October Project: Circus book

With the advent of a monthly “Drawing Salon”, there is the opportunity to structure time for a big project for each month. Last month, I worked on a long pose picture of Charlotte – it is, however, not yet complete – so not posted yet.

On the 1st of this month, Jake ran the “Drawing Circus” event – a day event of life drawing, with a circus theme and a storyline. Knowing in advance the scale of this event, I purchased a concertina sketchbook (right) in order to have all the days drawings in one combined place. This is a new experience for me, as I never normally use sketchbooks, preferring to draw on free sheets of A2 or A3 paper.

The concertina sketchbook is good for this, because as the pages can be folded out to a continuous piece of paper, I am not restricted by the size of the page width, and can have different sketches relating to each other rather than separated out into different pages. Knowing some of the circus set art, because I had been helping paint and prepare them, I prepared in advance some decoration for the sketchbook – the knife-throwers star on the left. This was as a front and side motif on the sketchbook cover, and I will post proper shots of it once the project is complete.

On the day of Circus, I got a lot of drawing done – because I wanted to try and capture the whole narrative of the story, and because different poses were of different lengths, I ended up doing an awful lot of short 3-10 minute drawings. In total, I ended up doing 71 sketched poses!

So, that leaves the question: What exactly is there to do for this months project? Answer: A lot! My plans include selective colouring for the important roles (i.e. the monkeys fez is red), a whole plethora of backgrounds and scenery to draw in (I was good and kept myself drawing the poses, but leaving blank spaces most of the time for planned scenery) and finally text – I left a blank page for each ‘Act’ and intend to include a storyline summary – so this entails practicing some calligraphy. In addition, I have a few pages at the back to fill to finish the whole sketchbook, and have yet to fully decide what to do with these.

So, I have a fun months work ahead of me (oops, that month has turned into three weeks now…..)

Life Drawing Session on 29/09/11

As a child I was given a set of watercolour pencils which I never really got the hang of but always wished I could. Subsequently, when I started drawing again I wanted to try them. Luckily, WH Smith had a fantastic ‘back to school’ offer with 60% off, so I got a 36 pencil set for £7.00!!! I also purchased three brush pens that you can fill the barrels with water, this means you can apply the water to the pencils with ease and accuracy.

Three Minute Poses

We started as normal with some three minute poses which went rather well for me as I actually got most of the figure in and with okay proportion. It is true that you speed up with practice! As the three minute and some medium length poses were drawn in pencil I am still having trouble putting them up. However Nick had done a very good job here darkening the pencil lines.

For the long pose at the end of the session I had time to colour and water wash my picture. I was very pleased with how easy to use and blend the pencils were. However I noted it was better to apply the two / three etc. colours to the paper first and then add the water to achieve the desired colour. The water brush pens also proved a fantastic find as it was very convenient to use and then you just squeezed through more water to wash them through for the next area. My only irritation regarding my final picture is I cut off the hoop as I ran out of page – I wish I had started 2cm over!!

A not altogether sucessful follow up…

Following how pleased I was with the my long pastel in the last post, I decided at the next session to practice this medium again. However, this proved not to be one of my best efforts. I started on some black sugar paper as I didn’t have any pastel paper to hand, however this did not work as the pastel just didn’t stick. Therefore, ten minutes in I had to get some proper paper… After that, I tried to remember my previous lessons and try to be messy and build up the image in layers. However it didn’t seem to work and I ended up with a rather smudgy mess which I then outlined to give a bit of cohesiveness. I also found it difficult to give the depth of tone and detail for this picture. Although, friends have subsequently suggested that I try some pastel pencils to put in details. Hopefully I will have another go soon!

N.B.  – Also in this session, I did my short and medium poses in pencil as normal. We are having some difficultly photographing the pencil drawings as they are very light on the page. When we have sorted this I will put up my sketchbook and do a general pencil post.

 

Pastels – Experimental Mondays.

It has been a long while since I posted but I have been either unable to attend or I have been modelling! We have also been on holiday so I have been very distracted!

First Ten Minute

This experimental evening was the first time I have ever used pastels. I have not been particularly drawn to them in the past as I felt I would not be able to get the same amount of detail in. However it was fun to try! We started with some short ten minute poses, I found this quite difficult as you are encouraged to be messy and rub out the pastel and draw over the top – not always ‘colouring in between the lines’ which I seem to like! I also found the proportion difficult to render accurately – this was probably due to trying to concentrate on too many new things at once so all my pictures seem a bit off to me. During the coffee break it was said that my first ten minute was my best as it is the most ‘free’ of my short poses.

Later on, with some encouragement from Laura and Shelley to get messy and draw all over the page we started on the final long pose. I found this the best pose of the night as it gave me time to relax into the drawing. Of all of my pastels, I am most pleased with this one as it is relatively in proportion and it sort of has a face – something I found very difficult to draw in with any detail!

Final Fifty Minute Pose