Sunday, 20 May 2012

Extended Gesture Study of the Head

Extended Gesture Study
10 May 2012
Graphite Pencil on Paper
36cm x 47cm (14.25" x 18.5")

The extended gesture study begins with a gesture drawing (see Gesture Drawing), which you refine to show contours and to make the proportions more accurate (see Section 13).

The drawing at the top of the post is an extended gesture drawing of Elaine's head. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look much like her. It has long hair, the right number of eyes, a nose and a mouth, but that is about where the similarity ends.

Kimon Nicolaides stresses the purpose of the exercise is to create a study of a head and not to think about creating a portrait or likeness. This is difficult advice to follow. It is an easy concept, but when we draw someone’s face, we want it to look like him or her. I can pretend that I don’t. but I do.

Nicolaides acknowledges this and even suggests using strangers as subjects so that creating a likeness becomes less important.

The extended gesture drawing exercise is a bigger challenge than I expected. I am finding it difficult and time consuming to accurately measure and draw the relative proportions of a face or body.

This drawing of Elaine provides a good example. I became so bogged down in measuring angles and relative dimensions that I lost the gestures in her features, which is why it doesn't look like her.

Nicolaides talks about the need for effort and I am working harder on these exercises than on any of the previous exercises. They are a struggle, but I feel as though a breakthrough is imminent.

I am beginning to realise:
  • If time is limited, I need to focus on gesture and sacrifice accurate proportions
  • I should align things correctly before trying to measure them

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