Category Archives: Life drawing

Drawing class with Susan Kester

I’ve started a series of drawing sessions with Susan Kester in Chalford. Just drawing what is in front of us, with guidance from her. I used charcoal to produce this plant, which is quite reasonable I think.

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Ballpoint and water colour pencil

An interesting one day workshop combining these two unlikely media. I’m still unconvinced by water colour pencils. They are OK as pencils, but when water is applied I think the result just looks insipid. But going over it in biro does help. I like the effect of building up layer upon layer of crosshatching. This abstract based on pots is dirt off OK. I need to do more experimenting.

Back at the life class

Not a great deal of art recently, due to travel and general indolence. I managed to leave it too late to register for my usual Tuesday afternoon life class in Cirencester. I had delayed because I was getting fed up with their very limited choice of models. The same one kept coming again and again. Now I will have to use the Stroud Life drawing groups evening sessions . They seem to have no problems with getting almost unlimited models . The woman who modeled last Tuesday had come from Cardiff .

The two sketchbook poses are the first and last ones. The other two were done on better quality pastel paper . I am disappointed with the paper in the sketch book , which is to shiny to take more than one layer of chalk. The chalk “pencils” I have tried are also a bit disappointing , especially the white, which seems to have gritty inclusions. I need to invest in some new pastels and paper .

Life class, clothed figure.

Just a sitting, clothed figure this week. I did two full figure drawings and two sketch book portraits. I am really poor at portraits so want to concentrate on them. I’ve just ordered a book on drawing the human head.

These full figures are largely in contè crayon, which I really like. You can get very subtle effects and really dense darks.

These two portraits are in Derwent Graphik pen. I haven’t liked it before, but it really came into its own here. It isn’t waterproof, which is where I have come badly unstuck before, using it as a base for watercolour. A real mess.

Ballpoint pen, an underrated medium

I love sketching with ballpoint pens. To be precise, it has to be a Bic Biro, nothing else works as well in my experience. They aren’t perfect. They can blob and clog up, and the lines and densely shaded areas can have a rather nasty shine. But nothing matches the way it feels when you draw rapidly on good paper. The drag of the point is just about perfect. Textures can be built up through rapid scribbles and crosshatchings. I rediscovered it on my tall ship sailing week in the Canaries last week, where I used it for sketching on the boat, in cafes and on the beach. All I needed were a book and a biro.

Back ashore at a life class this week, I used a bigger sketchbook, but the same biro to do some textured studies .

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I do like biro.