Sketchbook Thread of Fes

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  10 October 2006
Here's some more life drawing I did yesterday. I was really slow and sluggish yesterday, and it took me a while to get into the flow.... some days are like that I guess. I never really felt I got into my stride

10 min sketchs

15-25 mins

1 hour

This is hard pastel on sugar paper.... i would not recommend sugar paper for pastel... doesn't hold much pastel and the more you try to scrub on the more it will fall off, but I didn't have anything else, so I really struggled.
  10 October 2006
Hey Fes thanks alot for the tips. I got Peck's anatomy book but I find it really overwhelming, it's so detailed. Also got books from Vilppu, Bridgman, Hale etc. but I'm not quite sure what to start with. I like realistic drawing so that leads me to Peck, but the overwhelmingness of Peck leads me back to Bridgman for example, which seems less realistic...

That Fast Sketching Techniques book seems pretty pretty cool, I think I'll check it out, could really help (especially cause I need to draw from life way more).

Anyway, great update here, I love the colors in the last one!
Nothing here!
  10 October 2006
Hey Fes,

even though you had an off-day, your work still looks amazingly good to me

I have a question concerning pastels if you don't mind...
at the local art store there are different kinds:

Rembrandt Soft Pastels and Carré pastels.
Van Gogh Semi Soft pastels and Oil pastels.
both kinds are from Royal Talens brand.

Could you tell me the difference between Soft pastels, semi soft and oil pastels? I would think the semi soft ones are harder thus don't hold as well on paper, and oil pastels stick to paper rather well compared to the other kinds. But that's just my guessing.

Also, what kind of paper would you advise to use pastels?
I'd really like to try those...

Thanks in advance for your help!
  10 October 2006
Fiona, I just came upon your thread. What a delight! I love your work. Beautiful, sensitive lines. Remarkable studies; a really fine body of work so far.

  10 October 2006
Drat... I just typed a huge reply and deleted by mistake Grrrr


Ah, well, to recap:

Thanks so much Kewn, NR43, Cris-Palomino for your comments!

Kewn – I know what you mean. I personally find Peck's anatomy book useful but not one of my favourites. I don’t personally like the style of some of the waxy painted illustrations, and the photographs mostly don’t have enough overall tone to be truly helpful. Plus I really want more surface anatomy and less skeleton. I like Bridgman’s but you are right, details are hard to see. I don’t have Robert Beverly Hale’s books but have seen them thought about getting them, but never got around to it.

Out of the 24 (I just counted them) anatomy books I have, I can’t say that I refer to one well over and above any other. They all have their good points and weaknesses. I’ve got all of Burne Hogarths books, but they aren’t a personal favourite as I am not a fan of his stylised way of drawing the figure, it’s very sculptural but I find it a bit samey. I found Dynamic Figure Drawing better than Dynamic Anatomy (which was very sculptural and idealised). I do quite like his Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery, if you are doing the clothed figure…. I found it better than Bridgman for ease of understanding, and not so stylised as his other anatomy books.

Giovanni Civardi's book Drawing Human Anatomy is not too bad, it’s got a fair bit of detail although I’m not a fan of the style of drawing, it is clear. His other books could have been done just as well with photography as an artist reference.

Recently I purchased ‘Mastering Drawing: The Human Figure: From Life, Memory, Imagination (with special Section of Drapery’ by Jack Faragasso, thinking it sounded just what I needed. However when it arrived I thought ‘YUK, it’s full of boring diagrams, what a waste of money’, and chucked it to one side. However on closer inspection it really is a very detailed manual on how to construct human anatomy. The drawings get better towards the back of the book, but it is not like Bridgeman which is all drawing or Peck which has a bit of everything. It deals mainly with external structure. It’s worth a look, but perhaps one to avoid if you dislike diagrams, and perfer more figure drawing!

Actually one simple anatomy book I do like is Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm. It was first printed in the 1960’s I think, and looks very dated in the style of drawing (mostly ink line work, with a bit of pencil shading work). You might not be inspired by style but it’s got a lot of good info and easy to read. It focuses mainly on the female figure but does have the male as well. At first glance it looks too simple and very basic, but I think it has a lot of merit… plus it’s quite cheap!

NR43 – Regarding Pastels:

Soft pastels are as you guessed, the crumbly type made by mixing dry pigment with a gum binder (usually) and letting it dry. There are also Hard Pastels (which I think are your Semi-Soft). The difference between Hard and Soft is simply a matter of how much binder is used. Hard pastels give you a better line, but I find are not as nice as Soft, which blend well and tend to be richer (probably because they have more pigment and less binder). It's quite handy to have a selection of pastel pencils (sharpened with a blade) to put in finer detail, as it can be hard to do with soft pastels.

Pastel Paper is paper which has ‘tooth’ (texture). It usually comes in a coloured mid tone. Canson is a common brand.


Also you can get Pastel Sand Paper which has a lot more ‘tooth’ (well… like sand paper). I haven’t used it much because I like to rub with my fingers and this type of paper sets my teeth on edge!


Also I’ve used Golden Acrylic Pastel Primer, which is a thickish white paint (which dries clear) that has grit in it. You can paint this on any non oily surface or paper to give it a texture to hold the pastel on. I’ve used it quite happily on cartridge paper, although it does tend to make it buckle or curl a bit because of the water content. It can also work out cheaper than buying lots of expensive pastel paper.

You can use a pastel fixative to seal the pastel (or hair spray if you’re feeling cheap and aren’t bothered about archival quality). Although use to much fixative and your colours will go dull, the darks colours disappearing into each other and dimming the light colours. Most pastel artists, I believe, do a very light spray (if they feel it necessary) just before putting on the final touches.

Oil pastels are completely different and are a mix of pigment, wax and oil, more like sticky crayon. Some brands are softer than others. I find Sennelier quite a good brand as they are quite soft and blend easily. But you can end up in one big tacky mess if you’re not careful. You can use turps to mix and blend as well. It’s also quite hard to fix… it often stays tacky. You can use them on any paper.

Hope this helps and hasn’t bored you silly!

Last edited by Fes : 10 October 2006 at 09:09 PM.
  10 October 2006
hey Fes

some precious good information there - thanks will come in handy when deciding what book to buy next!
do you, perchance, have one on colour to recommend?

I love the pastel you did! The pink in there really adds to the overall feel!

oh and congrats on the plug again - that picture's way too cute

  10 October 2006
Hi ya Intervain, thanks! I was surprised and delighted to get a plug for my birdie pic!

Off the top of my head I can't think of a good colour book. But I'll take a troll through my little library tomorrow and see what I've got. I don't think I've found a really good'un yet, but with my faulty memory ya never know.
  10 October 2006
Well, I've just checked and... nope, I have no really good books on colour that I could recommend. I have a few graphic design books with what colours go well together, but they are quite basic. I haven't got a good one for colour in drawing or painting... hmmm... I'll have to keep an eye out.
  10 October 2006
Dear Fiona / Fes

Thank you so much for this! And as I'm enjoying art more and more each day, I could never be bored with an explanation on art tools, resources, techniques and other info on art

(The bird painting is really nice btw)
  11 November 2006
Here's some more life drawing I did last week.

A2 Cartridge. Carbon Pencil B8. 3 mins, 5 mins and 10 mins poses:

A2 Cartridge. Carbon Pencil B8. 20 mins, 5 mins poses: I didn't get the 5 mins one very well.... I should have made the foot bigger as it was coming towards me, ah well.

A2 Cartridge. Carbon Pencil B8. 15 mins, 20 mins:

A2 Canford paper. Pastel. 1 hour pose.

  11 November 2006
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  11 November 2007
Sketchbook Thread of Fes

I've just started (at the being of October) doing life drawing again after a long break because I've finally found a convinient class.

So I thought I may as well post the results up here.

This is the first week. I felt really rusty and they're a bit laboured.

5 min poses (graphite pencil on paper):

I think this was a 30min one... but I lost the plot (mucked about timidly) - charcoal:

Another 30 min one (doing a little better) - charcoal:

Then a longer pose about 45-50 mins using pastel on sugar paper:

Last edited by Fes : 11 November 2007 at 08:24 PM. Reason: Added info
  11 November 2007
Week 2 I had to miss the class because I hurt my back, so:

Week 3, 4 and 5 we had the same model.

3-5min poses - graphite on A1 paper

I then decided to try a longer pose in graphite instead of charcoal, which I normally use. Bad idea! I get too fussy trying to cover an A2 sheet in graphite and it looks very stiff. Urgh!
30 mins - graphite on A2 paper:

30 mins - charcoal on A2 paper. The model had very strange eyes - deepish set with hardly any definition much and I found them hard to draw because I couldn't see them.

The final pose was carried over for two weeks, so I've put it at the bottom.

Next weeks warm up sketches:

5 mins graphite on A2 paper:

30 mins, charcoal on A2 paper:

30 mins, charcoal on A2 paper:

And this was the longer pose 2 x 45mins done over two weeks, pastel on sugar paper:
  11 November 2007
Week 5

5 min poses, graphite on A2 paper:

30 mins, charcoal on A2 paper:

30 mins, charcoal on A2 paper:

45 mins, pastel on sugar paper (really wish I'd had another 15mins):
  11 November 2007
Week 6

5 min poses, A2 graphite on paper:

15 mins (was supposed to be 30 mins, but the model got a dead leg and had to move), charcoal on A2 paper:

20 mins, graphite on A2 paper:

20 mins, graphite on A2 paper:

45- 50 mins pastel on brown sugar paper (his head is a little too big):
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