I'm currently working on a cast drawing of Homer. The image shows the cast, set up alongside my drawing. I have a few more days to go before it's finished.
The beard, of course, is ridiculously complicated. Tackling it required me to break down the area into major planes and masses of value, then sculpt out the bigger forms, before fitting in the smaller ones and overlaying the texture. It was a really difficult exercise to ensure that each of the shapes was both correct in itself and correctly related to all the other surrounding shapes. The trick in doing this is to begin from the middle and work outwards. If you try to do it the other way round, you end up with either a bigger or smaller space that you need right in the centre of the cast and you have to rearrange everything all over again.
In my final few days I am intending to work on a few of the transitions, accents and reflected lights, tidy up the background and get a better overall light impression. Check back soon to see the final piece!
My latest extended figure drawing started promisingly. Mapping out the structure and proportions seemed to go well, and the overall value statement works. Even so, I'm dissatisfied with the drawing for a number of reasons.
The most important thing, perhaps even more important than the accuracy of the proportions, is the gesture. Gesture is the sense of rhythm which describes how the weight is transferred through the pose. In this instance, the gesture was a beautifully relaxed contraposto, full of attitude, the weight zig-zagging across the body from the shoulder of the free left arm, over to the model's tipped-up right hip, visually counter-balanced by the bent left knee. Even though I was pleased at the time with the initial block-in, I never quite managed to capture the essence of this flowing line which connects the major masses of the model's body.
There were also a couple of individual areas that needed redrawing. A week or so into the pose I realised I'd positioned the lower part of the head too high. Separately, and somewhat later in the process, I realised the hand resting on the hip was poorly structured. My usual approach when trying to correct issues like this is to nudge the drawing around until it comes right. On this occasion I was running out of time and felt that a more drastic course of action would be better - so I erased the hand altogether. The 'replacement' is much less obviously 'wrong' but still isn't 100% convincing.
Having said all this, it's not all doom and gloom. I was pleased with the anatomy in arm, the shoulder girdle and, to an extent, the knees - and managed to introduce more variety in the line and the transitions, which makes for some nicely sophisticated passages.
Ben Laughton Smith
Aspiring artist, training in the classical tradition.