Monday, 22 June 2015

Lines of the Day: June 22, 2015.

Michael Whynot. Figure study. Red chalk.

A twenty minute figure study, done this morning. Remember to notice weight and balance, muscles in their relaxed state and in contraction: loose and long verses tight and shortened. Anatomy has many variables, so pay close attention. We often don't see that which we don't know. And those variations can elevate our drawing.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Lines of the Day: June 14, 2015.

Michael Whynot. Figure study. Red chalk.

Today's lines were done over the last two days; ten minutes here, ten minutes there. Total time, maybe an hour. I'm not completely satisfied with it. It was done from imagination and I struggled with some of  the details. This is where a live model would have been helpful in sorting out areas which were anatomically unclear in my mind. For me this is usually the attitude of the limbs and problems with perspective. Still, not a total loss.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Drawing: Structure, the Foundation of Form.

Michael Whynot. Portrait study. Red chalk.

Michael Whynot. Portrait study (early stage). Red chalk.

A good drawing begins with gesture: a unifying thrust flowing through the form. But, once the gesture is captured, the draftsman must shift their attention to the skeletal structure underlying the form. Whether this is something they draw in any detail depends upon the individual draftsman. The better they understand the structure, the less they need to actually draw it. And, this rule applies to anatomy in general: the better you understand it, the less important it becomes, because you internalize the entire process.

Above, top, is a one hour drawing I did earlier today and the initial, block-in stage, beneath it, showing some of the bone structure which occupied my thinking as I began.

But, again, once you know the structure, you don't need to consciously consider every bone and and muscle; you understand where they are, so you see and use them without thinking - like following your familiar route home at night.

Lines of the Day: June 8, 2015

Michael Whynot. Figure study. Red chalk.

Michael Whynot. Figure study. Red chalk.

Today's lines: exploring variations of a particular pose.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Lines of the Day: June 5, 2015.

Michael Whynot. Red chalk studies.

Apelles of Ko, the renowned painter of ancient greece, was supposedly very diligent in his practice of drawing. He is attributed with the famous saying: Nulla dies sine linea - "Not a day without a line drawn."

While I'm uncertain whether I am as diligent as Apelles, I do try to draw something on most days. I will endeavour to post some of these "lines of the day" on a more regular basis.

Monday, 1 June 2015

The Evolution of Seeing.

Michael Whynot. Anatomy study. Red chalk.

Michelangelo said: "It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges."

Learning to draw, making our marks on paper, shouldn't be such a difficult thing - children do it all the time and we were all children once. And yet, drawing well turns out to be a deceptively difficult skill; few ever truly master it.

Of course, the difficulty isn't so much making the mark, as knowing where, when and why to make the mark or not. And, to answer those questions, one must cultivate the ability to see form in three dimensions.

Many draftsmen conquer height and width, which can be measured mechanically with due practice. But depth is more illusive - perspective, atmosphere, foreshortening all come into play. And this is where mechanical measuring tends to falter, resulting in accurate, flat, lifeless drawings. Training the eye to see all the nuences of form can take a lifetime, but the results are worth it.

In the end, learning to draw, may be more a question of learning to see.