Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Drawing from Life

Today, Melanie and I did some life drawing.

I don't normally draw children from life because they are awfully fidgety:-P Melanie is no exception. Modelling bores her and she was itching to get on with her own drawing.

The result? A so-so sketch of Melanie with a sad look on her face:-/

Because our modelling session was cut short (due to my subject's lack of enthusiasm;-)), I had to finish off using memory alone. So, the likeness isn't quite good enough for a finished portrait - but, for a quick sketch, it was a useful exercise.

These coloured portraits are of Melanie, too, but they were done from photos.

Drawing from life is really good practice for lots of different reasons. It allows the artist to see the colours and form of the subject without distortion, and also to focus on the characteristics and details which are important to the composition, perspective and personality of the artwork. There can be a temptation to try and produce an exact copy of the photo, instead of drawing upon the technique and creativity that makes art a personal expression of the relationship between the subject and the beholder. I find that I use freer and bolder strokes with life drawings. That allows me to work with more confidence and, often, results in a more lively and natural looking portrait.

Melanie wanted drawing lessons, today, but I'm reluctant to restrict her creativity, at aged 8, so instead of structured lessons, we have sketching sessions together. I have to keep encouraging her progress because children sometimes compare their results unfavourably to adults' efforts. I showed her how to map out the features of her portrait accurately and, then, allowed her to proceed her own way. Happily, she made good progress and was really pleased with what she'd been able to do.