Drawing one part 4 project 2 – proportion – research point

this research point is concerned with foreshortening when observing and drawing the figure.

foreshortening is basically a form of perspective but concerned with figure drawing – it is a kind of distortion the eye  sees for example  when viewing a head in the distance the head  can appear smaller than the  feet which are  seen closer. Basically areas receding into the background can appear shorter than they are in reality – this is particularly   apparent  when viewing limbs. Artists have devised several methods to capture the illusion of depth to add a sense of three dimensionally to a drawing. I drew a quick sketch of the lower part of my body in a mirror ( I didn’t have a bigger enough mirror  to see all of my body – I did notice that my feet did look larger than my head. as they were closest to my viewpoint.

I also looked at  contemporary artists working  today and their methods of dealing with foreshortening in the human form.

American artist Niamh Butler cleverly used white chalk to hi light the foreshortened areas in her chalk figure drawings. The White chalk adds a dramatic sense of form and adds dimension to the figure. Butler’s working process is “I slowly bring into existence, layer by layer.” As she works Butler is also careful to measure the  proportions as she constructs her work “I will obsessionally measure and re- measure specific parts” Butler also uses reference photographs as well as working directly from life. I really like how she carefully handles the chalk medium and particularly the effective way she uses tone to create the illusion of form. Some of her life drawings  especially how she handles the chalk seem to be very reminiscent of Renaissance master drawings by artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael.

Carmen Tyrell was born and educated in Bucharest before moving to the United Kingdom in 1994.  The way Tyrell deals with foreshortening in the figure is quite different , but equally as interesting as the methods used by Niahm Butler.

Tyrell’s figures are very  lively and dramatic. Her working process is ” I like to simplify and to keep  a fresh dramatic approach.” Tyrell’s female nude drawings are soft and rounded – she seems not to be concerned in capturing the form of the head or the facial features of her models – instead she often does not include the head in her drawings – which is a interesting approach. Instead her fleshly figures seem to be concerned with the shapes and sweep of the form. Tyrell’s compositions are also very interesting and different – she is chiefly concerned with looking at the torso / stomach areas of the model as well as the breasts and thighs. Tyrell’s page is filled with the figure she does not seem interested  in  the background  but with the form of the figure. I really like the way she creates drama on the page.

In my sketchbook I did a few quite sketches of my knees foreshortened as I drew looking down at my body.

I am interested in developing ways and challenges to deal with foreshortening as I feel the use of foreshortened figure poses adds interest to drawing the body








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