Confidence in Figure Drawing

Tonight was my weekly figure drawing open studio session and I thought I would repeat the slow methodical drawing from the last time I attended. But, frustration soon set in as I began completing some bad drawings, I couldn’t figure out why. It wasn’t until until after I relaxed was I able to gain the confidence I needed to complete a couple good drawings.

As always I begin my drawing sessions with my warmup page. I really find these pages helpful to loosen up my arm and put my brain in place.

confidence in figure drawing: warmup page
My warmup page

We always begin these session with 1.5 minute gesture drawings. It’s another good way of warming up to the figure. Of course all these gestures are a bit stunted, if I had more confidence at this point I think they would have turned out better.

confidence in figure drawing: 1.5 min gesture drawings
1.5 minute gesture

These drawings were frustrating, I couldn’t get anywhere in the figure. I felt like if I didn’t have more than 10 minutes I couldn’t capture anything. I was working so slowly, too slowly, and to top it all off my accuracy was not what it should be.

confidence in figure drawing: 5 minute gesture drawings
5 minute gesture drawings

Now I”m at the 15 minute poses, but I’m still having trouble. I was able to get one full figure done, but when drawing a figure where the hands and face is not visible is much easier.

confidence in figure drawing:15 minute drawings
15 minute drawings

Finally, we are at the 30 minute poses. I figured at this point I could come up with something better. I ended up focusing the whole 30 minutes on the face, and after the pose was done I didn’t come away with anything well done unfortunately.

confidence in figure drawing:30 minute portrait
30 minute focus on portrait

I Finally Gain The Confidence I Needed

Then I gave up a bit. To hell with being so rigid and controlled. If I’m going to make a bad drawing then so be it but I’m going to go at it with bravado. Besides, the model was amazing in this pose, I didn’t capture it well, but she pervaded emotion here and I needed to capture it.

It wasn’t until I got the head 90% done in this pose did I gain the confidence I needed. I was fully prepared for this drawing to fail miserably instead I found that I was putting shapes, values and lines down accurately the first time, so I went with it.

confidence in figure drawing 30 minute drawing
30 minute drawing with confidence

Of course, the use of value does cover up a lot of drawing mistakes and I do believe that sticking with line is better training, but at this point I needed the confidence of getting something well done on the paper not only for this session but for myself.

confidence in figure drawing: 30 minute drawing
30 minute drawing

Session Details

  • Session: 985
  • Work: 833
  • Width: 18"
  • Height: 24"
  • Medium: Charcoal
  • Location: Hipbone Open Studio Portland
  • Art Time: 3
  • Creative Time:

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Christopher Beaven

Christopher Beaven

I am an Artist and a programmer currently living in the amazing state of Washington. I have a passion for art, but I'm stubborn as hell with it. My day is complete only when I do some piece of art each day, no matter how small. "There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile."

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