I have been ‘Life Drawing’ practically all my life; during my Pre-Diploma year at Oxford Art College, then while doing a BA in Sculpture at Hornsey Art College, and later with one of my teachers at Hornsey, the sculptor Astrid Zydower in Kentish Town, north London.
‘It is only when we draw that we really look at something very, very intensely and there is always so much to discover.’ (Eileen Newell, in my book ‘The Human Form in Clay’ Crowood Press).
It is essential, before drawing the human body, to learn the bone-structure and musculature of the human form – then you can forget this and just draw.
I have always loved the old Chinese saying which instructs us that ‘art comes when the hand, the eye and the heart meet together – the three not the two’.
I used to draw slowly and carefully, enjoying, the quietness of the model, reaching for the essential nature of the pose. But then, one day, I felt like ‘loosening up’!
I began to draw using very ‘fast’ charcoal and red chalk, as these were instantly responsive to what I wanted. (I had to spray the work after with fixative).
Concentrating only on the strong lines and ‘expression’ of the pose. I found these drawings much livelier, and enjoyed making them.
Here are some examples of mine, starting from producing detailed drawings, then some ‘loosening up’ ones.
Finally, I learnt from Astrid to look more carefully at the spaces around the forms, and looking also at the format of the page itself, as these areas are as important as the forms.