Robin Frey: Emerging Artists 2017 Summer Youth Program, Week One: Figure Drawing in Graphiteby Matthew Innis |
WEEK ONE: FIGURE DRAWING IN GRAPHITE
Art schools specializing in fashion design, animation in film, book illustration, and fine art in drawing and painting all look for comprehensive drawing skills developed from life studies in the portfolio of the prospective student applying for entry.
This figure-drawing workshop taught by the artist Robin Frey focuses on the study of the human figure utilizing graphite pencil. Live (nude) models will pose in artificial light with a strong separation of light and shadow to show the basic structural shapes on the form.
Gesture drawing involving the basic lines of action are practiced. Acute study and examination of the human figure determine accurate placement of the basic shapes of the posed human figure to be blocked in. After comparing the relative values of the basic shapes on the model and recorded on the figure drawing, the student begins breaking down the shapes into smaller shapes based on the anatomical structure. The figure drawings are developed by the activity of rendering the forms to give them a life-like appearance.
All levels of proficiency are encouraged to take this workshop, which aims to promote excellent drawing skills, and a comprehensive study of the human figure.
Emphasis on loose, free starts will be practiced with gesture drawing the first three hours on Monday. Holding the graphite pencil to provide ease and sensitivity to the materials is paramount in starting and developing a beautiful drawing, and standing back at arm’s length provides the student with a better stance to assess the drawing in progress. Therefore, the first three hours on Monday will provide the student with ample time to develop these habits to continue with in the weeklong workshop.
Pose lengths in the afternoon of this first day will be increased to longer poses to begin the block-in process using straight lines and angles for better accuracy. These poses will range from five to twenty minutes.
Basic anatomy and the landmarks on the human figure are vital for understanding and depicting volume on the figure as well as finding subtle visual elements to help describe the actual mechanics of the figure, and ultimately to make the drawing far more convincing in accuracy, detail and construction.
This second day will involve the exploration and analysis of anatomical structure through two three-hour poses of the model. The terminator, the area where the light transitions into the shadow, will be discussed and executed on the student’s drawing, to help the student to make accurate and specific shapes of the light and shadow.
The long pose for the workshop will commence on Wednesday morning. The student will begin with a gestural start as practiced on Monday morning, to record the basic action lines of the pose. The student will then focus on the time-consuming practice of the block-in to get accurate lines and angles with which to build the figure drawing. Shadow and light will be blocked in with two simple values, a mid-tone for the large shadow shape, and the white of the paper for the basic light shape.
Basic anatomical landmarks on the human figure and how they reflect the overall construction of the figure will be reviewed at the start of this day. There will be discussion of proximity and direction of the light source, which determines and assists the strategy of relative value placement on the drawing. The last goal of the day will be the achievement of accurate and convincing values to depict the distal relationship of the light source to the forms on the figure.
The main objective for the last day of this workshop will consume the student with the art and practice of rendering the forms of the figure to create an illusion of volume and structure. The proximity and direction of the light source will once again assist the student in achieving a convincing realism in the drawing. This will involve a constant and diligent pursuit of achieving harmony of the light and shadow shapes, and maintaining the singularly important goal of the simplification of the masses while describing smaller and smaller shapes, dictated by the anatomy of the human figure. The battle of keeping the light