Back to Life Drawing

2 minute gesture drawing

I haven’t posted in a while because classes kicked into high gear for both schools. Today I finally got some time back to this project, which felt great. Time away from a project is good, but coming back feels even better. I had a photography/drawing session with Marianna today, which got me excited to work on these final eighteen self-portraits. For the photo shoot, we focused on portraits, specifically on themes of self injury: scratching oneself, hitting oneself, biting oneself, etc. I had one portrait I did recently where she was biting one of her hands,  so I tried to recreate more of that kind of scenario today.

Once the photography was done, we switched gears and went back to old school gesture drawings from life. I’ve been teaching so much figure drawing over the past number of years, and yet I myself haven’t drawn substantially from life this whole time.  I felt really out of shape, like I was trying to run five miles after not having exercised for a few years. On the other hand, a part of it is like riding a bicycle, all of these old familiar ideas resurface and everything just comes back right away.  I didn’t try to do anything fancy or particularly expressive today, I took a more traditional, academic approach than what I usually do. I just wanted to allow myself to focus on the basics again, training my eye again to see better and to keep myself sharp and alert. I also found myself completely disinterested in anything longer than a 2 minute pose, I guess because what’s really important to me here is gesture, a concept that will be critical when I get to the large scale figure drawings.

One big difference from when I was drawing as a student was that today the whole time I kept thinking to myself about all of the advice that I give students when we’re drawing from the figure: “major masses, centerline, midpoints, boney landmarks.  Start light, move around the page, keep your eye sharp and alert, knock in the full figure in thirty seconds,  look at the model more than your own drawing etc.” I figured I had better listen to my own advice since to do otherwise would be hypocritical!

Above and below are two minute gesture drawings done in lithographic crayon.

2 minute gesture drawing


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