Project One – Exercise 2: Emphasising form with cloth

As I was travelling I tried to do the following as preparation for my upcoming travel: letting my model sit in two poses and taken photographs from her. The idea was to cary on this exercise in a hotel room without a life model. That said I worked around in my sketchbook and than on some larger scale papers in different media in order to understand better the different visual expressions of my marks in that medium.

Pose #1 (from photographs):

Stefan513593 - project 1 - exercise 2 - pose#1

Stefan513593 – project 1 – exercise 2 – pose#1

I consider this as a disaster for me – part of my learning. On the one hand it was quite difficult to find the underlying forms under the shawl. On the other side I just overworked the drawing in oil pastels. Either to use is quite vague, or the colors just fuse together. Also I think the scale was too large for that ‘simple’ drawing.

Pose #2 (from photographs):

For this pose I used not the shawl fro pose#1 but a white thin blanket. The folds and the underlying forms were much better visible. Various sketchbook studies in different media:
Pencil: good for quickly note taking of the major shapes and the fold characteristics
Marker pen (grey tones): give a softer touch, looks for me also like a statue, metallic
Conté crayon: was quite pleasant as it felt like modelling the forms in clay, hatch marks give a more ‘drawn’ feel
Ink (pen and brush): for tonal gradations (again my challenge to find better mid tonal values), easy to get along with interplay of positive and negative space.

Stefan513593 - project 1 - exercise 2 - pose#1 - sketchbook

Stefan513593 – project 1 – exercise 2 – pose#1 – sketchbook

With this pose I did two larger works in Conté crayon (being careful not to overwork and keeping a ‘drawn’ feel) and charcoal (with more emphasis on negative space as an interplay with the positive form).

Stefan513593 - project 1 - exercise 2 - pose#2

Stefan513593 – project 1 – exercise 2 – pose#2

For the drawing in Conté crayon on colored paper I tried to keep the shapes rather simple with more focus on the folds and the perception of the underlying forms (body, chair). At the end I highlighted the top of the folds in white crayon with quick marks. On the charcoal drawing I ‘carved out’ the outer shape from the negative space with strong push on the charcoal stick. Afterwards I modulated the folds and being careful to make the underlying forms believable of as a human figure. Here the scale worked quite well with my drawing approach.

Pose #3 (from life) in graphite:

After my return home I reflected on my works for this exercise and decided to work from life with my model with two new poses. I felt the previous poses on photographes as too static. I was missing the ‘natural’ feel to it. The drawings resembles partly to statues – at least in my way of looking at it. I think this comes form the difference photograph <-> life model. Something I would like to understand deeper.

Stefan513593 - project 1 - exercise 2 - pose#3 - graphite

Stefan513593 – project 1 – exercise 2 – pose#3 – graphite

For this graphite drawing I worked with my broad graphite sticks (tip and side). At the end I added with a rubber the highlights on the folds. For the metal legs I applied parallel lines with a ruler (based on my tutor’s feedback). I left the negative space rather vague with broad marks (in contrast to the finer details on the figure) and indicating merely a believable environment. I left the right space open and ambiguous emphasizing my idea of reading a book like open space, dreams, endless.

Pose #4 (from life) in Conté crayon:

Stefan513593 - project 1 - exercise 2 - pose#3 - conté crayon

Stefan513593 – project 1 – exercise 2 – pose#3 – conté crayon


For this drawing I worked mostly with the side of the Conté crayon, only finer marks for the undercuts of the folds with the sharper tip. I added receptive patterns in the negative space to mirror some marks from the figure (using rubber as well).


  • What difficulties did I encounter when approaching the cloth/figure as a whole? With the experience from the Ex.1 it was easier to understand certain dynamics and shapes of folds. I could see how folds are following underlying forms and edges became visible.  However, in pose #1 it was very hard to detect those and thus the results were not successful.
  • Conté crayon and charcoal allow a rather ‘modelling /sculptural’ approach to drawing. Usage of a rubber or white crayon supports this further.
  • Working in graphite/pencils or charcoal feels more intimate in my approach to the figure, working in crayons feels more distant.
  • Drawing from a life model or from photographs really matters to me. A photograph is a snapshot of a pose. A life model drawing is a process over time where I can ‘feel’ the model. For me the drawing seems to be more ‘vivid’.
  • Scale: I understand more clearly how scale becomes an important role to play in my approach. The large scale drawing in oil pastel was to large, the one in charcoal worked well, the one in graphite has quite open space around (idea?), and the one in Conté crayon perhaps was also too large.
  • Drawing approach: I liked the modelling approach in charcoal in pose#2 with shaping the positive form out of the negative space.

Next time:
– Thinking about how to draw figurative art while travelling (and still make it ‘vivid’)
– Understanding better: What markings make figurative art more vivid and as a believable human figure? What markings make it more statue like?
– More experimentation on media and different markings to convey the mood, the atmosphere, and surface textures of the (clothed) model.

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