Drawing: Figures as Symbols

Any time I’m using a figure I’ve drawn in the past, it gets tricky because I generally want to recreate some of the aspects from that initial study, yet at the same time I want to leave enough room for more new and different interpretations to emerge in the new drawing. One thing I’ve been doing lately is leaving the original crayon studies on the bulletin board, which is on the other side of my studio behind my desk. I can turn around and glance at the original drawing occasionally so I don’t lose track of what I’m trying to achieve, but it’s not right there on my desk with me as I draw the new study.

I’m frequently surprised by the fact that I never seem to tire of working with the same figures. I guess my initial assumption would be that using the same figures would inevitably become stale and dull. Yet I’m finding that the more familiarity I gain with them, the more I want to draw each figure again. By drawing the same figure multiple times, I gain an understanding of that figure’s gesture which over time becomes more informed and pronounced. Because I know these figures so well, I started thinking yesterday about what exactly my figures are; whether I saw them more as symbols or as unique individuals. I think for me the figures are ideally both: they have physical attributes that are unique and yet I want for them to also be able to represent larger ideas and themes.

Crayon Study XV

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