On June 26th and 27th I posted sculptures of the nose and ear. Here comes the mouth.
As a reminder: the purpose of sculpting parts of the face (in this exercise) is to understand their shape better – the plane breaks, the volume, the relationships of the parts of the face to each other – consequently it helps to become better at drawing (the face). In addition one can practice drawing from the sculptures – drawing from a 3-D model – e.g. the following photos show how the shape of the mouth can create shadows on the face, it also shows the “hills” and “valleys” of this part of the face quite well. You could also draw the feature from different angles – e.g. practicing drawing a foreshortened view etc.
The following photo shows well that it’s really only a sculpture of the mouth. Neighboring features of the mouth are only developed as much as necessary to understand the relationship hence the nose in this sculpture is really a rather undefined lump of plasticine serving as the “boarder” to the north (casting a shadow) and showing that the philtrum groove of the mouth connects to the nose – although it doesn’t show the details of how exactly it connects to the nose as this information is not needed for drawing the mouth.
Last quarter (Spring 2012) I took “Beginning Portrait – Drawing and Sculpting” at Gage (instructor: Suzanne Brooker). One week we drew (from the life model) and the next week we sculpted (from the same model) one particular feature of the head.
The point is to understand the plane breaks, dimensions and relations (of the features) of the face/head. To achieve this we drew so-called construction drawings that show the breaks and then sculpted this part. Sculpting (since it is 3-D) really enhances one’s understanding of the plane breaks and relations of the features to each other and as a result improves one’s drawing skills.
To illustrate here an example of a simple construction drawing from an artistic anatomy book:
And here are a few of my construction drawings of the model’s nose:
And the sculpture – the focus is on the nose, the other features are not really developed, only as much as needed for reference.
I’ll post other features of the head in the next few days.
Last winter quarter I took Beginning Figure Drawing at Gage. One of the great things about classes at Gage is that you have the opportunity to draw from life models. It’s quite different from copying another artist’s painting or drawing from a photo – challenging in many ways and rewarding at the same time. To really study the figure and learn to draw and paint it correctly you have to draw from a life model as often as possible. Here my first long-pose-drawing that I did during a class session in January 2012.
Starting in January (winter quarter) I’ve been taking art classes at Gage Academy in Seattle. One of them was Beginning Drawing. Although I had some crash course in drawing basics by another instructor earlier last year, I signed up for this class in the hope that I could fill in any blanks. Overall I did not learn a lot that I didn’t know already, still it was a good experience and I got more practice. One exercise that we did very early on was a great eye opener regarding space and composition.
The instructor asked us to draw an exciting line and then draw a boring line. The point was to be emotional and spontaneous. Here is what I drew.
Charcoal on paper – guess the exciting line is obvious, the boring line is the little one in the upper right corner. Note not only the wave (or lack thereof) but also the thickness of the line.
He then asked us to draw a line that stays inside the edges of the paper. In doing so we were asked to make it more dramatic, may be using the length of the charcoal (not the tip) or whatever else we could think of to achieve the look of movement and drama.
Charcoal on paper
Next he instructed us to draw another line just like the first one (exciting and lively) but this time going off the edges of the paper at least once.
Charcoal on paper
Now observe how the dynamic of the drawing changes. The drawing where the line goes off the paper seems to be more interactive. It seems to suggest something happening outside the “frame”. Is that fascinating or what? I certainly thought so. I also was very impressed with the fact that one can express so much with a “simple” line. It seems so emotional, deliberate and artful (especially the first one that stays in the “frame”, my personal favorite) and yet it’s just random, coming out of a more or less emotional movement of the arm/body. I was super fascinated with this exercise.
“The hard must become habit. The habit must become easy. The easy must become beautiful.” – Doug Henning –
I really like this quote. The process he describes is so essential to creating anything beautiful in your life as in art. It’s practice practice practice, then it becomes habit and hopefully one day you create something beautiful.
For more on this subject I recommend reading this blog by Leo Babauta. Enjoy!