It’s been a busy year thus far, with jobs, projects, and personal affairs occupying my time, making it hard to go out and draw. It’s no excuse to slack off, though. “Drawing for an artist is like playing the scales for a musician”, my teacher used to say. You gotta do it to stay sharp.
The most challenging thing about figure drawing is that in an artificial environment, drawing the same model over and over, it’s very easy to develop gimmicky habits and forget to observe and react to what you see. To get the most out of the model, I try to give myself a different challenge each time the moderator utters the word “change”.
“It can’t be any new note. When you look at the keyboard, all the notes are there already. But if you mean a note enough, it will sound different. You got to pick the notes you really mean!”
— Thelonius Monk
How fitting that this quote came from a Jazz pianist, a music genre that emphasizes spontaneity, expression, and reaction, rather than rehearsed precision. Though I’m not much of a connoisseur for hard Jazz, this quote fascinated me since I first read it years ago and continues to inspire me. I’ll just let it sink in a bit while you listen to Monk play the piano. What do you think he means?
Equally inspiring is one of my favourite models Bettie Fever. One of the common traits of a great model is that they always mean something with every pose, and Bettie is no exception. It makes the artist’s job much easier!
I hope you enjoyed these drawings from my last two sessions as much as I enjoyed making them. Stay tuned for a new blog entry of the character design process as I prepare for my next graphic novel.