What’s On My Easel

What’s On My Easel

For this week’s post, I wanted to show my current work in progress and the preliminary work that went into it. The first step for me is always drawing from life. For this particular drawing, I sketched an idea beforehand and worked with my model to come up with the pose. It was challenging to find a pose that both fit my vision and one that she’d be able to hold for 3 hours (with breaks of course!), but I am happy with the result. You can see my sketch and original life drawing below.

Preliminary sketch
Preliminary sketch
Figure drawing from life
Figure drawing from life

After I had my life drawing, I did some sketches of the composition. I ended up going with something a bit different than my original idea. I ultimately decided on the right sketch because I liked the emphasis on the diagonal. The trapezoid shapes on the sides are the same size, just flipped, creating a sense of balance.

Composition sketches
Composition sketches
Final composition sketch
Final composition sketch

Once I had the composition figured out, I scaled up the original drawing, printed it out, and taped it to my paper so I could see how it would look proportionally. I also did a digital mock-up of the trapezoid shapes on the sides to figure out their size. I ultimately plan on cutting these shapes out and adding another paper behind to create a shadowbox-like effect when framed. This is something I have done with a couple of my other recent pieces as well. Here’s the digital mock-up I did.

Digital mock-up of composition
Digital mock-up of composition

To some, all this planning may seem unnecessary, but I have found that I like the result better when I go through these steps. I consider it all to be a part of my creative process.
The next step was to take the print-out of the life drawing and transfer it onto my paper. I typically use either chalk pastel on the back of the print-out or Saral transfer paper behind it. I then trace over the outline as well as the main shadows and contours with a ballpoint pen, which transfers onto the paper underneath, like carbon paper. Once I have my tracing done, it’s finally time to get out my charcoal pencils and get to work. I start light and work my way to the darker shades. I look at both my original life drawing and reference photos as I go. Here’s the progress I’ve made, which has taken about 5 – 6 hours so far. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one turns out!

Initial work in progress
Initial work in progress
Current work in progress
Current work in progress

 

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