Attending a drawing class is one of the best ways to learn how to draw. Sketching a person will allow you to sharpen your perception and hone your skills in many ways – and all this by drawing from living nature. You will get an idea of lines in one course and about chiaroscuro, and space, and anatomy. But most importantly, you will learn to draw quickly because people can be indifferent poses for different amounts of time. It is essential for anyone who works with nature to recreate it exactly in a short time. This will open up a whole world of sketching possibilities.
There are two types of drawing people, completely different: quick sketches – usually 5 minutes or less – and long sketches – they can go up to several hours at a time. Different durations allow you to practice other skills.
Many sketching courses begin with a series of concise sketches, ranging from thirty seconds to one minute. This is a good warm-up for your hand and eyes, and it will also keep you focused on the gestures. Take a note: don’t worry about anatomy and chiaroscuro, but rather pay attention to what you can convey in a quick, sloppy “gesture.” It would help if you captured very rough proportions, energy, and movement of the model. And one more thing: in quick sketches, sitters can take dynamic poses, but they cannot be held for a long time.
In minute sketches like these, try to convey as much shape and movement as you can. Some people get frozen figures when they try to repeat all the bends and bends of the body, but you need to catch the very essence of the pose in the contour.
Sketching 2-5 minutes will give you a little more time, and you can work on the character of the lines, proportions and slightly outline the light and shadow. The two lower figures emphasize the surface of the lines and the refined contours of the figure.
The sketch on the left is made with grape charcoal, and on the right, with a dark soft pencil (medium soft) on tinted paper. Helpful Hint: Let your hand follow your gaze along the outline of your body. Literally: wherever the eyes are – there is the hand. Where the design of the figure is more dynamic, there you can change the line. Try weighting the lines on the underside of the curves to create the illusion of volume.
Five-minute sketches (below) are already bringing chiaroscuro into the image. Try to place shadows on and around the body as quickly as possible, and the shapes will become more apparent.
If your sketch is longer than five minutes, set the proportions and sketch them in the rough. Take your time. Then try adding chiaroscuro and working out all the contours and proportions. Use different techniques, such as shading and sloppy lines of different intensities for darker tones. The same dark tones, but without carelessness, can be obtained using the edge of a charcoal stick, crayon, or even a sharp pencil. You can also soften and smooth out charcoal or pencil shadows with your finger or a piece of paper.
In the picture above, you can see that the dark background tones behind the shape can also indicate its shape. Even a part of the back serves as the background, shading the model’s left hand on the first sketch.
If the sketch is very long, the tinted paper will help to study the chiaroscuro carefully. For pastels and charcoal they are usually made in neutral shades. They will become the middle tone in your sketch, and you will only have to apply light and dark where necessary. In the pictures below, the dark tones are created by shading with ink, although you can take chalk, and charcoal, and pastel, and a pencil. The light colors are done with a white gel pen, but any soft opaque material will do. Well, leave the mid-tone areas of the body untouched.
Many communities have open-source sketching classes, with and without a teacher, to regularly draw a human figure. If someone you know doesn’t mind posing for you, you can do it at any time. And of course, the model doesn’t have to be nude!