Another month, another Easel Update – this time centred around studies of the human figure.
Whilst readers of The Studio’s Instagram account will be aware that there were also several other sketches done over the last couple of months (predominantly still life drawings), I’ve chosen to focus the May Update on figure work for several reasons.
The first is that this material shows a strong sense of progress, both from similar work shared in the February post, as well as between the individual pieces featured this time around.
The second – and most important – reason is that with this phase of my artistic development behind me, it really does feel like we’ve reached the end of the beginning, and that far more exciting artwork is now just over the horizon!
The first sketch, a front-on view of the male torso (which is, like all of these studies, essentially presented sans skin!), represents a fairly confident start. The area where the subject’s left shoulder/chest muscle intersect isn’t quite right, and some of the musculature on the torso could be a bit tighter, but all in all, I’m pretty happy with this one.
Another strong sketch (if I do say so myself!), with the torso anatomy much tighter than before. Sure, the hands are a bit dodgy, as is the rendering on the subject’s right forearm, but by and large, this one turned out pretty well.
There’s a few issues with this next one, predominantly the lack of adequate perspective/foreshortening on the subject’s right arm (it should be more obvious that the arm is coming out towards the viewer). The anatomy of the left arm is also not quite right, although the foreshortening here is much more successful. A slightly mixed bag, but the strong rendering of the torso musculature gets it over the line.
A further example of a “mostly satisfactory” effort, with decent rendering of the subject’s left arm (minus the hand, which can be seen more fully in the original drawing), and most of the musculature of the back, although some of the inner shoulder muscle groups are bit shonky. The right arm also isn’t quite spot-on, although at least the perspective here is fine.
They say that men struggle to draw the female form as easily as they do the male, and in my case, that’s definitely the case. By and large this sketch is OK, but frankly, I struggled to render the breasts properly, and I’m not entirely convinced I got the perspective on the subject’s left arm quite right (it seems a tad too small, to my eyes).
One of the great things about all drawing skills and techniques is that further practice will inevitably make the artist more proficient in areas where he or she was previously subpar, which in my case meant that the above follow-up female torso sketch represented a solid improvement over the previous drawing.
Whilst the area directly above the breasts is a shade too expansive, the actual breasts themselves are far better rendered this time around, and (excluding some slightly dubious anatomy on subject’s left arm), this piece turned out well.
Not much to say about this sketch of a male pair of legs, really – by and large, I’m very happy with how it turned out. The musculature on the subject’s inner left thigh could have been rendered a little more clearly, and the muscle groups just above the right knee don’t quite meet at the joint as well as I’d like, but otherwise, this one works fine.
And we’re back in “mixed bag” territory. The subject’s right leg is 95% correct (I’m not completely sold on how I’ve drawn the knee, which looks a tad too spherical), but the left leg is a bit of mess. Not only is it slightly too thin compared to the right (even taking into consideration flexed versus relaxed muscle groups), but the perspective also doesn’t quite work – you can see by the left over graphite that I re-worked the bottom half of the left leg repeatedly (and the cropped-off left foot, seen fully in the original drawing, was a borderline disaster!), illustrating how much I struggled to nail it.
We’re back on firmer footing here (if you’ll forgive the pun), with this study of a pair of female legs. Admittedly, the lower torso area is a somewhat out of whack due to how the abdominal muscles have been rendered, and the subject’s right knee could be better drawn, but I’m happy with this piece overall.
Our lucky last sketch for this month’s Easel Update, and it’s another set of female legs. This one came together rather smoothly, and (overlooking the musculature on the subject’s right leg, which could be improved) it not only represents a good finished product, but also a fine note to wrap things up.
From here, you can look forward to more interesting artwork, as I pull together the work I’ve done over the last six months on the face and the figure to deliver more polished pieces.
Looking even further ahead, I’ll also be shifting my focus to landscapes and perspective techniques – which should provide a nice break from faces and figures floating in limbo! – and you can also expect to see a transition away from pen and ink sketches and back to art rendered using a digital tablet, so there’s clearly still plenty to look forward to in 2017!