More life

Right now, it seems that my sketching takes place mostly at the fortnightly life drawing sessions. Time seems to flash past the rest of the week with work encroaching into other time or leaving me too tired to think constructively about art. Life drawing is a fixed point in my calendar that at least means I keep experimenting with technique.


Once again the life drawing session includes 8 poses ranging from two to twenty minutes. For these sketches, I draw invisibly with white crayon on white paper, then either painted over it in gouache, or wet the paper and drew into the damp areas with a darker crayon. The white crayon forms a resist to the water based pigment. The last step is putting in an outline, maybe, or darker colours or perhaps some background colour. It’s all an experiment.

Start with highlights

The first drawing illustrates the technique: on white paper draw in first the highlights in white that will variably resist pigment in the next stages. I am creating shapes with some randomness then enclosing the subject of the drawing in lines. The larger figure from the same pose on the same page is built conventionally applying colour and line first. I don’t know why I am doing this, but it’s fun and feels meaningful.

the art of not giving a f*ck while drawing

For each of three twenty-minute life drawing poses, I drew first in clean water so I could not see an image, then developed this by dragging a conte crayon (hard pastel) down the paper so the water caught the pigment to create a rough shape. I then drew into and around that shape.

In the second drawing, I also used opaque Inktense water soluble paint to draw in a sense of her tattoos.

I was trying to liberate my drawing over an obsession with accuracy. I succeeded at that at least

The warm up 2, 5 and 10 minute poses I focussed on just her feet using a soluble graphite pencil and water.