Today I drew a philodendron in my oil painting class sketchbook. Our professor wants us to experiment with the eraser as well as the pencil. Borrowing a technique from Betty Nelson (author of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”), I laid down a medium tone with a B pencil, then used a paper towel to smooth it all over.
Then I lightly drew in the contours with an HB pencil. I used my pencil as a measuring device to correctly recreate the height, width, and relationships of things from my perspective. This is called sighting.
I completed the drawing below in about two hours. I used the 4B for toning, and the HB for thin dark lines such as the tiny veins in the leaf. I used a kneaded eraser to pick up highlights. I also used it to erase the negative space around the plant and pot. This leaves a really nice atmospheric texture. Then I came back in with a soft value for the simple table surface. I gave the drawing a final pass, darkening the darkest values, and creating further contrast where it was needed. It is important to keep the finest details only on the closest objects and let things get a little less defined as they recede into the distance. This adds to the illusion of depth. It’s part of the concept called atmospheric perspective.
Last November, a former art history classmate contacted me through MySpace and said he was starting up a new figure drawing opportunity. The concept is pretty cool. The models are in a variety of costumes, rather than nude. It’s weekly, on Tuesdays. It has really helped me brush up on my drawing skills. Unfortunately it will conflict with my oil painting class starting this week. I wish I could do both. It’s called Pompsicle, and if you’re an artist in the Sacramento region, please go. You’ll enjoy the experience (and you’ll help it keep it alive until the spring semester is over.)
Alternative Clothed Figure Drawing Every Tuesday night in Sacramento Pompsicle is a weekly clothed figure drawing session in Sacramento, CA. Artists of all experience levels are encouraged to come! It’s fun. We draw (or paint) from a different live model each week. Some are super cool “real life characters” like goths, punks, beauty queens, club kids or cowboys. Or our model may be some one who has a lot of great costumes in their closet and wants to show them off. The drawing sessions last 2 1/2 hours and are un-instructed, though we’d be happy to give you some informal guidance/tips. Just ask. Pompsicle happens every Tuesday night at Jim Ferry’s 19th St. Studio. The studio is in association with 20th St. Art Gallery.
Here are some drawings from my sketchbook of various models at Pompsicle: