Saturday, March 16, 2019

Unpaid Model

3/13/19 graphite, Yupo

While studying portraiture for a full intensive weekend with Gary Faigin, I heard repeatedly the value of learning to draw from life (rather than photos). If we can’t practice from professional models in a studio, he encouraged us to sketch unwitting models in public every chance we get. Short of that, he reminded us that we always have at least one head at our disposal – our own.

Suddenly the self-portraits I had been doing as part of selfie Sunday, a casual social media challenge, took on greater significance. Faigin said that most students in his full-term (10-week) classes studying his portraiture methods are able to draw with a strong likeness after practicing about 20 to 30 portraits. I don’t know when I’ll get to No. 30, but let’s call this one No. 1.

One part of his method that I’m ignoring (surprise, surprise) is the material – charcoal. Using a tortillon to smudge soft graphite (here, I used an 8B) and the same kind of kneadable eraser we used in the workshop, I think I can still apply his principles and techniques for the purpose of learning. And like the smooth paper we used in class, I’m using Yupo, which I’ve already discovered to be a fun support during life drawing sessions. The result is different from charcoal, of course, but also much cleaner.

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