This week I stayed with ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil for the weekly life drawing session. We had a model that I haven’t drawn since October of 2019. It’s amazing how difficult it is for me to draw a new or infrequent model. I guess I form a specific approach to each model and it takes a while to get that visualization focused. In any case, the first drawings were harder to get going. As the session progressed, I felt more comfortable and I think the quality of the drawings improved. Having more time on the longer poses helped to get better results.
This was a somewhat frustrating week at life drawing. I tried a new combination of drawing materials with only limited success. Rather than the usual Nupastels and Chunky Charcoals that I use on 18″ x 24″ mixed use paper, I tried working with Conté crayons on a smaller surface, 11″ x 14″. I was trying to minimize the accumulation of chalk dust; Conté crayons are harder than the other pastel sticks. There was less dust but the combination of paper type, size and feel didn’t work for me. There was much less control of the of color on the paper surface (it’s really just cheap computer paper) and it smeared easily making it hard to draw deliberately. There was smudging everywhere. In addition, the consensus of the group on this occasion was to start with three-minute poses instead of the usual five minutes. So I had even less time to feel comfortable with the new materials. I finally gave up on the Conté crayons and finished the session with mechanical pencil and ballpoint pen drawings. It was frustrating but I “chalked” it up to experience, as they say.
I decided to stay with using pencil and ballpoint pen for this week’s life drawing session. I prefer using color, especially with pastels, but I think using a stylus (pen or pencil) is more of a “drawing” discipline for me. I often depend on color to save a study with the pastels. Using a pen is much more revealing of the actual drawing (and any of it’s weaknesses)!
Over the last two weeks, since our life drawing group re-started, I have been drawing with pastels. It’s my favorite medium for figure drawing. For variety I worked this week with ballpoint pen. In addition, I tried adding color using wax pastels (like oil pastels) but their waxiness really didn’t work with the line drawing of the pen. Still, it was an interesting experiment and allowed me to try something different.
This week I used ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil for life drawing. I’ll indicate the medium used and the timings in the captions of each drawing.
My life drawings this week were done with ballpoint pen. As usual, we started with four 5-minute poses and then went on to longer poses. I did two drawings on each of two of the longer poses. The timings are listed under each drawing.
The medium for life drawing this week is the ballpoint pen. I have been using this tool fairly regularly over the last couple of months and I enjoy the immediacy and flexibility of it for drawing the figure.
Our group has had a change in the way we can use our drawing venue. We can no longer store our easels at the location. I’m used to standing in front of the easel when using pastels. I may continue using ballpoint pen and pencil for a while until I can figure out a way to use pastels with no easel.
If you have followed my blog, you probably have noticed one of the techniques I have used with ballpoint pen (and sometimes pencil as well). That is, to create a partial background of “hatching” (close overlapping lines) to darken the edge around the figure. This helps bring the figure forward and adds texture in the drawing. I usually use this method when drawing the longer poses since I have more time to accomplish the task.
Short poses (5 minutes each)
Longer poses (and one short one)
This week we welcomed a new model. She was excellent and provided very good poses which she held beautifully for the allotted times. I often find it difficult to draw a new model. With models that I know and have drawn many times I have developed an approach to their specific features and can generally jot them down rather quickly. With a new model I’m forced to see more objectively and not take anything for granted. That, of course is a challenge but makes me look and draw more deliberately.
I’ve indicated the medium and the times for each drawing below in captions.
As of this week, our Danville Life Drawing Group is back in Danville, Vermont! We have been meeting for several months in North Danville, VT in a generously offered space in the North Danville Community Building. We are grateful for their hospitality. We are also very happy to be back at our original location in the Danville Community Center where much construction work was done during our absence.
This week’s drawings are done with ballpoint pen. When I want to work lighter (with less bulky materials) I will often use ballpoint pen because it allows for the strength of pen and ink and the subtlety (almost) of pencil. I’ve listed the timings of the drawings in the captions below each.
As I have been doing recently, I used a combination of ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil for this week’s life drawings. The medium used and the time for each drawing are in the captions below.