or two points well, instead of 20 points poorly.

Was there any movement or gesture away from the model’s central axis? If so did you manage to identify this and put it into your drawing?

I am not sure I understand this question so I just skip it.


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