Drawing Workshop: Life Drawing

In this life drawing session, we focused on memorizing the model’s body for thirty seconds. Once thirty seconds were up, the model stopped posing and we had to remember the pose and draw from memory for three minutes. As the group got more used to drawing from their memory, we was given the challenge of remembering two thirty-second poses and drawing them one after the other. The material used is charcoal.


The next task was portraiture. As a group, we looked at Frank Auerbach. We were looking at the way he uses the impasto technique. Auerbach draws a portrait using charcoal or paint, then if he does not like the portrait or wants to start again instead of using a new piece of paper he rubs the charcoal around the page and draws again on top of it. The layers can become extremely thick, which is known as impasto. To create depth and highlights, Auerbach  uses an eraser and removes layers of the medium used.

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The portrait above in the slide show is of Estella West who was one of his regular sitters. It is called ‘Head of E.O.W.’ and was created using charcoal, paper and watercolour on paper. The task was to create a portrait of the model in the same way as Frank Auerbach.The first stage was to draw the basic outline and features of her face, working quickly to add layers of depth and tone.

Here are five of the beginning portraits, layering the lines on top of each other in the style of Auerbach.

The images above show the portrait as time went on.

The next step was to move to the person to our right, and draw on top of their portrait, attempting to correct the drawing. Below, you can see other people’s portraits and my lines of charcoal on top of theirs.

After we had moved around and drawn over pieces of work, we went back to our own portrait to see how it had changed. img_0330

This is how my work had changed. I think the proportions have changed slightly and the shoulders and arms fill more of the paper now. We then had to rub the charcoal lines out with our hands and draw on top again, creating more and more layers as the activity went on. The next step was to rub out areas of the face were it was highlighted with an eraser.


After this, I used charcoal and started to define areas such as the eyes, the clothes and the hair.


Here the drawing is finished. I think the contrast of dark and light has worked well, however, the proportions of the face could be improved.




Author: emiliasfineartblog

BA (Hons) Fine Art Student studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University

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