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With my present and promote session finishing early I found myself with a free afternoon. My class were doing drawing so I asked Hannah if I could join in.

I haven’t done any formal sketching or drawing of any kind for over 35 years, so it was with a very rusty technique that I carried out the first of the warm up sketches, draw the person sitting next to me in 2 minutes. Not a lot of time to make a masterpiece, but at least mine looked like a face.

IMGA0089

Next we were to do the same exercise but take 5 minutes.

This wasn’t as good as the first result as the face shape and proportions were a bit out. I put this down to my colleague moving as every time I looked up she had slightly changed her pose giving a different angle of her face towards me. Either that or I really wasn’t very good at this!

IMGA0088

The last go on this same exercise was to try again but take 15 minutes and concentrate on drawing the shadows first.

This worked a little better although my subject continued to alter the angle of her head every minute or so. Her neck was wrapped in a big scarf that covered her chin giving lots of shadows in that portion of her face. Better lighting would have solved that problem allowing more light to fall on her face more evenly. Had she not been trying to draw me at the same time and kept her head still my result would have been better.

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Next we were set a still life of lighting stands, step ladder and sign post, with a bolt of black cloth thrown for good measure. It was a mass of vertical lines.

The paper became A2 size and our pencils were taped to 2 foot long sticks. Holding the stick at the end we started drawing.

A style I used to love back in the days when I used to draw regularly was free style. By this I mean just letting the pencil move over the paper in a form of scribble gradually adding more weight to the lines of the shape you were trying to draw. I always found this technique refreshing as I used to do technical drawing which was all about precise lines. Having the pencil two feet away from me and thus not really having any positive control of the lines drawn allowed me to use this ‘free style’ approach.

sketch 1a

The basic outlines done we moved onto a stick 1 foot long, thus enabling us to have a better control of the pencil, but still not full control. I added my next layer of detail to my drawing and was pleasantly surprised how good it was beginning to look. Some proportions were still not quite right, but this was my first attempt for years so I was happy to live with a few errors.

Sketch 2

Then we held the end of the pencil and added more detail, and finally held the pencil normally and added the final detail.

sketch 3a

The whole exercise had taken an hour and I was reasonably pleased with my result. The class agreed and picked my picture as one of the best.

I really enjoyed the session as I was using skills not practiced in a very long time. I’m looking forward to another go!

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