Monday, January 30, 2017

Nude Thoughts

-By Jesper Ejsing

The other day I went to model drawing evening with a couple of other artist from my studio. I love model drawing and this was a joyful returning for me since I have been out of the habit for a couple of years. I always draw on large paper A2 size and use a thick pencil. One of those that are graphite all the way through. It prevents me from going into too much detail and help me from not rendering.

But the session got me thinking a lot about my other drawings. What I noticed, I did, when drawing from a nude model was, that I started the first 30 seconds searching for the gesture or the special thing that made this pose unique. The direction of the spine, the weight point of the figure and the twist and turns in the torso that made it precisely that gesture. The lines to describe the gesture was usually simple. Having a model in front of you makes it a lot easier and you just have to look for the small pose gestures and draw/capture them.

But in doing illustrations you have to make that stiff up yourself, and this is where it gets really hard. But I think that I will force that a bit more from now on. Searching faster for gestures in my composition. This is not new knowledge, it is something I remember having read in Walt Stansfields Drawn to Life books and that made a huge impact on me, but I seem to forget it, and then it all surfaces again after a model class like this.

Trying to be a viking
Capturing a realistic gesture is vital to portraying a character seeming to be alive. When I first started out as a professional artist I had Todd Lockwood giving me feedback on a large painting I just did that I was really happy with. He told me that he would never stage figures in a fight scene flat footed but would rather have them mid motion. Back then I thought he was an idiot and I was annoyed because I really liked the painting I did, but looking back at it I slap my forehead at my own ignorance.

Capturing a pose and a gesture is my only mission these days. Often it means I have to get out of my chair and try out the pose for myself to see if it feels strange or if there is a detail I missed. But I think this is the key to paint figures that seems alive.

I will start model drawing weekly from now on. looks like it is a huge gain - who would have thought? And strengthening my gesture drawings will hopefully keep me away from theatrical poses.


  1. A great post, and inspiring. I have a couple places nearby where I could do this and you've made me want to go back to life drawing evenings regularly. Thanks!

  2. Nice post as usual, Jesper-sensei. Two years ago, I started to do a model drawings, but, in my city, there is no many of these meetings or class groups to do it, so, daily, I do a "20 minutes video poses" from Youtube. I do that in sketchbooks of A4 format, I have the first sketchbooks of two years ago and I compare them with the currently one and sometimes I can't believe it, the evolution is really visible month after month.

    I think the drawing of models make us better creators of poses. I share with you the youtube channel that I usually use for this daily practices. I think the most importants for my are the 60 seconds and 120 seconds poses, are the best to focus us in the gesture.


    PD: Sorry for my lack of english, I am still learning it. I am from Argentina, I speak on spanish, lol.

  3. Good stuff! I took a peek at that book you mentioned (Drawn to Life), and it had some really cool insights. I'll be sure to check it out.

    Theatrical poses have their place, but there's something eye-catching and more believable about a candid pose. It's those kind of images that stay in my mind longer, and also the kind that are trickier to capture. :)


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