Live figure drawing is often very hurried, and the whole time is spent drawing only the model. It is tempting to omit essential elements in the surroundings, because the artist always thinks he or she can draw them later. As a result many figure drawings end up with a figure just floating in space, without context or compositional “anchoring”. Heather asked the Studio b. figure drawing group for a second week to continue to include backgrounds in our drawings. She showed examples from several books, discussing different artists’ inclusion of background, or in many cases, invention of background. One of the examples was a figurative piece, tied down similar to Gulliver by the Lilliputians, and it reminded me of a playground sculpture of Gulliver that I had seen in Valencia, Spain, where the ties holding him down actually were hanging knotted ropes that children could climb on, and parts of his clothing formed slides and crawl spaces for them. The children interacting with the sculpture then became the Lilliputians. With those images in my head, I drew my own version of the figure in Lilliput.
Gulliver Park, Valencia, Spain
I first drew the figure in white conte on a dusty blue charcoal paper, and then using graphite I drew the Lilliputians tying her down, with a little cityscape in the distance. (Click on drawing for detailed image.)
I drew the next pose as it was and incorporated some of the studio behind the model, including a silhouette of one of the artists.
All of the artists worked hard on the assignment, each making a drawing that was remarkably different from the others, and each with success.
3 thoughts on “Figure Drawing with Background”
I LOVE this illustration – wonderfully creative!
Thank you, Robin. It was inspired by an example our instructor showed us, so I was hesitant at first to put my name on it. But she said something about everything being related to something else, so I thought, why not.
Joan I really like your Lilliput piece. I can’t wait to see it on paper. Your narratives are very interesting.