As a practice drawing exercise I thought I would try my hand at sketching a female nude. For my source image I chose a stock photograph called cut5 that etsakoi has posted on Deviantart.
My thought was to approach the drawing as an abstract collection of values instead of being concerned with proportion as I normally would with a figure drawing. I was hoping that this method would help break through my anxiety based procrastination that I’ve been experiencing lately.
Also I was feeling guilty about sitting down for 30 minutes and drawing when I should be working. To counter this I decided to limit myself to 10 minutes of drawing time each day for three days. Spending 10 minutes a day on a “frivolous” activity in this way was somehow acceptable.
Armed with these ground rules, I gave myself permission to fail and then started drawing.
The First Ten Minutes
My first 10 minutes of sketching resulted in a basic outline of the left edge of the figure (see screenshot below).
I was being too prissy and I wasn’t working over the whole figure at once. Also if you compare it to the original, I had chopped the figure to just below the torso – because I had paid no attention to the proportion of the figure.
The Second Ten Minutes
The next day, after examining my progress, I decided to keep at it despite having cropped the figure. I blocked in the right side of the figure with a heavier stroke and attempted to map out some of the values of the torso. I also tried to pick up the pace a bit here, and after another 10 minutes this is what the sketch looked like.
The next day I sat down to finish the drawing with my last 10 minute chunk of time. I concentrated on shading the figure and trying to get the values properly related to each other. After my 10 minute session was over I was happy with the results, but thought with a few more minutes of work would be required. I decided to put in another 10 minute session the next day just to smooth out some of the rough shading.
The Final Sketch
The next night I spent another ten minutes just going over the whole figure and background.
- Better record keeping required on my part.
- Next time I’ll use stock that I’ve actually purchased the rights to.
- By scheduling small blocks of time on my calendar I’m more likely to practice.
- Write the purpose of the practice piece/session first.
- Giving myself permission to fail helps to overcome my anxiety.
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