View Full Version : tips anyone??

02-04-2003, 05:47 AM
I am just SO excited!! Darling hubby has just told me about my surprise valentines present...he has booked me into a life drawing class for the weekend! Is that LOVE or what!!!:clap:
I have never done any classes, and have ALWAYS wanted to do life drawing just to see IF I CAN!!:D
I am so excited!! and have already packed my pastels, conte crayons and charcoal, a huge sketch book and a pad of multi coloured Canson. (don't think I'll take my watercolours....might be pushing my luck! :p )
Anyway, I was wondering if any of you wonderful, oh so wise people, could give me any tips or hints that I should know about. (YEs I have posted this in the FIGURE forum, but just wanted to pick your brains here as well!:D

Please noone pinch me....I'm in Heaven!! Will let you know how I go..

02-04-2003, 07:29 AM
My very best tip is to paint everyday. It seems a little trite, but it's sooooo true. Date your paintings somewhere, maybe on the back of each piece... then every once in awhile, look back at your progress. You will be amazed. I know I am. :)

Then take a look at the threads that are listed in the Pastel Hall of Fame.... the forum just above this one. Lots of great information there. Soon you will be giving tips, I'm sure.

02-04-2003, 08:01 AM
Lucky you! Life drawing is great I know you will thoroughly enjoy it. A few tips, draw what you see, not what you think is right, if the eye is a dark black shadow for instance then show it as such, look for the negative space too, i.e. between the curves of the figure, get that right and your form will take shape, no doubt your tutor will guide you, but don't forget to measure and measure, using the end of your pencil with arm outstretched take a measurement say of the head, then use this measurement to check your dimensions over, and over, don't forget also to use guide lines, to mark off various positions of the body on your paper, use basic shapes to start, like cylinders, circles, ovals squares to to get the form and pose down, don't spend too much time on one area. i.e. spending the whole of the class time just doing the eyes in detail, half close your eyes to blot out the details, and then you will see where the darks and lights fall, get these in fairly quickly. Then once you have all these basics down you can concentrate on defining and refining your drawing.

Hope this helps, and good luck, let us see your work when done!


just dave
02-04-2003, 09:04 AM
I would say from experience to always make the layout lines first.
Use a standard unit such as the head, to measure the lengths of the other body parts and strike vertical and horizontal lines to see where parts are in relation to other parts, and then sight and transfer the angles of the limbs, torso, etc., to the sketch so then when you begin to flesh out the figure everything will be in proportion.
Another thing with pastels is not to worry about getting dozens of "flesh" colors. What is far more important is to use cool colors like blue and green to shadow and contour the body and limbs to really help the tri-d illusion.
With pastels I began by drawing the masses of the body and limbs first, then refining with lines. But many great pastel life drawings I have seen are much more linework to make the forms. That also adds to the tri-d effect as well as the beauty of the work.
I have also found that most life drawing guides misstate the number of body parts. The list the torso as one part when in fact it is two. This alone helped me make my figures much better when I saw the model this way.
A good (but expensive) book is "Basic Perspective Drawing" by Montague. It has a section on drawing the figure that helped me make more realistic figures.
I would say, too, to save every drawing. Even some drawings I did that were horrible overall had some good parts, and could have been made into a collage or reworked later.

02-04-2003, 08:43 PM
I have just finished week 5 in a 6 week pastel portrait class. The main thing I am taking away is what Mo and Just Dave have said. In fact I think Mo and my instructor went to the same school. Her message sounds almost verbatim like my instructor.:D

Measure. Measure. Measure. Measure. Keep checking where things are in relationship to one another so that you draw what you see and not what you "know".

Don't forget to have fun!

02-05-2003, 02:12 AM
If this is your first class, my best advice is to be gentle with yourself and don't compare your work with others there who may have a lot more experience

Beginners are often frightened of gesture drawing, but just relax and go with it, remember scribbles are what you're supposed to be making, and nobody expects a completed drawing in 60 seconds.

The most important part of the body is the spine. It's curved and flexible, not straight, and it sets the posture for the whole body, so always note what's happening with the spine before you begin.

You've got excellent tips from others here, but you won't be able to incorporate them all at once, so I suggest you print them out and just review them once in a while, both in the workshop and later. It's a great opportunity and I think your husband is a real prince to arrange that for you as a surprise. Don't forget to have fun!

02-05-2003, 09:00 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap: Thank you all so very much! See, I KNEW you'd all be a big help!:D
Honestly, it was great to hear such helpful advice...stuff I didn't know, and reminding me of stuff I did (but because I'm lazy had conveniently forgotten!:p )
As ange said, I've written them all down and will keep them beside me to prompt me.
And if my pics don't look too horridly embarrassing, I will post them when I get back!
Thanks again!

02-05-2003, 10:42 PM
Originally posted by flowerfields

And if my pics don't look too horridly embarrassing, I will post them when I get back!
Thanks again!

Oh please do !!!! You must be soo excited - what a wonderful gift for you :)