Atul’s Life Class

Creating space and form in drawing

Atul Vohora led the life drawing classes for this term.  One of the key parts of discussion was the creation of space in the image, the illusion of 3 dimensions and space around a subject.  This is more challenging in line drawings where space is to be represented by just a few lines.  There are many ways of seeking to achieve this that can be extremely effective used with subtlety.

Creating horizons where one object is seen to be in front of another, by blocking its view provides a clear impression depth and structure.  While this in central to classical landscape painting it is also extremely effective in life drawing.  There are many parts of the body where the edge that you see is obscured by the edge of something else that is closer.  Drawing the change from one part to the next, with a clear break underpins that shape and understanding.  Alternatively, if you wish a line drawing to be a flat image then simply draw continuously around the shape, which will bring all points forward to the same level.

Simple illusions also work, thicker/darker lines appear to be closer, while narrower ones, with less pressure appear to be further away.  So regulating the touch can bring parts of the body forward and push other parts back.  Similarly, more detail brings objects forward.  Using a pose that has foreshortening also helps create space as the mind understands the implications of the otherwise distorted shapes.

The continuous process of searching, of questioning marks in and around the figure automatically create an impression of space.  The space you feel as the artist is inevitably put into the work, as if my magic!  The strange shapes that you see and record all speak to true form of what you are experiencing.

HeatherlyPatrick Earle