Tuesday, 31 January 2012

WEEK 3 - 31ST JANUARY 2012

No need for a lengthy blog post this week as you are all up to speed on this weeks exercise, but for those of you who will benefit from this, here is where we are up to.

Don't forget that next week the class will start at 6pm and run til 8.30pm.
A whole two and a half hours of drawing.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


I thought I'd post reference and tips on the gun we will be drawing in next weeks class. This will give you a chance to practice and become familiar with the shape rather than me just throw it at you on the night.
The gun we will be drawing is a 1848 Colt Dragoon which I believe were used by the US army/cavalry back in the day.

My approach to drawing something new is to try and break the object down into manageable information.
Below is a simplified version of the hand gun and how the detail can be built up.

This diagram shows how the hand/fingers fit around the handle and trigger.

Have Fun! See you Tuesday.

Monday, 23 January 2012


Just so you don't get rusty, here are some additional notes continuing from the last class on anatomy. Have a go at some of the examples in this blog , they will help you when we draw the gun slinger next week.(31st January).
This is also for Tracey , to help her with drawing faces.
Ok Then, lets draw some heads.
Those of you who were present last term will remember these exercises. 
These are to be used as a rough guide for becoming familiar with the positioning of the features of the face.
When drawing the face front on roughly sketch out a rectangular shape and divide it into four (as above) 
.The center line is roughly where the eyes will sit.

Next ,  divide the  bottom half into two and then roughly into half again. The lines will roughly map where the nose and  mouth will sit.

Divide the width of the head into five equal spaces. The second and forth spaces are where the eyes will sit.

Start to map out the nose and mouth. Decide  whether to have a thin nose or a wide nose then draw a line either side of the nose starting from the bridge between the eyes. This will determine the width of the mouth.

Now you can begin to define the features more clearly.

This is only  a rough guide  to help you become familiar with the human face.
As you already know, he human face comes in all shapes and sizes, - young , old, fat , thin, chiselled, and son on. For each type of face you draw you may have to adjust the grid slightly. Have fun drawing different types of face using the grid.  Eventually (after loads of practise) you will no longer need to use the grid and distorting the features to create different characters will become  easier.

Another method of drawing the head is by using a sphere and a cube.
Divide the sphere /circle into four. Place the cube in one of the bottom quarters 9depending on which way the head is facing).
Roughly map out the position of the nose and mouth.
You don't have to be too precise, you can either divide the depth of the cube into three or half the depth and half it again..

Sketch in the eyes, nose and mouth.
Define the features.
Here a few lines have been manipulated to change the appearance of the face. The nose is slightly longer and down turned, the skin around the jaw has dropped and there are more prominent lines around the eyes and mouth.
It works just the same for three quarter views. Have fun practising drawing heads using this method.

The naext exercise we draw will be from the waist up,so there will be a lot of focus on the face and hands.
Hands can be a stumbling block of many  a budding artist., so here's a rough breakdown of how the hands are easily constructed.

Basically, the hand breaks down into a square for the palm, a triangle for the part of the palm that connects the thumb, circles for the knuckles and three cylinders for each digit.

 Using the shapes above , try drawing the hand in different positions.
Also study your own hand and draw it in different positions. Another method would be to take some photos of your hand in different positions and use them as reference.

You have until the 31st to get some practice in. I will be expecting to see some good results .
Have fun!


Unfortunately this weeks class has had to be cancelled. Next week's class (31st jan) will run as scheduled. A class will now be added on the end of term on the 27th March. If the new date is a problem for anyone, please let me know as soon as possible. I will post a n additional blog on anatomy this week as it will be useful for the next class.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


I think this is one of Richard's best pieces so far. The solid blacks really add a lot of strength. So glad you made that leap. Nice work!


Wow! Where did the time go tonight? So much to cram into 2 hours and I didn't even get to show any Frazetta! So to make  amends,...
Regulars will know that I reference  Frank Frazetta a lot in my class and for good reason, study any of frazetta's work whether it but a full blown oil painting for a book cover of one of his rough doodles and you will learn a lot about the human form and how it moves in action. I was a fan of  Frazetta's work as a teenager and the energy in his paintings inspired me a great deal.
Here are a collection of images that capture that energy.

The above perfectly illustrates the theme of this weeks class. The human form and how it moves in dynamic action. Remember what I was saying about filling a page of rough loose sketches, the looser the better to capture  the flow of movement and action. Keep practising this loose figure drawing until it becomes second nature.

In my opinion ,  you can do no wrong in studying Frazetta's work.
More on Frazetta  and figure drawing posted here
Recommended reading
Frank Frazetta: Rough Work 


Before you can  attempt to pull off (successfully) any of the cool stuff pictured above, a bit of background work on anatomy and focussed sessions on figure drawing is essential.
I know that this may seem tedious at first and not very exciting, but without familiarising yourself with how the human body works, the cool stuff isn't going to look all that cool. 
Have a look at Orazio's work in next weeks class. Orazio has made great progress over the past few terms. That progress did not come about without putting in the time practising.

Familiarise yourself with the human skeleton and simplify the information to a basic stick frame. The stick frame is ideal for establishing a pose quickly.
practice loosely sketching quick poses to capture movement.
The dynamic of most poses can be simplified by a simple stroke.

The stick frame in the pic above formed the foundation of the image on the right.

Here is a similar pose by Frazetta. Notice how the head is in line with the feet. The pose is balanced and centered.

Remember what I was saying about paying attention to how the body works? If you are not sure about a pose, try throwing the pose with your own body to get a feel for balance and weight. Get someone to pose and take a photo. These are some of the methods  used by professionals.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Here is a brief recap on the warm up session  from this weeks class.

When  putting pencil to paper to create your initial ideas for your drawing , try to keep your pencil work nice and loose and light.  Maybe fill a few pages with lots of possibilities.
Notice the flow of the the pose that starts with  the neck, continuing through the body and along the tail. Try to create shapes that are pleasing to the eye.
I have marked out in read how this drawing  is broken down into simple shapes.
here you will notice I have added the wings.
Once you have established the shape of the pose you can then start to refine the structure, establishing the features of the head, arms and claws.

When applying shading to your drawing, always consider the light source and it's position. Below are the three main obvious light source positions for this drawing. As an exercise you can try other angle or more intense or less intense light sources.
Pictured above we have the dragon lit with a light source from above. The underside of the dragon's belly and limbs would be hidden from the light so they would be cast in shadow. The inside of the wings may catch the light depending on  the exact angle of the light source and how close it is. Depending on the angle of the wings the underside could be cast in shadow. This would also help throw out the shape of the head and make it more prominent. A bit of artistic license can also be applied to highlight areas that are in danger of becoming lost against a background of the same or similar tone.

The image above shows the dragon lit from below. So what was in shadow due to the light source being positioned above will now be exposed to light.

The image above shows the dragon lit from the side. I would not recommend lighting the dragon from the left (as we are looking at it) as it would cast the main features of this drawing into shadow, which would not make sense for a single figure drawing with no background.