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My Favorite Figure Drawing Exercises

I love figure drawing and try to do regular exercises to help with my drawing technique.  Here are 3 of my favorite, regular exercises - in addition to drawing hand photos from an American sign language website. 

One of Carla Sonheim's Drawing Labs is to draw 100 Faces.  I decided to draw most faces from live models and carry a pouch with watercolor cards, pen, pencil, eraser, 8 watercolor pencils, and the large Niji waterbrush with me when I'm I'm on NYC public transportation.  It is challenging to draw without the model knowing - or having fellow passengers comment.  And sometimes the model is only in their seat for one bus or subway stop.  Here are 2 of my latest. 

 The drawing on the left was done with an indigo Prismacolor colored pencil - one of Kate Johnson's recommendations for shaking things up.



I love the challenge of drawing from Posemaniacs.com - using their 90 second program.  I usually will spend 10 minutes doing these drawings to warm up for a scheduled trip to Live Figure Drawing.  These figures were drawn with a watercolor colored pencil and then brushed with water.




Someone on some blog - sorry I can't give credit where it is due - recommended this exercise for practicing portrait drawing.  I look for faces in magazines that are about the size of my journal page and then cut them in half, gluing in the side I will copy.  I'd love to have 5" front facing, colored photos of less perfect models (i.e. interesting faces) to draw.  But I haven't found a source in color, of that size, in hard copy.  I think I need to haunt the used book stores for cheap sources.






This is a great post! I think it's great that you are sketching all those faces from life. You reminded me that I need to get back to posemaniacs (I just sort of figured out a quick way to do figure drawing - maybe - and I want to see if it works). And I love the idea of the half portrait! Great fun!

Awesome post Shirley!

hello, shirley,
i'm a fellow EDMer :)
i'd forgotten i did a 'complete the face' exercise in the summer, and i've just posted it. (i added a link to your blog, if that's ok).
yours is very impressive, esp. the mouth!

Great job on the half-face portrait, Shirley! Another way to "check" angles is to turn it upside down, or do a mirror image. Looks like you're having a great time with your sketches.

These are great exercises, and I love your public transportation drawings! I'm going to check out the 90 second thing at Posemaniacs! nancy

Love the subway portraits! And of course, I think posemaniacs is one of the best sites ever for artists ever! The art teacher of our high school used to do this exercise with her students. I wanted so much to be in that class, but she was the town 'lush' so my parents didn't allow me!

Loved seeing all your work. You've managed to make the posemaniacs models look attractive!!

i was skeptical about a website as stimulation for figure drawing but posemaniacs is amazing! Seeing the musculature so clearly gives so much insight into the figures and the poses are wonderfully challenging. The images almost look three dimensional on the screen. Thanks so much for mentioning this resource.

Great post! You don't give anyone of us excuses for not drawing. The opportunities are everywhere.

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