Last year I came across this tweet, which challenged me to start thinking differently about how I draw through the week.

Most of the time I only draw whatever I feel like, or what I’m working on. Life drawing has been the only regular study I’ve done since school. I pick things up here and there when I need to, but I recognise this slows me down in many areas. So I came up with a plan of my own:

Over the last few months I’ve being doing a bit of this. Some anatomy study here, some perspective there, some animal gestures while working on a project with animals. However, I want to create good habits. When I was studying at VFS I had regular colour theory and perspective classes, plus many more. It helps me a lot to think about it in that way: this is a class I’m skipping. I need to keep going!

So here’s a little look at what I’m trying do; what I don’t normally post online. A lot of these drawings are unfinished. There’s always work I never show that’s purely done for me to grow as an artist.

Anatomy

Life drawing helps a lot with this, but it’s important to take a look at the underlying structure (muscles and bones) too. I’m weak in this area.

When I first started life drawing I was taught to draw the bones of a live model using printouts of a skeleton. So I’m doing something similar with the torso studies above, sketching a range of poses (this is a sequence from Bodies in Motion) and then drawing the muscles on top. For the muscle reference I’m using an app called 3D Anatomy for the Artist. I’m hoping that as I go my studies will become more accurate!

Life Drawing

This is something I have been pretty good at keeping up with, but I want to do more gesture drawing.

I also want to think more about exaggerating the pose and caricaturing reality.

Finally, I want to spend time doing longer studies. The one below is still pretty quick at ten minutes. It would be good to start using colour, too.

Perspective Exercises

When storyboarding I almost always guess the perspective, but occasionally create little models or research online to figure out how the characters work in an area. To refresh my understanding of perspective I’ve gone back to the beginning, using Draw a Box’s exercises.

Cinematography

Shockingly, I haven’t done any studies from films for a while, so here’s an old one from Jaws. My intention with this area is to study composition from films and paintings.

Landscape Studies and Colour Theory

I plan to make this section a mix between colour studies – focusing on a photograph or, hopefully, real-world landscapes – and then applying what I learn to colour made-up objects and environments.

Animal Anatomy

Like with life drawing, I’ve been fairly good at drawing animals regularly. However, I want to spend more time studying how they work.

There are some areas I’d like to find more resources for, particularly animal anatomy and colour theory. With animal anatomy I’d love to have detailed images or models of muscle structure. For colour, I’ve struggled to find simple exercises that put the theory into practice. If you have any recommendations, please let me know below.

But I realise today I’ve been writing about all this, rather than drawing … I’m off to remedy that now!

Sue modelled at the final life drawing session of 2019. It’s hard to believe it’s a new year, let alone a new decade!

Sophie, an acrobat, modelled at life drawing this week and held some unusual poses! I also did some sketching as she warmed up.

It’s been about two and a half years since I last updated my drawing portfolio (!) so I thought it was time to give it a refresh. What’s been exciting about putting this one together is that it’s all new – nothing from the last portfolio is still in it.

You can take a look here!

Way back in August, after finishing on Klaus (I’m hoping to post more about my work on that soon), I took a day to visit Edinburgh Zoo. Thankfully the weather was pretty good and I was able to see, and draw, a lot of animals.

Pelicans – slightly pinker than they were in real life!
The penguins – always a treat to watch.
I definitely focused on birds, but I drew a huge variety of animals. I liked the Lowland Nyalas and Koalas a lot. Sadly the only big cat I saw was this very sleepy Sumatran Tiger …
Rainbow Lorikeets – Edinburgh Zoo has an aviary room of them. It was wonderful!
Chilean Flamingoes – my final visit of the day.

I’ve got behind with uploading my sketches from life drawing again … I’ll upload them soon! These drawings are from late October, modelled by Lydia.

Maxime was the model on Tuesday. It was great to be at life drawing again; it’s been a long time.

I missed a session because of work, but was back at life drawing last week where Imogen modelled.

It’s been a while since I uploaded any sketches from life drawing … here are some from sessions modelled by Maxime, Lena, Evie, and Susan.

Sketches of Bea from last week. Even after a relatively short break from life drawing I struggled to get back into it! There are an awful lot of drawings that won’t see the light of day again. However here are a few sketches I am happy with. I particularly enjoyed drawing the study of Bea’s back – the lighting was just right to see all the details.

Susannah modelled at the final January session. Lots of nice poses, but my drawings were a bit hit and miss.

Katrina modelled at this special ‘animation’ life drawing session with short poses. Normally there are poses from 2 minutes up, but we had several 1 minute poses and (after I begged) some 30 second ones too.

We began with a sequence of 1 minute poses.

1min

There were several longer poses dotted about through the session. The hand studies were drawn during a 15 minute pose, and the others were 10 minute poses.

It was fantastic to do some live 30 second drawings again. It’s such a good way to learn gesture and storytelling, and to train to speed up in longer poses.

Near the end of the session we had some more 1 minute poses. By this point I was able to get details down more quickly.

It was great to have more quick poses at life drawing. Hopefully this will become a regular thing, and, who knows, perhaps I’ll manage to convince everyone to do 10 second poses next time …

There were three models at this session, because Bill stepped in for the first few minutes as Francesca and Pete were delayed!

I tested out a new 10B pencil which was lovely to draw with. I liked being able to easily switch between a soft and sharp line (something I can’t seem to get the hang of with conte). It was also great for shading.

This was the last session before Christmas, so I’ve been looking forward to a special one next week with shorter poses.

Morna modelled for our first December session. I was struggling with the conte pastel so did most of the drawings in pencil.

I have been snowed under with a job, Christmas, and a new niece (all very exciting but quite hard work) and that’s meant my life drawing from last year has been put aside until now.

First up are drawings of model Gina, from back in November!

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