• On Figure Drawing

by David Latham McSween May 14, 2019

Figura n.1917 - David McSween - Figure Drawing in charcoal
Observing The Human Form
When creating artwork, but especially in figure drawing, the process comes down to making one decision after another, and in figure drawing the more deliberate the decision, the better. In a piece like this one, the artist has to quickly decide how they are going to handle elements like the background and foreground. Since the light is falling on the back of the model softly, it can be challenging to know how to handle the darkened room the surrounds the model. I solved this by creating a dark mass of tone to the right but didn't carry it through to the other side of the figure because I didn't want the composition to become overwhelmed by darker values.
Figura n.191 - Figure Drawing by David McSween - Charcoal on Paper
Knowing What's Important

Creating visual interest in a figure drawing often relies on creating, enhancing, or balancing the contrast between different elements of design like soft and hard edges, high and low contrast, and straight and curved lines. In this a piece like this one, I was able to build on these contrasting elements of design to create, what I feel, is a cohesive drawing that has a lot of exciting places for the viewer's eye to explore. Most figure drawings are comprised of singular subject matter, the model posing, so developing these areas of interest can be more challenging, but this is where good design makes all the difference.

Figura n.1911 - Figure Drawing by David McSween - Charcoal on paper
Working The Whole Composition

Intersecting lines that describe the form in a figure drawing tend to help an artist give the viewer a sense of depth, what parts of the pose are coming in front of each other and which are receding toward the background. In this piece, it became essential to me, to break open these lines so I could maintain an overall sense of the light falling on the form. By sacrificing these clear lines for more suggestive ones, I'm able to get the whole composition working together and this, I believe, adds to the aesthetic appeal.

Until next time, keep painting and please feel free to leave questions or feedback in the comments section below, and I'll try my best to get back to you within a day.

Best Regards,

David McSween



David Latham McSween
David Latham McSween

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11"x14" 16"x20"
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PRINT SIZE 2019 PRICING (before sales tax) w/SHIPPING (estimated, before sales tax)
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ARTWORK SIZE SIZE RANGE 2019 PRICING RANGE
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