Figure Drawing

by - 17:11

I may be quite the copier in terms of drawing, but I've never completely grasped the concept of human anatomy so much that I wouldn't need to copy at all (due to lack of any sort of formal education in such) - which is why I jumped at the opportunity to attend a formal figure drawing workshop here in Manila.

Poster for Figure Drawn

The workshop, simply entitled 'Figure Drawn' was held last week at the reputable Arts in the City, and was conducted by Jackie Lozano, a young and genial art teacher and freelance graphic designer.

Jackie showcasing the basic structure of the human figure
Our task was simple and straightforward: learn the key concepts behind figure drawing - lines, shapes, and proportion - and attempt to apply them firsthand onto paper, with the help, of course, of a pencil and a live model. For this particular workshop, however, we were asked to work with charcoal, a medium I've always found too, well, dirty for my liking, but with a few helpful tips from Jackie, I was able to work with it without complaint (on both mine and the charcoal's part). 

As there were only about eight participants, the entire session was quiet and relaxed, all tension alleviated in the presence of persons from different walks of life, each with varying degrees of experience in art. I myself was seated in between a bubbly accountant named Grace and a quirky geologist aptly named Juno, both of whom wished to take their creative hobbies to the next level.

Jackie assisting Grace
Facial proportions
Gesture drawing (photo reference)
The workshop kicked off with a few exercises in drawing lines and basic shapes, and the application of these in deconstructed human anatomy. I almost never use shapes in drawing, and when I do, it's usually only a circle for the head. :)) Hence, gesture drawing, that requires the rapid execution of lines or marks to map out basic shapes of the human figure, was relatively difficult for me to do. I had loads of fun trying to do it properly though, especially when it came to the live model sketching.

The model and Jackie's sample portrait
Juno sketching
The model herself, I found, was quite perfect for the session, as she was boasted curves that made gestural movements with the charcoal stick relatively challenging. We sketched her in four different poses, each held for about ten to fifteen minutes each. And here are my poor attempts:

(Click to enlarge, and see all my mistakes up close, haha!)
To aid us in proportions, Jackie suggested using the thumb-and-pencil technique that I only used to see in cartoons but never employed myself. It helped sometimes during the workshop, but I find that using my eye to see the proportions works better for me. Still though, I learned a good deal - how to respect the charcoal medium, for one thing, but more importantly, how to use shapes to execute perfect anatomical drawing. I think I'll try gesture drawing for my faeries from now on.

L-R: Grace, Jackie, me
Juno's work
Upon conclusion of the workshop, we were given certificates - the first I've ever received in the field of art(!) - and since I had an empty frame to spare, I propped it on display on my desk: 

Sitting pretty with my faeries *u*
Throughout the workshop, I couldn't help but take notes regarding the manner with which Jackie conducted the session. My own workshop is next week already, and I'm a nervous wreck D: I really hope I can effectively teach the participants how to paint with watercolors. I've been practicing the different modules just so I don't freak out on the day itself. Yikes. Do wish me luck!

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