Summer 2016 art classes are on a roll! Last week I attended the first of a 6-session Figure Drawing and Independent Projects class. Instructed by Jamie Combs Platt, this course offers insight into drawing the human body, with an opportunity to explore your own figure drawing project beyond the class curriculum. It covers beginning and advanced elements of composition, anatomy, and developing individual style. Each week we work from live models.
Jamie teaches us about anatomy with our newfound friend, Bones the Skeleton.
Time flies in the 3 hour class! For the first session, Jamie taught us about gestural drawing techniques, which are quick sketches that capture the general motion and stance of the figure. The key (and most challenging part) is to not take your eyes off the model while you draw. By keeping your eyes on the model and pencil on the paper, you gather a sense of the essential shape of the figure without overthinking every stroke.
The model posed for increasing intervals of 2, 5, 10, and 60 seconds throughout the class. For the 2 second postures, we drew one line for the torso. This establishes a fundamental understanding of the direction of the torso, the core of the human figure. For the 5 second postures, we drew the general shape of the head in relation to the torso. Here an example from my drawing pad:
Then we added the torso and hips for the 10 second postures. This allowed us to get a feel for the placement and alignment of the shoulders and hips in relation to the head and torso lines.
Next came the 1 minute postures. Here we added the shoulders, knees, arms, legs, and “flicks” for the hands.
Between each step, Jamie eloquently and concisely demonstrated what we were supposed to draw. The class was relaxing, and the students all seemed to be genuinely engaged and enthusiastic about drawing.
This week’s optional, but highly recommended, homework is to draw 30 gestural drawings. I did mine in my One Sketch a Day journal. This journal is like a calendar with a blank space for a daily sketch.
My One Sketch a Day Journal, along with the figure drawing class, are a couple ways I try to keep drawing on a regular basis. If you are craving to develop your drawing skills, check out our classes. Interested in purchasing the One Sketch a Day journal? The Smithsonian Hirshhorn museum sells them in the gift shop, along with a variety of other cool sketch books. Here are photos of the fresh copies for sale. They’re the perfect companion to any art class or moment of creative inspiration!