I'm really enjoying the figure drawing course I've been taking. It's only been about 6 weeks but I am making HUGE improvements. One thing that's helped a lot is this method we are working with using nupastels on smooth toned paper.
It works like this:
- block in the silhouette of the figure with a light pastel, something lighter than the tone of the paper.
- cut back into the silhouette with a dark pastel to refine the silhouette and define a good composition.
- smear the heck out of everything so you're left with a sort of mid tone.
- cut back in with the dark to find the silhouette again, and then use the light pastel to add highlights and details to the figure.
Credit for this technique goes to Mark English who developed it while he was teaching figure drawing. It's very helpful because it gets you to focus on the big shapes in the figure before getting caught up on the details. Also, because you rub everything out mid way through you can spend the first half of the drawing noodling and adjusting all you want but the final result still looks fresh and not overworked.
Nupastel on toned paper, 18 in. x 24 in.