Friday, January 10, 2014

Dan Thompson - Portrait Drawing Demonstration

Our last week before the holiday break, Dan Thompson gave an all day portrait drawing demonstration, elucidating the principles and techniques necessary towards building a drawing with gestural and structural 

Dan stressed the importance of placement, and looseness in the start. Using light, long lines, Dan oriented Marie on the page and composed the image as a whole, using both her figure and the environment to construct his shapes. Dan almost never lifted his pencil from the page during the first 20 minutes, explaining that maintaining contact with pencil to paper helps keep you engaged and tap into the world of the drawing. 

As his gesture and placement became more or less decided upon, Dan continued to push the drawing with a false value in the shadows. The light and dark abstraction was a continual series of corrections and adjustments to get closer to the gesture. After placing his darkest dark, Dan used that value as a key to build up values in the lights, sculpting the form as simply as possible. 

Among Dan's many talents, is being able to conduct a lucid conversation while drawing at the same time. During the demo, Dan spoke about everything from pencil sharpening to aesthetics. He stressed that drawing is about an intelligent search. He spoke about the often made accusation towards realist draftsmen and painters as being "mimetics" slavishly copying their optical field. Dan explained that the long pose is impossible to copy - the final product is a total fabrication, a sum of truths about light and form. This distillation of the human figure is what makes the process and the product meaningful. 

The finished demonstration. "Marie" graphite on paper, 18x24"

 Our wonderful model Marie sat patiently for nearly 6 hours. 


  1. Excellent drawing! If i don't see this site than miss a big site. Your job is very charmful and interesting.Optical Express Make-up is an imperative some piece of the getting-primed standard of most ladies, if you're a high-support young lady, or simply applya touch of tinted moisturizer to get prepared for the day – everybody has their own particular inclination.

  2. Wow, Alex, this is a real learning experience. I love the quality of Dan's drawing. I would not have imagined it developing this way. Thank you.