Thursday, January 27, 2011
Figure Drawing - The Fear of Drawing the Nude
When I was in high school, I was terrified at the idea of drawing someone without clothes on. I thought it would be embarrassing for me, and embarrassing for the model. I felt either I was going to be uncomfortably attracted to the model, or uncomfortably disgusted by them. I think this is a pretty common feeling among young artists.
Then came Drawing 1 in college. Three hours, starring at a rather large middle aged woman, trying to draw her curves. I was terrified. However, as a the room full of first time figure drawers snickers and held back laughs, everyone settled in to a very comfortable session of drawing. Once you forget you are looking at a naked person, and start to only pay attention to shadows, light and darkness, forms and shapes, negative and positive space. Next thing you know you have a figure on your paper. By the end of the three hour class I was astonished to realize how helpful the session was. I immediately signed up to join the weekly optional drawing class and have been hooked ever since.
My good college friend and art battle partner Matt Semke has been consistently finding good figure drawing sessions for years. You can see hundreds of his figure drawings at cats will eat you. While Matt has been joining classes since college, I have basically taken the last 6 years off from figure drawing. When I found a life drawing class here in Portland Maine I was really excited; it has been long overdue. I used to be a chalk and pastel kind of guy, before that it was pencil and charcoal. I've been feeling more like a marker and watercolor kind of guy lately, so all my drawings shown here are mostly marker and watercolor, with a little pencil sketching underneath. All of these drawings are from the first two sessions, I will post more after every few classes.
If you have scrolled down through all of the pictures you are rewarded with an end of the blog bonus. See, when I was putting all of my photos into GIMP (the poor mans photoshop) I accidentally hit something called threshold while trying to adjust the levels. Bam! The photo went all James Bond on me, and kicked into this crazy black and white image. Needless to say it looks really neat, especially on this particular photo. I tried using this filter on a few others and the effect was not very exciting. I thought it made this image almost look as if it came from a photo, and I enjoy the contrast. I hope you enjoy the post, and the special bonus image.