life drawing on paper and with clay!

Since week 1 we’ve been learning to develop our life drawing skills having sessions every week, initially looking at using charcoal, water and white paint to create the forms and shading and then moving on to using clay on a small scale, applying a more 3D approach to our 2D work. Looking at the materials that were given to create, it’s amazing how much more personality goes into when mixing between mediums. For example, using the charcoal and water really created a glistening skin like approach, the fluidity, however impermanent added a sense of realism, a glow to the skin. The charcoal then helped focusing on the heavy lines and shading to highlight the form of the body and the shape and emotion being conveyed. Looking at the technique of actually creating the figures, both on paper and clay, trying to figure out the proportions was probably the most timely part (something which is a lot of pressure when you have a matter of seconds to complete each pose) but the fact there wasn’t much time to think about it initially probably helped a great deal. You get more of a loose approach and it starts to become natural to you. Again talking about the proportions, when working with the clay this was an important part to consider, focusing on the gravitation and point of balance of the figure to ensure the structure didn’t collapse when building, while creating a realistic representation of the model in front of me. The torso generally had to be the strongest centre point to then add and work from. This however changed when modelling a standing figure, the limbs then had to be strong enough to hold the rest of the body, something which sadly I wasn’t successful in doing in my short space of time. I found it was really important to consider this aspect, otherwise all detailing and shape was pointless. Similarly our bodies do tend to work the same way in regard to build, our torso and legs are the strongest most structured parts of ourselves, adding an aspect of realism to our moulds.

Pip the life model each time would explain the emotion beyond the pose, or a story that helped to create the pose. This being used to aim to help decipher which element of the body should be most focused on and visual, giving a more interesting approach to just the natural form. The processes were essentially documenting a story of the body, an exact feeling. Drawing the body out really helps you grow a wider understanding of the forms and shapes that make ones anatomy up as a whole but certainly looking at individual parts too.

Overall I found life drawing with clay was more enjoyable than sketching, less time was needed to create and there appeared to be more a body of work. Working with a 3D response is also something so regularly seen in life drawing and it was really fun to try it out. Though I did enjoy working on paper, trying to create a realistic structure was difficult when under a quick time period, I’m definitely more of a timely person when it comes to drawing. But I learnt a lot about the form with such a quick response.  The life drawing classes definitely helped me to later on think about more detailing when creating singular body parts, I began to consider conveying emotion when otherwise it wouldn’t be so apparent. For example, the scrunching of a hand or a foot, how much a story or a feeling can be conveyed. The lines or hardship the body goes through of ageing and that it’s not simply just flesh, there’s a lot of visuals there. And in my opinion these forms of ageing, or personality make the form so much more beautiful, our bodies aren’t blank canvases, rather they’ve been being worked on and manipulated since the day we were born. John Coplans’s work is a perfect example of this.







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