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Paint With Me WIP: the nude

Fri­day Paint with me tutorial.

NOW! You are wel­come to join.

The beau­ti­ful female fig­ure has been a sub­ject of inter­est to artists since the begin­ning of his­tory.  Almost every great artist is rep­re­sented by exam­ples of his impres­sion of the figure.

Learn­ing how to draw is not dif­fi­cult. How well you’ll do  depends on con­tin­u­ous prac­tice and per­se­ver­ance. You needn’t learn anatomy — leave it to doc­tors. When draw­ing the fig­ure, we are inter­ested, mainly, in planes and form. Draw­ing of the fig­ure is not an exact sci­ence. I can only say, “This is how I do it — try it this way” And you will, in time, find your own way that will suit you the best.

Here’s an exam­ple of a fig­ure draw­ing. Copy it or inter­pret it any way you wish. You can­not sti­fle your own originality.

A basic pro­por­tional scale for the fig­ure is mea­sured in heads as units. There are seven for clas­sic pro­por­tions– a head, from chin to mid­dle of the chest, to the belly area, to the mid­dle of palms/mid hams, to the knees, and from knees to heels. When draw­ing a fig­ure, remem­ber that it doesn’t just hang in the air: estab­lish sur­round­ings that it occupies.

I used sepia Cre­ta­color crayon which I don’t have to fix. If you are using a pas­tel or other type of pen­cil in ini­tial sketch, you’ll have to fix it with a com­mer­cial fix­a­tive such as Kry­lon to avoid smearing.


p> Draw­ing instruc­tion ref­er­ences: Fritz Willis “The Nude”, Charles Bar­gue: with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of Jean-Léon Gérôme: Draw­ing Course.

Before pro­ceed­ing to flesh palette, I rec­om­mend a tonal draw­ing using just Burnt Sienna and white to estab­lish darks, mid­dle tones, and lights. It will take about 2 weeks for the tonal paint­ing to dry, so please take tonal paint­ing seri­ously and bring it to com­ple­tion, includ­ing a back­ground. To make sure the layer has dried, take a piece of nap­kin and put some lin­seed oil on it — if the paint rubs off the layer needs more time. To speed up the dry­ing time, you can place a paint­ing outdoors/on a balcony.

  Local Flesh: Rose Mad­der, Naples Yel­low, Flake White, plus Cerulean Blue to neu­tral­ize cer­tain areas; The Flesh in Shadow:  Cad Red, Raw umber, Virid­ian Green, Flake White; The Flesh in Light: Naples Yel­low, Rose Mad­der, Flake White. Note: your back­ground will already be tinted, avoid white back­ground (like mine) in favor of gray/middle value back­ground that sug­gests shadow and light. 
Paint­ing with lim­ited palette ref­er­ences:  “Oil Paint­ing — New Edi­tion” by Wal­ter T. Fos­ter.  
I will resume this paint­ing ses­sion in 2 weeks.  
Remem­ber to Have FUN


Posted in art technique, demo/in progress, oil painting.

9 Responses

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  1. Ken Ryan says

    Holy c***!

  2. katarzyna says

    C’mon Ken…Don’t be so enig­matic. You don’t like the thing or you ve’got totally dif­fer­ent opin­ion on how to make art — just express it ( like David did on “A few thoughts on inspi­ra­tion”). Alien­Girl — I appre­ci­ate your courage to share your pri­vate opin­ions and works with us. “Learn­ing how to draw is not dif­fi­cult” — I must dis­sagree. Unless you are an absolute genius who just draws with a great skill and under­stand­ing what you see, you would prob­a­bly need years of proffe­sional tuto­r­ial (or strictly dis­ci­plined self-tutorial) and your life­time of tri­als and errors to mas­ter draw­ing. And by “draw­ing” I mean an art per se (not sketchy intros to paint­ings, not more-or-less hobbyist’s “pretty” draw­ings). Draw­ing is the very basis of any true art, its spine and a foun­da­tion stone. Draw­ing (as I mean it) is to SEE things as they really are, is to achieve the high­est pos­si­ble level of under­stand­ing (that’s why anatomy is not only for doc­tors; Leonardo knew it-look for his mar­vel­lous anatom­i­cal draw­ings) in order to extract an essence of the drawn object — no mat­ter how humble/gorgeous it is (a tea­spoon, a peb­ble, an amaz­ing nude or maybe cos­mos as seen by an astronomer). Extract­ing essence doesn’t always trans­late into a super-realistic draw­ing — imag­ine draw­ing just a move­ment of a crowd of peo­ple flow­ing down the street –real­is­tic draw­ing is impos­si­ble (unless you take a photo to froze the time, but you will miss your point doing that). The same with human mod­els — you not draw­ing a man­nequin, your model’s got his/er very indi­vid­ual char­ac­ter, per­son­al­ity, a way sh/he moves/ sits, inter­prets a pose — you will have to use many dif­fer­ent media and to jug­gle with the qual­ity of your line to draw whom sh/he actu­ally is. Say­ing that I have to make you aware — Alien­Girl — that your fig­ure (drew from life — I assume) seems, for me , to have a lit­tle bit cartoon-ish qual­ity. Unless it’s what you meant I would rec­om­mend spend­ing more time with her and get­ting to know her bet­ter. Good luck. Katarzyna

  3. David says


    I’d prob­a­bly delete your response because it con­tributes noth­ing to the site and vio­lates the com­ments pol­icy, except that it would make Katarzyna’s response non­sen­si­cal. So I’ve cleaned up the exple­tive instead.

    Please don’t bother to com­ment if you have noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant to say.

  4. Incompetent says

    Accu­rate draw­ing can be learned read­ily enough — ate­lier stu­dents should be evi­dence of that. But what katarzyna describes, cap­tur­ing “essen­tials” with greater under­stand­ing, yes, that requires a fur­ther level of expe­ri­ence and insight. But the core foun­da­tion shouldn’t take a life­time, unless you draw like Basquiat (bwaha).

    And hey, car­toons are art, ain’t they? Lookit http://​johnkstuff​.blogspot​.com and look at the inten­sive sub­tleties of ani­ma­tion. It will open your eyes and make you say, “more oval­tine, please!”

  5. katarzyna says

    Hi Incom­pe­tent Read my post again please. I wrote “draw­ing as I mean it ” — with an empha­sis on “I”. I expressed my per­sonal view and I’am glad that you have yours. I used term:”cartoonish” after Oxford Dic­tio­nary of Eng­lish “a sim­pli­fied or exag­ger­ated ver­sion or inter­pre­ta­tion of some­thing” and I meant that AlienGirl’s fig­ure has got a sim­pli­fied (or — as for my taste — over­sim­pli­fied) qual­ity — as she was draw­ing a doll, not a human being. And that’s fine if she intended her pic­ture to look like that. I didn’t make my com­ment to “kick” some­body (is it your inten­tion — Incom­pe­tent?), but to help her to take a fresh look on her work. From my expe­ri­ence, it’s really impor­tant to hear con­struc­tive feed­back.
    P.S. I wouldn’t gen­er­alise that “car­toons are art” — some of them-yes

  6. Incompetent says

    The prob­lem with defin­ing art is that the para­me­ters are so broad and mud­died with the after­math of the mod­ernist move­ments. I pro­vided that link as an exam­ple to show the tra­di­tional require­ments of skill in form, line, and so forth, that are the hall­marks of rep­re­sen­ta­tional art, are still alive in other gen­res that may be viewed as lesser forms i.e. cartoons.

    I do not intend to kick any­body but I will con­tinue to chew gum. Do you like West­ern movies?

  7. Katarzyna says

    It’s a quite broad theme — “West­ern movies” — isn’t it? I like good movies, regard­less of the coun­try of ori­gin. A’propos a “theme” — we are not address­ing AlienGirl’s post any more and I wouldn’t appre­cite it being in her shoes.

  8. Kim Power says

    I enjoyed read­ing this lat­est thread on draw­ing. For some time now I’ve been beat­ing myself up for not draw­ing every day. I have the excuse that I go to paint at the stu­dio all week, but that shouldn’t stop me. I actu­ally love to draw too and it does give me a per­spec­tive on my sur­round­ings and just a sat­is­fied med­i­ta­tive sen­sa­tion. Yet, I have won­dered why I avoid it, even for­get it? And then I read this arti­cle about how mass media gives us what we crave and there­fore we don’t turn to draw­ing. (My inter­pre­ta­tion.) Lately, I’ve been get­ting home from the stu­dio and flip­ping on the t.v. Now I’m going to come home and flip open my sketch­book and draw. Thanks.

  9. Katarzyna says

    Thanks Kim, I wouldn’t pos­si­ble even dream about turn­ing peo­ple to draw­ing just by writ­ing a post. I should too start to spend less time on treat­ing myself with T.V. or even the Inter­net. The prob­lem is that we’re “pro­grammed” by our civ­i­liza­tion and we’re intu­itively look­ing for “busy”, “loud”, com­plex images sat­is­fy­ing our senses. To spent two hours being focused on e.g. just a piece of rock makes us anx­ious or bored (unless we’re con­tem­pla­tive by nature or trained to man­age this)

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