Sketchbook – All the single ladies…


My OCA textiles course claims that drawing ability doesn’t matter, as anybody / everybody can do simple mark making – even my two year old little boy! Somehow that doesn’t stop me from feeling that some of the work I produce is just plain rubbish. So instead of it getting me down, and just throwing away half the stuff I start in disgust (bad work makes me angry!!!), I thought I’d just try and improve my drawing skills. After doing some research on the internet I came across a book called ‘New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ by Betty Edwards. I’ll be doing a full review on the book when I’ve finished it, but for now I thought I’d share some of the work I’ve been doing to practice ‘sighting’.

These first two sketches are copies, the first a dancer by Donald Hamilton Fraser, the second a portrait of Mme. Pierre Gautreau by John Singer Sargent. Now I know copying isn’t the most original thing to do, but my hope is that by spending hours concentrating on these pieces that my mind will absorb the actions and physical feelings of how they are done – a bit like learning to dance. Repetition, repetition, repetition! Practice make perfect, so I tend to rework a piece a few times mostly by hand but also sometimes on the computer, boring I know!

Above is my reworking of Hamilton’s dancer, in oil pastels and digitally.

This sketch I worked up from an image I found here. I first worked on it in pencil, before trying charcoal and then gouche. I think each piece has a very different feel about it – and the gouache painting is definitely my favorite! I thought maybe I’d done enough on this image, but now I’m looking at Klimt for inpiration I think the unusual way the body is held mirrors some of the poses in his paintings very well so I’ll probably have one more go with this pose, by trying to work it into a Klimt-inspired piece with gold and geometric patterns.

More pencil sketches made to practice my sighting skills, mostly made from a Bamboo clothing catalog’s. There’s something about female bodies in interesting poses that I find very enjoyable to draw, there are so many shapes and emotions to capture – I could see this becoming an obsession…


And even an example of when it doesn’t quite go right – the proportions are off on this one!

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