The Silhouette of the Figure, The External Contour

September 10, 2010 in Figure Drawing by joanvienot

For several weeks at Studio b.‘s figure drawing sessions, we have been focusing on negative space.  This week our focus was the silhouette of the figure, essentially the contour line which separates negative space from positive space.   Our instructor Heather Clements says that when the contour is interesting, that’s half the battle.  Learning to accurately draw the contour comes first, and after that the artist decides what elements to exaggerate to make the contour more expressive.  Heather directed us to fill in the positive shape so that it reads as a single shape.  I had a lot of fun with this exercise, since I was thinking I would not be turning out anything worth keeping, which freed me to use some colors and textures I might not ordinarily use.  The night passed quickly.  In this post I have decided to also include all of my warm-up drawings, to show the differences in approach to each pose, and to give an idea of what is actually happening in  a 2½ hour figure drawing session at Studio b.  The final drawing is shown first, followed by the initial 30-second and one-minute gestures, progressing up to 4-minute gestures, all of which I usually end up throwing away,  and then the 15-minute silhouette drawings.