Sunday, 17 April 2011

Weight Drawing

Little Miss Messy
Weight Drawing - 3 April 2011
Lithograph Crayon on Paper
25.5cm x 46cm (10" x 18")

Let’s get this straight. Elaine modelled for this, but it doesn’t look like her.
This is another exercise from the Natural Way to Draw in which it is not important to produce an accurate likeness.

The instructions for this exercise are to add crayon to the picture as though you were a sculptor adding clay to a three dimensional model. There is no attempt to describe the surface of the subject. It is all about creating a representation of the weight of the subject. You scribble and scribble and scribble and scribble and then you scribble some more. You have to scribble for 25 minutes and this is bound to exaggerate the shape of the subject.

I am looking forward to the next exercise. It is called Modelled Drawing and it is an extension of this exercise. The results should look a bit more like the subject.

I'm very grateful to Elaine for all the posing she is doing. This is going to be a long two and a half years for her.


  1. Mark - I want to thank you for sharing your process with Natural Way on your blog. I came across this posting when I was frustrated with not getting what the weight drawing was about and you helped me to get back to the instructions! Your blog is really inspiring, it's great to see someone else working through Natural Way. I just started recently and have just got to Schedule 3 and am really enjoying te process, even though nothing looks like anything that I'm drawing yet! Thank you for your inspiration. Jo

  2. Hi Jo,

    Thank you for your comments and for getting in touch. It is encouraging to hear from someone else who is working through The Natural Way to Draw and understands its challenges.

    I am glad my blog has been helpful – writing it has helped me. It forces me to re read sections of the book and to think about what they mean and what I’ve learnt.

    All the best,


  3. Hi,it's Ping here. I searched for "modelled drawing" that brought me here. I started "Natural way to draw" several months ago and it's been an interesting experience as walking in the darkness but knowing the path is leading me to the wonderland. No prior experience at all, don't even know what a graphite pencil is until getting one from Amazon. Also, it seems that there's not enough info on internet either. Just FYI, I just found a DVD "Just draw with Dr Manny" that might be a good demonstration for this book, it's from Australia and I'm trying to buy one. The 1st weight drawing I made is very similar to yours here, and I wasn't sure if it's correct because it's not much like the picture in the book:). Amazing to know that you are still going!

  4. Hi Ping, thanks for visiting my blog. I had a look at "Just draw with Dr Manny" on You Tube. It looks excellent. One of the things I like about the Natural Way to Draw is that there aren’t sufficient examples. It leaves you a lot of room to interpret the exercises and decide what is right. It can be frustrating, I doubt that it is the fastest way to learn, but it is rewarding. All the best, Mark

  5. Hi, Mark!

    Thanks for answering my question regarding watercolour - I'll try to find some cheap watercolour tubes. Also, I hope you've had a great Christmas, and I wish you a REALLY busy (in artistic way, of course) New Year ;-)

    I've got more questions regarding Natural Way to Draw. Firstly - can I substitute pastel for "lithograph crayon"? The latter is simply unavailable in Russia, and I don't even know what it is, hence, I can't translate it from English to see if there's some local alternative.

    I've managed to source a couple of Pitt Medium Pastel (this one: Is it suitable as a poor man's litho crayon? :-)

    Secondly, can you recommend any books that go well with Natural Way to Draw? I'm a COMPLETE newbie, so I've decided to use my only advantage - fresh approach - and go through Nicolaides before attempting any other books. But what books can I read (and do exercises from) that won't conflict with Nicolaides? Maybe I should concentrate on Natural Way to Draw only?

    Recently, I've started to work through Composition by Arthur Wesley Joe (thanks for recommendation and link to Paul's blog in one of your later posts!) with a pencil. Is it a good choice for "parallel" exercises?

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Michael,

      It took me a long time to track down lithograph crayons.

      In the end, I found a supplier for Stones crayons:

      I used the half-inch crayons:

      At the time I wasn’t sure I’d found the right thing, but on reflection they are perfect for the exercises.

      They are not like oil pastels. They are like children’s wax crayons.

      (This ties in with the Wikipedia explanation of lithography (, which contains “The image is drawn on the surface of the print plate with a fat or oil-based medium (hydrophobic) such as a wax crayon”)

      I don’t think normal oil pastels would stand up to the vigorous scribbling required for the weight and modelling exercises. The Faber and Castel pastels you’ve sourced sound more robust, but I would also try the some thick wax crayons. Something like:

      They have the advantage of being dirt-cheap.

      I don’t have much experience of other drawing books. Here is a list recommended by James Gurney:

      And here is Katherine Tyrrell’s book lists:

      I deliberately didn’t read any other drawing books while I was working on the Natural Way to Draw because it seemed best to approach the exercises with a beginner’s mind.

      Hope this helps.

      All the best for the New Year,


    2. Thanks, Mark!

      I'll try to concentrate on TNWTD only and only improve accuracy of my drawing (straight and curved lines, circles. ellipses etc.). I've found that my skills in this area are severely lacking. Especially on vertical or angled surface (easel or a drawing board).

      Thanks for advice regarding children's wax crayons! Fortunately, they're in abundance here.

      Best regards (and thanks again for advice!),