Merging References

Figure Study No. 51

Someone asked on my Facebook page how long it takes me to do these 8″ x 10″ lithographic crayon images the other day.  I was curious, so I timed myself and it turns out that each drawing takes about 5 minutes, which is much shorter than I had thought.  I guess it’s hard to have any sense of time when you’re drawing!

One thing that is noticeably different about doing these figure sketches is the way that I have been using my reference photos. With the series of 50 self-portrait drawings, I stuck with using a single reference photograph per drawing. These figures are proving to be more complicated because there’s just so much more to tackle in terms of the form. I have three rounds of reference photographs for these 50 figures, which is a lot of photographs.  I’m finding that each round of photographs has something distinctive about it that is important for me to capture in the drawing. So it’s a challenge of picking what aspects of each photograph I want to use, and how to merge them together smoothly in the drawing.

Looking ahead, I’m anticipating that these 50 figure drawings will take a few years to make.  This is significantly longer than anything I’ve ever done before; most of my projects take about one year to complete. The scale that I want to work at is a little frightening, (6′ x 4′) and to be able to work at that scale I have to be really prepared. So unlike the 50 self-portrait drawings where I simply did one portrait after another, I’m going to plan out all 50 figure drawings in advance with many, many sketches first. I also currently don’t have a studio space that can accommodate working at that scale, so that’s another issue I will have to come to terms with at some point. For now, I think it will likely be at least a year of sketches and studies before I even think about the final drawings. The sketches for each figure will be made in this order:

1) 8″ x 10″ lithographic crayon sketches on charcoal paper
2) 18″ x 24″ lithographic crayon sketches on charcoal paper
3) 3′ x 2′ etching ink and lithographic crayon studies on Dura-Lar

Figure Study No. 50


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