Heads, hands, and feet – from Aristides atelier

When I copied this on Page 71/72 or Juliette Aristides’ book Figure Drawing Atelier (Monacelli Studio, 2019), I thought I was drawing an abstracted, blocky, illustrative figure of bare bones simplicity and I was totally taken aback by what came next:

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This:

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The shaping is provided in the book as an under-drawing; the task is to render the shade which is not. This plays to my strengths which rely more on reductive than additive drawing. I find I prefer to shade and finger-blend several layers of graphite (pencil) then dab away with a putty rubber to remove some, add some more shade, dab again until I’m either happy with the effect or I’m in danger of disappearing down a detail rabbit hole. The left eye (right on the model) and the mouth nearly got me this time but I think I escaped at the right point and I’m really rather pleased with the result.

Began to lose the will to live with all these muscle men, the like of which rarely walks the streets.  Still, more gridding practice came of it. The more I looked at the hands bottom right, and especially that stray finger , the less convincing they seemed. Admittedly I ramped up the unconvincing factor somewhat in my own copy but they are definitely odd in the originals.

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If I thought the fingers above were peculiar, the ones bottom left defeated me because the harder I looked, the less they seemed to be fingers. I won’t say what they resolved into in my mind or anyone using this book themselves may never be able to unsee it, but it’s clear that threw me completely and the foreshortening is seriously out of whack! I had tried a different approach here, born out of sharpening my graphite stick pencil and not wanting to waste the powder. I dusted this on with an old makeup brush then used putty rubber to bring out highlights. for the middle copy I more or less reversed the light/dark areas too. That looseness suits my style rather better than the technical drawing feel of the originals.

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The next section contains several pages of quite pneumatic, rather diagrammatic images to copy which I may be quite selective about. I’m also at 95% of image capacity for this free blog which means being judicious about posting as upgrading at this late stage seems wasteful. If necessary, these copy practice images will need to be sacrificed.

These boxy, technical drawings for copying feel cartoonish and lifeless but nevertheless point up the anatomical divisions of these body parts.

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Plainly not the same woman, mine has a massive chin and protruding lower lip, but valuable practice and I’m gradually understanding the shading that softens the jawline. Quite pleased with that eye though as I have trouble foreshortening eyes, amongst other things.

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The next section is on value and form and there are some 10-12 images to copy. I will need to be quite selective about these due to storage space on this account.

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