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Drawing the Figure with Russell Tredell

Post #1590 • February 5, 2013, 8:50 AM

Acquired last weekend at the SOWA Vintage Market.

[Image: Drawing the Figure, Russell Tredell, Walter T. Foster, 1955.]

Drawing the Figure, Russell Tredell, Walter T. Foster, 1955.

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(1) Holding your pencil or charcoal vertically as above, with one eye closed, bring the height of the object within its length by varying the distance between your eye and the pencil.

(2) Holding a pencil at the same distance from your eye, turn it horizontally to determine the relation of height to width.

For smaller measurements at arm's length hold the pencil so that you can slide your thumb up or down most of its length. By bringing the length of the head between the top of the pencil and your thumbnail, you can compare this head measurement to other areas to find out how many heads high or wide the proportions are.

You can now transfer this knowledge of related measurements to your drawing by the same process. Also by sighting the straight edge of your pencil against the subject and bringing it down at the same slant, you can determine if those angles correspond to what you have drawn.

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This composition involved the use of a frame within a frame.

I have tried here to make the face the center of interest by framing it in the space formed by the arm. The strong vertical line in the back of the dressing gown helped give stability to the composition. The three double lines in ink are added to show you the large movements that gave it the action and design.

[Apropos the next drawing:] On 30 x 40 illus. board, with overall watercolor wash of a flesh tone—drawn with Conte pencils and red, blue, yellow, and black pastel.

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This figure occupies an oblong shape about twice its height. The whole action appeared cradled in the large curve of the base. After the points indicating the limits of the structure were noted and straight lines either observed or drawing in charcoal form point to point, to determine their relation to each other, the shape of the deepest shadows were drawn and roughly filled in to give the whole more substance.

As the drawing developed, all kinds of smaller curves were discovered to be sympathetic to the dominant lines. The pyramid formed by the raised knees; the same form under them, reversed; the triangle formed by the legs and upper arm—all fitted in and helped the design. The pillow and textile forms were later arranged to complement the curves of the body and the horizontal line of the couch helped give the composition the restfulness suggested by the pose.

[Apropos the next drawing:] On illustration board 25 x 19 1/2" with watercolor and pastel.

It is easy to get used to mannerisms and mistakes in drawing. Frequently get back from your work and criticize it as though it was someone else's drawing. Turn it upside down and look for any weakness in structure and composition. Also hold it to a mirror to gain a fresh viewpoint.

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