honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

Teaching Life Drawing Online

In my role as online Life Drawing teacher I write the equivalent of about 5 blog posts and 5 comments every day.  Here's how I do it:

1 - find a problem or question
2 - discuss the source of the problem and solutions focusing on the needs of the asker of the question or poser of the problem.
3 - illustrate the answer by connecting to another source - for interconnections and for authority for the answer.
4 - engage the asker or problem-poser into the solution

Here's one I just did a few minutes ago:

-->  Student M posted a drawing and made this comment:

I first drew the muscle leg then moved to the bone leg. When completing my drawings I first drew the outlines to get the
proportions correct. After this I lightly drew in the muscle groups and shaded. At the end I put in the darks and blended them. I think
that this work didn't turn out quite as I would have liked, it seems to be a bit messy for my taste as far as the shading.

--> My response:

Class: M thinks the work is a bit messy. Some other artists might think this is a very neat and precise drawing. One thing that is
important is that we all move in our personal ways toward our goals. In this case your shared goal in this class is to create a great life
drawing at the end of the term to put into your portfolio.

If M thinks these drawings are messy, then his challenge is how to make them less messy. To find ways to keep down the mess it is
important to know what medium M used to create the image.

Soft media such as B pencils, vine and compressed charcoal, and conte are soft and smudgy materials. That smudginess is a positive thing in terms of getting gradation in blending for shading. However if you want it NOT to smudge in certain places there are a number of ways to keep it clean.

1 - Tape off the area you want clean.
2 - Lean on a piece of wax paper as you draw
3 - Put a raised platform over the drawing to rest your arm and hands

When you do have smudges clean up the area with a Magic Black Eraser.
This is a new kind of eraser that for some reason gets more erasing done with each stroke. It's really magic!

Another way to think about messy/clean is to consider the whole composition. A form on a clean white background has less volume than a
form on toned paper. You can use the smudges and messiness to actually incorporate a background into your drawing. Working on toned paper will give the forms more depth, especially if you tone the paper yourself.

In this drawing by Luis Espinoza, the artist used both white and dark in the background of this figure. Notice how the smudging and toning
around the figure contributes to the depth of the whole composition and to the volume of the figure himself.


M - What exactly do you think is messy in your drawing? What ideas do you have to make your future drawings more in line with your ideal

I usually respond to the class first instead of directly to a student because each answer is researched and applies to life drawing in
general as well as to the specific issue that the student brings up. Then I pose a question to the student bringing the whole conversation
back to the start and challenging the student to come up with a solution to their problem.

That's my day job and my night job:-)
Tags: student comments, teaching

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