These drawings happened in a little run around the end of April. I was pushing becauseI had a feeling that something was about to come through, as a result of working just in line, andI wanted to keep going till I got it.
There’s no doubt that my drawings went very strange when I stopped using tone to concentrate online. They were all over the place. But through this little run of six drawings, they calmed down.By the last two or three I think they are as good as any of the others, in fact I think they’rea bit better observed. It’s a difficult thing to put into words, but after the first three drawingsI knew I was relating the shapes I could see to the shapes I was putting down on the paper better.Actually, I can’tput it into words so I’m not going to try. Suffice to say I think the practice is paying off.
Here’s the first one. There’s nothing I’d like better than to have thrown this away and never put iton the site. Still, I take heart from the fact that I’ve put up even worsedrawings before. No really, I have.
The proportions are all over the place in this drawing, I didn’t do a very good job of drawingwhat I saw.
This one was drawn two days later, and came out better. I think it’s the start of the line drawingscoming together a bit better, like I’d finally stopped panicking that I wasn’t allowed to use tone anymore. It is forcing me to look more carefully.
I’ve only included the lines I could see, so I couldn’t draw anything on the far side of the nose untilthe shadow stopped, so there’s a gap there. I think it probably would have been better to include theshape of the tone block there.
Third drawing. With this one, I really started trying to match the weight of my lines to the tone of the lines Icould see. At the same time, the accuracy is better. I was finally starting to think that concentrating online was a good idea. Up to this point I wasn’t sure, hardly surprising considering the drawings.
This drawing has the dubious distinction of being the closest likeness of my nose yet. That’s prettymuch what shape it is. The fact that I notice that leads me to think that the rest of the drawing is not that closethough.
Number four, first all line portrait drawing in charcoal.
If it weren’t for the Bargue drawings, I would have struggledwith this. As it is, I actually sharpen my charcoal now, like I was in a proper atelier and everything. Thisdrawing taught me that it’s possible to draw as finely with charcoal as it is with pencil. It’s taken someof mystery out of Sargent’s charcoal portraits for me. I could never understand how he could draw so neatlyaround the eyes with a big stick of charcoal, but he wasn’t, he had nice bit of sharpened charcoal forthose bits.
Another drawing of Michelle, again at the kitchen table, reading about Gruau, the fashion illustrator. Nowhe can draw. I wouldn’t say quite so much for myself yet, but if nothing else the drawings are gettingeasier to do. Overall now I’m much more relaxed when I work. Maybe it’s because I’m getting better, maybeit’s because I’ve put up such terrible work here that it really doesn’t matter what I do now. Drawing ismuch more enjoyable when you’re relaxed I find, and the results are usually better.
This is the last one of the little run of six. I got closest to the Bargue approach with this one.It’s not sight-size, but the shapes were broken down in a similar way, from the general to the specific.Increasingly I’m using it on all my drawings now. I put in a vertical plumb line, mark the top and the bottomof what I’m drawing, (the top of the head and the chin in this drawing,)then the furthest left and right points.It really does make a difference to myaccuracy, and I need the help.
I fell flat on my face after this drawing, and haven’t done a portrait drawing, self or otherwise, sincethis one over two weeks ago. I’ll be back at them soon though. I seem finally to have got over theself-portrait weirdness that was going on before. That’s good news, because my most easy going model hasjust come out of his sulk, and he’s ready to sit again. I think a series of charcoal self portrait drawingswould be a good idea at this point. I think I’ll do ten of them, it’s such a nice, round number.
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