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Van Dyck, Study of Trees, Late 1630s, 20x 24 cm (8x9*6 in)

The feathery texture of the trees in this lyrical pen and ink drawing point to Van Dyck's concern for a stylistic interpretation of his subject rather than identifying particular trees.

Bony highlights are created by leaving the white of the paper untouched.

Richard Bell, Study of a Scottish Blackface Sheep Skull, 9 x 5 cm (3 : x 2 in) Drawn in pen and ink and watercolour, this study picks out the shape and texture of a sheep's skull beautifully. The artist has emphasized the bony quality of the object by adding a series of cross-hatched marks in pen and pencil over the ar'as of watercolour.

The deep hole of the eye socket has been achieved by overlaying washes of colour with hatched pencil marks.

GALLERY OF NATURAL FORMS & LANDSCAPES

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Paul Lewin, Seascape (After Courbet), 64 x 71 cm (25 x 28 in) In this drawing the artist, rather like Van Dyck, has concentrated on a personal interpretation of a natural scene. He has applied pastel and charcoal vigorously to develop a dramatic sense of mood and atmosphere. Although the picture has a low horizon point, the sky is brought alive with strong colour and texture to form a surface full of movement. This work illustrates how a landscape can be used as a springboard for a personal vision.

Percy Horton, Provencal Village,

This work explores the relationship and structure of shapes. What fascinated the artist was how the buildings relate to the surrounding landscape and how by excluding any tone, he has been able to concentrate entirely on the linear quality of the composition.

The lack of fine detail gives this seascape an expressionistic feel which is heightened by the limited use of colour.

The dark, moody atmosphere of this drawing has been heightened by a series of deep tones and heavy cross-hatching.

The lack of fine detail gives this seascape an expressionistic feel which is heightened by the limited use of colour.

The dark, moody atmosphere of this drawing has been heightened by a series of deep tones and heavy cross-hatching.

pIGURES <K P)RAPERY

Clothes can disguise and distort the real shape of our bodies, so it is important to understand how material behaves as it falls in folds around a figure. The simplest way to draw a clothed figure is to work out the proportions of the body first and draw it as a series of simple forms, ignoring the flowing shapes made by the drapery. Once you are satisfied with the shape of the figure you can begin to explore the way the material hangs from particular areas of the body. Don't overwork the folds and gathers of the drapery or the image will look stiff and unnatural.

Sketching figures

People always make engaging studies. a good way to gain confidence in drawing people is with a sketchbook: make quick sketches of seated figures on buses or trains and note how their clothes hang and serve to accentuate the way they sit.

1. The folds made by drapery create interesting patterns on and around this figure. Draw the proportions of the woman in first with charcoal on lightly toned pastel paper, reducing the image to a series of simple shapes. Repeat lines or change the angle of the head until you have an accurate rendering of the figure.

a Loosely block in the essential features and skin colouring of the figure with soft pastels until you have achieved a reasonable human likeness. Then concentrate on describing the varying rhythms and tones of the different materials.

3 a Draw in the deep folds created by the drapery thrown over the seat, looking to see how it hangs and catches the light. You will need to use quite a wide range of green pastels to recreate the strong lighting effects, so first establish the shapes of the drapery in one colour.

Moving Figures

If you draw repeated studies of a moving figure, use a fast medium such as pencil or pen and watercolour to capture the most interesting features: look for the way their clothes behave as they twist and turn.

FIGURES & DRAPERY

The irregularity of the red pattern helps Jo identify the contours of the body and creases in the material.

Bold lines of dark colour have been used for the deepest folds of cloth while the lightest tints pick up the direction of the strong light source.

The shape of this figure is simple yet strong enough to give a solid image on which to draw the hanging material.

FIGURES & DRAPERY

Main materials

Main materials

4< Build up the tones of the woman's sarong, using dark colours for the deepest creases that help to shape her body. Then pick out the red pattern of the cloth and observe how its regularity is disrupted by folds or contours.

5> Use a deep blue pastel and charcoal for areas of fabric that cast the strongest shadows. This will give the material an intense, heavy feel and a sense of depth.

Draw in the finer details of the figure with a pastel pencil; a slightly harder version of a soft pastel in a pencil format. This will allow you to work more precisely on smaller areas such as the face, capturing the final highlights and emphasizing any particular features.

The irregularity of the red pattern helps Jo identify the contours of the body and creases in the material.

Bold lines of dark colour have been used for the deepest folds of cloth while the lightest tints pick up the direction of the strong light source.

Malaysian Woman in a Sarong

This richly coloured study of a figure gives a strong visual description of the nature of drapery and the way it can echo and enhance the rhythms of the human body. The blended pastels on her sarong illustrate how the light strikes her body and gives it form, while layers of dark pastel on the bench fabric create the effect of a heavier, thicker cloth falling to the ground.

The shape of this figure is simple yet strong enough to give a solid image on which to draw the hanging material.

Life Drawing

Tihe human body is generally thought to contain every aspect of form, visual complexity, and subtlety that an artist will encounter. Drawing a human figure regularly will help you to improve your powers of observation and drawing skills, but it is often hard for artists to find people willing to devote their time to sit as models. By joining a life drawing class you can take your time to study figures and to glean different ideas and techniques from observing other artists. While you should learn to pay attention to the anatomical proportions of the human body, a life drawing class will also allow you the freedom to express a mood in the way a model sits or stands, or a certain characteristic feature in their personality.

Broad strokes of ink give the impression I of shadows.

Broad strokes of ink give the impression I of shadows.

Five minute pose

This decisive yet eloquent study of a woman's back shows how a few expressive lines and the minimum of detail can create a convincing image. The study was drawn with a Chinese brush and ink which encourages a lyrical style full of control

Lines have been repeated until the shape of the head looks correct.

Lines have been repeated until the shape of the head looks correct.

The life room a life drawing class provides a regular, disciplined period where the problems and complexities of the human figure can be tackled.

Loosely-drawn lines capture the full length of each figure.

Eight minute poses

Here the shapes and densities of two standing figures have been analysed. The darkest pencil lines represent shadows which give an impression of depth and ~~ so help to give form to the figures. What is so convincing about these almost abstract studies is the distribution of body weight: the artist has captured the way that each figure leans heavily on one leg so that their bodies tilt to one side.

Loosely-drawn lines capture the full length of each figure.

In order to get to know the different aspects of a model it is useful to begin with a series of exercises that test your powers of observation rather than your ability to draw a lifelike figure.

By getting a model to do a series of timed poses, from five minutes through to several hours, you can develop a range of strategies and approaches in which to analyse and interpret the human figure. The quickest drawings of five minutes or less require a very swift, gestural style: you have to capture the essence of the model's stance by looking carefully for the strongest shapes and then distilling them into an impressionistic image. The most important aspect of this exercise is to draw the whole length of the figure and not waste time concentrating on incidental details.

Ten and fifteen minute poses still demand a certain speed, but they allow you to develop your style beyond the purely gestural. Take this extra time to look for the dynamic angles and planes of the

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