Life Drawings

Philip Howe Fine Art
Philip Howe's Art and 3D classes, CLICK HERE
Recent work 4
Angel Paintings
Recent Work 3
Recent Work 2
Recent Work 1
Fine Art - Figures,Portraits, Other Subjects
Life Drawings (Figure drawings)
Early work_ 1980's, 1990's
Demos of several Paintings
Links to other Artists
Technical Page

I have to do at least 1 or 2 drawings for every illustration job I do. They get the idea across for me and the clients before going to final art. The better the drawing, the easier it is to get the sketch approved. For fine art, I use drawing as an aid to develop some of my more complex paintings. I usually start an idea by doing a very abstract sketch that makes little sense, except to remind me of what I saw in my head. A mental note, I suppose. From that, I can develop a more finished sketch before shooting reference of any models or other images needed to pursue the idea. Much of my final work is made up, but, like most realistic artists, I do use photos that I shoot to aid me in how to see a form in space. A lot of life drawing, several times a week, keeps you fresh, but after a while I felt that it wasn't as important as drawing with color and a brush, which is essentially how I paint. It's important to stay sharp though, and every once in a while I find myself sketching out something in charcoal or pencil just to see where it will take me. For a student of realism, it is the single most important way of understanding how forms relate and in developing the skill to discern distances and the hand and eye coordination it takes to do quality rendering. I have never desired to do elaborate drawings, I see no need for them, so most of my drawings are done very fast and without much nitpicking. Once I have the form down enough to give me the notes I need to paint from, that's usually all I do. Maybe one day I will do a long sketch or study, but like most atelier-type of work, where you simply look at a subject and paint or draw it for realism, I see no real creativity to that method, so it simply doesn't work for my inventive approach. 
The drawings here are samples from various sketch classes, done in charcoal or conte in one session each.

20 minute charcoal sketch 18x24"
Real size head detail of the life drawing above
Charcoal with oil over

The piece above is an interesting technique that combines a charcoal drawing on regular drawing paper (Strathmore Alexis, smooth finish) with pastel color here and there. After spraying a moderate amount of fixative (2 or 3 light coats) I simply taped down the paper and coated it quickly with pure, unthinned gloss or matte acrylic medium, using a house paintbrush of 3 or 4 inches, whatever is quickest, so long as the hairs stay in the brush, not pull out onto the painting surface. The acrylic seals the paper completely. After drying, I can paint freely with oils over this ideal underpainting. Total time just under 2 hours and fun to do.

45 min charcoal study
3 hour nupastel wash with conte highlights

Click here to see a brief demo of this drawing

40 minute charcoal
2 hour charcoal drawing on light gray conte paper
15 min conte on newsprint
15 minute conte on newsprint
2 hour charcoal study
charcoal and wax-conte
20 minute charcoal and black conte
2 minute gesture
40 minute charcoal smooth newsprint
15 minute dry conte
5 minute red conte- detail
2 minutes wax pencil on newsprint

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