Lessons in Consolidation of Learning Process

Sitting down again after a few days of pencil abstinence, I appear to be having trouble consolidating my learnings. It becomes more obvious to me that the past was filled with drawing by feeling. This would often result in “good” results. At least enough to delight the casual viewer, and – I must admit – also myself. Isn’t it what I wanted, to delight the viewer, show off, receive “well-earned” praise. “Look what I can do.” Isn’t it why I’m writing this.

Possibly less and less the reason. But these are early days.

Back to my above mentioned experience. I now have discovered a book by Juliette Aristides “Lessons in Classical Drawing” (Atelier homepage) which teaches from the start to consider and be confident about every line you make. Also: learn from the masters, analyse their construction of the figure, their lines and composition. Also: I’m not learning or attempting to draw what I see with my eyes, but what I see with my emotions. This is what Mattesi and Nicolaides are both alluding to, but I believe it takes time to begin understanding how important this is for art and also for myself.

The new approach, more methodical and slow, is targeting the same result as Mattesi and Nicolaides want you to achieve. Nicolaides wants the pencil/charcoal/pen to fly over the page, attempting to catch the force/gesture/rhythm (later the mass/volume/weight) and Mattesi has a similar approach which accepts quick decisions for drawing in the important force lines of the figure. So the past few months, my line has been flowing and skidding over the page. I’ve been having a lot of fun and have been teaching myself to see and connect to the model with these exercises.

But now has come the point where I’d like to start putting some of the learnt sight into realer pictures. And I can tell it is a big step for me, in my head. Many of my sketches this morning were very disappointing to me until I took the speed from my process, took a deep breath and started analysing and working more methodically. (These are 15 minute sketches involving a HB pencil on 120g A4 smooth sketch paper.)

Here the first better sketches after slowing down a bit (apologies for the quality, silvery graphite on white paper is not a friend of scanners, as it seems):

For an hour or so, I was pretty frustrated and wondered whether this was really what I wanted to do for the next 20 or 30 years until my eyesight begins to fail. But writing this, I believe this is exactly what I need to learn. Recognize and appreciate the “beauty” even in the least obvious subject. And “Have an opinion” (if I may quote Mattesi).

This is a lady from a magazine I’d had a go at skething a few months ago. I was suprised about the consistency of lines I found when analysing the picture and marking it off in 2H pencil before going in to more details and then ending in a B pencil to create contrasts and focus points. I hope this explains a bit more what I was on to in this blog. The model herself creates an incredible sense of lasciviousness. I’m not sure if I caught it in the degree I was attempting, but it certainly isn’t bad. Hope someone likes it out there 🙂


I mustn’t forget it is too easy to give up.

And later in the evening, I found the time for 2 20 minute sessions of one minute gesture drawing. A small piece of soft compressed charcoal on smooth newsprint.
Here a the most promissing ones. Let’s look at these in 6 months again.



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