Term I, Figure Drawing I, Week 4

Week of November 2, 2020

7 min readNov 9, 2020

See previous posts for explanations of my Figure Drawing I course and my Art Home School Curriculum.

Notes, exercise descriptions, and daily work logs for this unit can be found here.

Figure Drawing I Retrospective

What went well

Four-week Units: I think four weeks is a good amount of time for a unit. It’s long enough that I have to push to get through the challenges, but short enough to keep things interesting.

Using multiple resources: There was enough material in the Proko figure drawing course that I could have used that exclusively for learning material, and I probably could have even stretched it out to two months by doing more exercises. I didn’t do any exercises on balanced or exaggerated poses. However, I enjoyed getting multiple perspectives on things like gesture and construction from other resources like Glen Vilppu’s drawing book and Steve Huston’s figure drawing book. I’m a bit torn on whether to go more deeply into a single resource, or cast a wider net. I think at the beginning stages it’s important to get exposure to as many different ideas as possible, so I’m okay for now with trying to absorb from multiple resources per unit. Later after I’ve narrowed down my favorite learning materials, I could see going deeper into one resource per unit.

I finished all the challenges: I didn’t miss a single day of drawing, and I ended up with one long-form, finished drawing.

It was fun to notice small improvements: Overall I’m not very satisfied with my gestures and quick sketches, but I did notice small improvements here and there, which was exciting.

What could be improved

Draw for x minutes instead of finishing x drawings: For exercises like mannequinization and robo bean, I had goals of finishing a set number of drawings each night. However, if an exercise is difficult and I know I can stop after finishing 3 or 4, then I tended to rush through the drawings just to be finished. A better format would be to do mannequinizations for 45 minutes or an hour instead of focusing on finishing a certain number. Rushing is a problem in general, so anything I can do to slow down would be helpful.

Make time for original art: All the drawing I did this month was dictated by exercises. I didn’t do any creative, original work. I think it would be good to practice drawing from imagination at least once a week. For the next unit I will use what I learned during each week to do an original drawing every Saturday.

Track hours: I did a good job this month of sticking to a schedule, but I would like to start tracking the amount of time I spend on each exercise. Often I would have a 2 hour block for drawing but would get distracted and only end up actually drawing for 90 minutes. Setting aside blocks of time and tracking them might help me focus better.

Take notes on inspirational material: I read and listened to a lot of inspirational material this month, but I didn’t write anything down. I would like to do a better job of taking notes and summarizing what I learned at the end of each.

Drawings and Critiques

Monday, Nov. 2

Croquis Cafe #414.

Drawing horizontal poses is more difficult than drawing upright figures. Drawing the hips and rib cage separately and then attaching them with a waist makes it easier though.

The Savage Sword of Conan #10 gestures.

I like in #4 how you can really see that the perspective is an up shot.

Proportion accuracy exercises.

The blue pen is the correct traced outline, and the black charcoal is my attempt. Shoulder height is an issue with all the drawings. Mine is always too low or too high.

Figure drawing taken to a finish (I add to this drawing each day).

This is setting up initial measurements for a fully finished figure drawing. The marks are the size of the head, so this pose is 7.5 heads tall and 4 heads wide.

Tuesday, Nov. 3

Croquis Cafe #413.

I like the simplicity of #10, although she has a broken right ankle.

The Savage Sword of Conan #10 gestures.

I like the blocky shapes of #8. Usually my gesture lines are more sweeping.

Accuracy exercises.

Shoulder issues again. Also one leg is usually off. I kind of rushed through these. I could probably do better if I took my time. This would be much easier to verify with a tablet and photoshop. I had to hold the tracing paper up to the screen and trace with a brush pen because I work working from digital photos.

Wednesday, Nov. 4

Croquis Cafe #412.

Nothing stands out here.

The Savage Sword of Conan #10 gestures.

I’m not sure how valuable the 1-minute gestures are. I seem to be just going through the motions.

Progress on finished figure.

Here I’m focusing on getting the proportions and positions as accurate as possible.

Thursday, Nov. 5

Croquis Cafe #411.

#4, #6, #7, #9, and #10 all feel very three dimensional.

I like the second page — lots of action and good proportions.

Filling in the contour of the figure. I’m pretty satisfied with the accuracy and proportions.

Friday, Nov. 6

Croquis Cafe #410.

I really like #6.

The Savage Sword of Conan #11 gestures.

It looks like multiple different people drew these.

I’ve mapped in the initial shadows. At this point I feel like I’ve made a mess of things.

Saturday, Nov. 7

Croquis Cafe #409.

The Savage Sword of Conan #12 gestures.

I like the construction of #10, but the shadow on the stomach doesn’t really work.

Added detailed shading to the torso. The whole time I was working the shading I had the feeling that I had no idea what I was doing. I felt like I was turning every square inch into a tiny mess.

Sunday, Nov. 8

Croquis Cafe #408.

30 DAY CROQUIS CAFE GESTURE SESSION CHALLENGE COMPLETE! I feel like I learned a lot doing these, but it will be nice to take a break. I’ll probably come back to them in Figure Drawing II.

The Savage Sword of Conan #12 gestures.

Overall, I like how this turned out. I really need to study anatomy. Most of the time I was just adding bumps to the body without understanding what muscles were there. The left hamstring looks weird, the right calf seems wrong. I think the left shoulder blade came out the best. Next time I do a longer drawing like this I will be sure to use better paper. I used cheap newsprint, and after putting down charcoal, smearing it and erasing a few times, the paper just starts shredding to pieces.

This concludes Figure Drawing I. Next up is Perspective I.