Incomplete Subtractions

Well, it has been well over two months since I popped into the studio I sometimes visit to to a “drop in and draw” session. (I’ve spoken about the value of such practice here before.) Although I’ve been drawing a bit here and there on the bus and subway to keep practicing, and also doing some work on some pages of The Project (actually, some pretty detailed finish work on a few pages I’m quite happy with), I was not sure whether I’d have the right chops to do a good job at the session, and expected that if I went I’d have a frustrating -but of course valuable- evening of knocking off some rust and oiling the wheels again. So I went along yesterday.

Strangely, it felt like it was going to be a good session as I approached, and as I settled down and began to try to capture the 2 minute poses, and then the 5 minute poses, I felt like I was flowing along pretty well. It helped that the model on duty is simply one of the best that they use at the studio. She really understands posture, gesture, light and shade and uses them well. When she poses, everything is well defined, solidly held, interestingly deployed, and overall, a gift for study of form, making me a better draughtsman that I actually am right now.

So I got myself into a good mood, and decided that I was seeing the forms (and feeling them on the page) well enough to try something different. I’d done it a couple of times before, and enjoyed it. I prepped the surface of the paper with a large soft graphite stick. Then I planned to draw on top that with HB pencil, and to then define form by subtracting (mostly) using an eraser, finishing with 3B or 4B to accent shade and so forth…. I had three poses of about 25 minutes each coming up, and it would be my challenge to render things in this way – a study in line and form, focusing a lot on light.

It turns out that I’d only brought a small bit of kneaded eraser, so I ended up moving slowly on the subtraction process (especially on the first one), but I like the results, warts and all. Things are rather incomplete, due to running out of time, but I had fun analyzing them in the end. (Click for slightly larger view – the originals are about 11 inches by 17 inches, by the way. They are displayed in the order I completed them.)

I must do this technique a lot more. It’s fun.


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6 Responses to Incomplete Subtractions

  1. Fred says:

    […snip, snip… -cvj]

  2. Clifford says:

    Sorry Fred…. a bit off-topic and not in the spirit of the post at all. Had to delete.


  3. Amy says:

    These are excellent. I especially love the sense of light in them!

  4. nc says:

    Brilliant pencil drawings!

    I’ve never got past fruit or flowers, taking hours with very mediocre results, not a few minutes for something I’d want to frame.

  5. Bee says:

    These are great drawings indeed! I could never get the proportions right, not without using a ruler at least. And, ha, good solution for the hair ;o)

  6. Clifford says:

    Thanks Amy, nc, Bee! It’s really all just a bit of practice, when it comes down to it, combined with some time invested in studying some of the underlying anatomy, etc., to understand the proportions and so forth.