Project 4.3 Hands and Feet
Exercise: Drawing your own hands and feet
My first go at watercolour. I was totally phased at the art shop so ended up just buying one tube – in black. After the first hand (on left), which just came out looking like muddy water, I watched a free tutorial and began to understand that the most important aspect of watercolour is translucency. I’m much happier with the way the paint has worked on the other two hands.
I like this angle – I put my forearm up on a shoebox in front of a mirror and focused on the angles of the knuckles before drawing in each finger – I’ve discovered that it’s important to box in the whole shape first rather than doing one finger at a time – otherwise things can go horribly wrong before I realise what’s happened.
Hand Threes and Four
I only saw at the end that something had gone wrong with the fingers in Hand Three – too thin, too short – fixed in number four. This exercise is to focus on the negative spaces around the fingers, and I did find that this was really very helpful. I drew the shapes and angles instead of trying to draw a thumb and a forefinger.
Looking back at the exercise in my folder I wanted to go back and think solely about negative space, which I’ve done here. It’s frustrating only having one hand to draw – I think two would give much more interesting negative space – no way I can get my kids to pose for me. Keeping hands still is quite a commitment.
Hands are fascinating if infuriating to draw. A hand alone says one thing, a hand holding on to something is a different beast entirely. Palm up offers, hand closed can seem secretive or even aggressive, but also lonely. I am always grappling with the lengths and widths of thumb and fingers. Once the fingers begin to fold at the joints it’s as if all proportion flies out of the window. I made many mistakes in these sketches, and though I know I’ll continue to make them, at least next time I’ll be looking out for them.
These are toes more than feet – I struggled so much with the whole foot. I have spooky long toes so if I draw my own feet straight out it looks like an anatomical gaff. From here on the feet are those of my eldest boy:
Feet Two and Three
I hope I’m not the first to have drawn a foot with six toes. Having already observed that it’s really important to block the whole in before going in toe by toe, I totally forgot and only when I sat back did I realise I’d given my boy six toes – hastily corrected.
While the negative space around the right foot has really helped the drawing, I’ve lost confidence where the foot disappears in to the jean and it’s not clear what’s going on.
I got worried that I hadn’t created enough background around these feet, filled in hurriedly, realised it looked a mess and roughy rubbed and smudged out the background (as I saw Giacometti likes to do!). The result is more interesting, though the foreshortening on the right foot is a bit weird – the leg disappears in to jean and as the jean has been erased it doesn’t quite work – same problem as Feet Four.
Feet Six, ink (drawn from photograph)
Typically this is not at all what I set out to do. Wanting to break out from my safe haven of pencil sketches, and inspired by Hockney’s beautiful line drawings, I thought I would do a ‘beautiful line drawing’ of feet. But somehow my lines became clunky and heavy , so I added a little shading and it still didn’t look right. So I continued, trying to rescue something that was neither here nor there. It’s ended up so far from where I started.
I am beginning to see how negative space can affect the final outcome – how it’s important to consider the negative space in a composition – it can help give the final drawing rhythm. I’ve ended up with interesting space on the left, but the top is confused as is the area in between the big toes. The bottom left corner is also a bit stilted.
In the end I don’t mind the result. These feet look like they have been sculpted from boulders on a hillside on a stormy night. It is a bit weird, but I’ve learned something. I’ve also learned that doing a ‘beautiful line drawing a la Hockney’ may be a tad ambitious.
Feet Seven, charcoal pencil (drawn from photograph)
I enjoy the position of these feet and wanted to have a go with charcoal pencil. I didn’t have much time, and I don’t think the result is very interesting, but it was easy and quick which makes me think I must be learning something!
I know that from here I need to push myself to experiment more than I currently am while getting to know these new media at the same time.
On experimenting: Whenever I start to draw I have a sense of wanting to try something new, and I’m truly not frightened of it going wrong, but once I get that pencil in my hand I seem utterly compelled to try and ‘get it right’. Not sure what the answer is but I am looking.