3.0 Fast

The purpose of this exercise was to experiment with ‘fast’ making techniques in order to experience this way of working so that any lessons could be taken forward and techniques developed.

Key words from the brief:

I decided to deliver work against two options.

Option 1 – Model making

  • Divide your modelling material into the number of attempts you want to conduct for this exercise – 10 would be a good number
  • You will be conducting rapid portraits
  • Set your timer for two or three minutes
  • When the time has run out, stop

Option 2 – Continuous line drawing

  • Make a drawing without taking your drawing tool off the paper
  • Each drawing using this technique should only take two to three minutes
  • Your subject should be a person, drawn either from life or from a photograph

Creative risks:

As a response to the lessons from PART 2 Visual approaches where I identified the need to take more creative risks, I’m explicitly giving myself creative risk objectives for the exercises in PART 3 Making.

  1. Model making – this is a creative risk because it involves a new material and a new technique
  2. Continuous line drawing using brush and ink – this is a creative risk because it involves working with a new technique
  3. Combining model making with continuous line drawing – this is a creative risk because it involves working with a new technique

Option 1 – Model making

This was a completely new experience for me and I decided to use photo portrait reference rather than a live model. This also meant I could find a series of images with interesting facial expressions.

I used Das white modelling clay as the modelling material and had various tools on hand in case I needed them, although I wasn’t really sure what to expect or what I’d use them for.

I divided the modelling clay into ten equal portions, set the timer on my iPhone to 3-minutes, and started with the first portrait.

Seq02

I completed all ten three-minute models in the same session, one after another:

Option 2 – Continuous line drawing

The continuous line drawings below were all made during three Zoom life and figure drawing sessions that took place during the period I was working on this exercise.

Combination of model making and continuous line drawing

The final part of the exercise was to make 3-minute drawings of each of the clay models.

Seq01

The drawings were made in one session, one after another.

Reflections

What did you find most challenging?

  • The most challenging part of the exercise was sticking to using just brush and ink to make the 3-minute drawings of the clay models. You can see with portraits 3, 4, 7 and 10, I sneaked in use of Sharpie pen to give a finer more defined line.

Is this a material that you have worked with before?

  • I’d never worked with clay in this context and I thought it was a really valuable experience. I was amazed at how much I was able to achieve in 3-minutes. What it taught me was a bit about why different muscle movements with facial expressions make the shapes that they do. For example, physically pushing clay around to make a smile naturally makes the cheeks in the model larger.
  • Through doing figure drawing classes I’m very familiar with working fast and finding rapid ways to capture gesture and expression.

Would you attempt this again and, if so, how would you change or develop your approach?

  • I will work with clay models again and next time try making them with a live model. I liked the drawings of the clay models and the potential for these to become the basis for further character development.
  • I think I’ve got a lot more to learn about using facial expression to strengthen narrative in my drawings, and this is a really good technique to reinforce how and why expressions affect the face.

Reflections on the creative risk objectives

I set myself three creative risk objectives. My reflections on these are:

Model making – this is a creative risk because it involves a new material and a new technique

  • As per my comments above, this risk really paid dividends in terms of learning, and as a technique I’ll repeat this to learn more about how facial expressions work.
  • Practice research topic: How do I use model making as a way to learn more about creating facial expression and caricature?

Continuous line drawing using brush and ink – this is a creative risk because it involves working with a new technique

  • As per my comment above, I stuck to this but with resistance. I really wanted to move away from the loose brush and ink approach into using the much more controllable Sharpie pen.
  • I like portraits 1, 8 and 9 that were all made using brush and ink. If I had defaulted to use of pen I wouldn’t have got these results.

Combining model making with continuous line drawing – this is a creative risk because it involves working with a new technique

  • As per my comment above, I found this a really rapid and productive way to create new portraits with potential to develop further. I’m mindful of seeing Paula Rego creating ‘sets’ for some of her paintings using models and dolls. I think this would be an interesting development to try in my own work.
  • Practice research topic: How do I use models/sets as an approach to create future narrative illustrations?