life drawing

Norm at JCU-Lifersu

Unlike down south, where it’s all much more regulated, there is a pleasing imperturbable casualness about life-drawing up here. There is no official model’s association or union, and hence no rigorous insistence on changing rooms, fixed breaks, specified payments, etc. In Melbourne we stick to a fairly rigid programme of five at 2 minutes, two at 10 minutes, then a break of 10, followed by three at 20 with intervening 10 minute breaks. Up here they start with five or six at 1 minute, and then a series of varying lengths, could be 10, 20, 35, with indeterminate breaks. Seems to work and no-one complains.

The models all seem to be amateurs – among others we’ve had a student, a handyman, a university lecturer and a bus-driver. And today’s Norm, the bus driver, also appears some weeks on the other side of the operating table as a participant drawer in his own right – and pretty good too!

So, quickies:

and longer:

a couple of blow-ups:

and a final devil:

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Tricolour Lou at JCU

Having done a head in three colours in the portraiture class (charcoal and white chalk on brown paper), I thought I’d try it in figure drawing.

The theory behind this is that in drawing on white, you can’t go whiter, so you are starting with the highlights and are working from light to dark. This is also what one does in watercolour (but not in the ‘thick’, non-transparent media – oils and acrylics).

However, starting with brown, one is in mid tone, and can go lighter with white and darker with black.

So here is Lou, last Sunday at the JCU Lifers’ All-day, on an opened out brown carry-bag from the bookshop:

And here she is in simple line:


Sanguine Life at JCU

Using a Conte pencil (yes, wood-encased):




An attempt to draw on an ipad

This series of from 1 to 20 minute-poses, of Julie at JCU Tuesday night, was done on a 9.7″ iPad using Autodesk Sketchbook and an Apple Pencil. It’s a very different experience to drawing on A3 or half-imperial on an easel. Everything shrinks down. Mind you, I doodle sometimes in an A5 pad – and that is smaller than the iPad screen. But the feel is very, very different.

It took me some time to decide which app was best suited from Autodesk, Procreate and Artrage. The unenhanced Autodesk’s simple brush set seemed most appropriate. The next decision was to use only Autodesk and get its feel without being distracted by any use of the other Apps.

I used the pencil, pen, charcoal and watercolour brushes, the blender and eraser. One huge plus is of course the ability to undo and to erase. I have not yet attempted to use layers.

I soon found out that it suited me best to zoom out to 150 or 200% – that gave room for expansion if needed.

Anyway, first doodles:


Caitlin on Sunday at JCU


Selections from first four weeks at life.drawingJCU


Practice on loom and on paper

With Cresside Collette at her intermediate workshop at the Australian Tapestry Workshop on 13 and 14 June:


I bit off a bit more than I could chew on this one – in my haste to get a full 20×15 cm done in two days I made a number of errors. There are several instances of jumped warps and I probably spent too much effort on the blue and green soumak ‘whip-lashes’. But overall I am pleased to have got some decent colour gradation going on, which was the focus of the workshop. Thanks, Cresside!

With Julie Mcenerny at her Watercolour Pencil Botanic Drawing workshop at the Cairns Botanic Gardens on 1 July:

Not quite A3 size, this drawing of jackfruit again a bit too large to let me get it to an adequate state in the five hours available – I had to skimp on the smaller fruit and the buds. Next time I’ve got to remember to keep the scale small.

Untutored life-drawing group meeting at James Cook University, 27 June:


Not really competition for Henry Moore!

Life-drawing group, 4 July:



Ok for a quickie.

A folded bean-stuffed heat bag – capturing the texture:


… with one eye on the TV!