Friday, December 11, 2015

Day Three in Level Three

by Wendy Wagner
Level Three student.

Wednesday is a nice break in our week. It is a combined class of Levels Two and Three for Dan Thompson's structural drawing fundamentals. Since Dan commutes from New York, class starts 15 minutes later than our other days.

Today, he is doing an all-day drawing demo. We have completed two months of sculpting the head, feature by feature, and Dan will demonstrate how to incorporate the 3D thinking into our drawings.

7:55 am Arriving early on a frosty morning, students hang in the kitchen, discussing current work.

9:15 am Class begins. Dan explains that this is a visual example of our upcoming long pose, which will start next week. Using a 2H pencil, Dan's hand glides loosely across the page. I notice that he is using the techniques we have been taught all along: Use your whole arm to draw, stand back often, and move your eyes back and forth from the model to page. 
Tools of the trade

9:35 am Model break. Students line up to take pictures of the progress.

9:40 am Pose continues. We are allowed to ask questions as he is drawing. We take notes, photographs of the evolution, and ask away. Dan stays with the 2H pencil for some time, blocking in with an assemblage of shapes, angles and lines. This gives him the freedom to move and revise as the model settles into the pose. Space prohibits me from sharing my pose-by-pose notes, which were taken extensively for the rest of the morning.

Dan answering questions
At some point, he began alternating between a 2H, an HB, and for his darkest notes, a 9XXB. Dan explains that it is a tug of war - you want a certain richness. We watch him achieve this by lightly stumping in shadow shapes, drawing, and erasing out highlights. I love his markmaking.

Noon Lunchtime. In a reversal from the morning, it is a unusually warm day, so take-out it is!

12:45 pm Class resumes. Knowing that he has limited time to complete this, Dan continues his magic by moving from larger forms to smaller ones. He does not stay in one area for long, as he is constantly comparing smaller areas to the whole. This is where the knowledge of structure comes into play. Perception is great, but if you have an understanding of the planes, and the structure underneath, it will aid in your decision-making.

4:00 pm Time is up. The end result is an exquisite arrangement of shapes, values and hatchmarks in Dan's distinctive style. What a treat!  See his progress below.

Here are the step-by-step pics.
Photos taken each model break

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