Sunday, March 20, 2011

Figure Drawing

The university which I attend has a very odd system for their drawing department. In order me to have a degree in a certain concentration (drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture), I need 12 upper division credits in one area. Since I am a drawing major, that area would be drawing. But! there are only 2 upper division courses in the drawing department, worth 3 credit hours a piece. This mean that the courses have to be repeated in order to accumulate credit. I have to do this with Drawing 5 and Figure Drawing.

I am currently taking Figure Drawing for the second time. And it is tortuous. I took this class last semester, and by the end of it I was starting to burn out. I though that winter break would help me regain my drive and this semester wouldn't be so bad. I was so wrong. It's terrible. You see, we only use two models in this class: one man, one woman. They are professional models, and are very good at what they do. But drawing the same people every single class is boring as all hell. Plus, as wonderful a model as the female model is, she has this tendency to wear long, flouncy skirts. Which makes drawing her legs (one of the most interesting parts of the figure) a pain in the ass. It also makes screwing up the proportions incredibly easy if you don't really pay attention to what you're doing.

So the combination of feeling slightly burnt out and very bored with the class has me turning out, for the most part, mediocre work. It is very frustrating. Every once in a while I'll get results that I'm happy with, but I mainly just feel like I can not fucking draw. It's very frustrating, especially when I know I can do better than what I'm turning out.

So I'm taking a new approach. I'm trying to force myself to play and be playful. I love how charcoal, graphite, and ink looks, but I'm very comfortable with them. They don't challenge me. Color, on the other hand, is terrifying to me. Even in my wardrobe, I tend to wear a lot of neutrals simply because color scares me. I like black and white and neutrals because they're comfortable. A while back my mother bought me a set of Prismacolor pastels that have been sitting neglected on my shelf for ages. So I broke them out the other day for class.


They're fun. I can layer and smear and smudge and layer and mark and blend and get these results that I'm very pleased with. I just did the drawing on standard white drawing paper, since I had neither the time nor the finances to buy pastel paper. But wow. I didn't finish the drawing, but I did get most of the torso and right arm completed. It almost is reminiscent of an oil painting. But there is this other quality that only the soft pastels have. I might upload an image once the drawing is sprayed with a fixative (to prevent smudging) so those unfamiliar with what I'm talking about can get a sense of the pastel quality. I think I'm going to work with these for the rest of the semester, to try and hone my abilities with them. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

This class may have just gotten bearable.


  1. Yeah, but don't you get to see Joe neked? WooHoo!!

  2. No, Joe is a student model. We don't use student models, only our two professional models :).