Sunday, January 18, 2015

Block-in and Coffee-Break

After opening school with a week of small drawing studies, I am now ready to begin working on my main projects. As mentioned in the last post, I will have two main projects to complete this trimester: one, a large, fully-rendered figure-drawing; the other, a cast drawing. Both will be done in the medium of charcoal and white chalk on toned paper.
Cast Drawing:
In the beginning stages, drawings look somewhat geometrical and blocky. This stage is appropriately called the “block-in”, because it entails breaking the subject down into its most basic shape and capturing only the major angles, which are connected by straight lines.
Personally, I like to think of the block-in as a carving block, which I will later cut into to sculpt the smaller forms. The goal here is to capture the overall size and general shape of the subject, providing a good foundation for the details that will come in more advances stages.
I’m beginning to wrap my mind around how Florence Academy’s approach to drawing differs from the method I have used it the past; When I approach a drawing, I usually tackle the shapes, then determine the values of light and darkness, then render the forms and edges. Florence Academy’s method is different in that it seems to simultaneously keep all three concepts in mind throughout the development of the drawing, merely keeping everything at a consistent level of simplicity.
For example, the lines in the cast drawing, (just as with the previous figure drawings,) already consider the edge quality – something I have in the past saved for the end. The instructor calls this the “language of the lines”, because the breadth of line provides a visual description of the type of form I am trying portray.

Here's the progress of my Cast this week:

The next step will be adding white chalk and then modeling the forms, continuing to adjust shapes and add details as I go.

Figure Long Pose:
This week was also the beginning of the long pose drawing. To study the pose, the students were encouraged to first do small pencil drawings. This is extremely helpful to do before working on the large drawing, because it helps one become familiar with the pose and know what challenges to look out for.
The greatest challenge is learning to deal with the changes of the model; as the model tries to hold his position, over time he begins to unconsciously shift and alter the pose; the task of the artist is being aware these changes, knowing which areas affect each other and why, and selecting elements of the pose to draw which are consistent with each other. 

One of my pencil drawing studies of the long pose
From my reference point, the greatest trouble is the severity of the model’s lean. Over time, he leans on his standing leg more and more, creating a more inclined angle and changing the slant of his hips; this is turn affects the overlap of the bent leg over the standing led. Sometimes, as in the case of the shoulder and left side of the torso, this means parts of his arm and upper body that were previously obstructed become visible.
By taking the time to do these small pencil drawings, I have pinpointed these trouble-areas and learned to understand how they relate to each other. For the final drawing, I will have to choose the pose I like best, then make sure these elements are consistent with that choice and – the hardest part – look natural.

The block-in of my long-pose drawing, and another small pencil drawing beside it
Well, that was a lot of information to absorb in a week, so now I’m relaxing with a nice cappuccino :)

Ciao for now!

Italian word for the day: Construire, “to build, to construct”.

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