4.3 Feet – Exercise 2

  • Draw your feet from the outside in
  • Blocking in the negative spaces between feet and edge of the picture first
  • Work around and then inside the feet
  • Make your drawing interesting

This was a much harder task than part 1 of this exercise where I began with negative spaces inside and between the feet. I feel I lose my way when concentrating primarily on the spaces round my subject leaving it wonky. Usually when I draw I concentrate on the subject using the negative spaces to check on the shapes and get to grips with difficult ones. My perception flicks between the two.

This said, I found that looking at the shapes and spaces surrounding the subject makes me more conscious of the composition. There is a balance between positive and negative spaces, both in their size and in the way they are distributed. I kept that in mind when following the exercises in my first two sketches, but lost it, once I again concentrated on the subject and the medium more. I only noticed afterwards.

For this exercise I sat in front of a mirror and used the edges of that as the outer demarcation of the negative spaces. I began by jotting in the shapes of the negative spaces with graphite first:

neg spaces

Here the shapes of the feet are still ok, I think. Then I blocked in the background before adding shadows and lines to the feet and trousers in compressed charcoal (for the second drawing I used lighting from the left, the first one is in natural light).

The feet are all wrong. But somehow I still like both these drawings.  I like the shape of the x that balances the picture nicely. The feet have volume which brings out their shape (even if it is a wrong one). I don’t like the background. I chose a horizontal movement following the direction of the floor boards but I think it has too much movement. On the other hand this makes for a nice contrast to the smudged shading of the feet and legs. The background also lacks depth. I am still not comfortable with charcoal, maybe that is what is wrong with the background. It certainly is with the shadow line in one of the legs in the second drawing.

I think I like the initial graphite sketch best!

Are these drawings interesting? These are initial sketches, trying out the exercise. I would like to do something with them as I did with the hands. I did not have a very creative day so went for something similar as with the hands. A line and wash. The difference lies in the red trousers I was wearing, they blocked out the yellow/blue idea from the hands:

red trousers A3
Oil pastels and watercolour, A3

I think the shape of the feet is much better in this, but something is lacking. It’s a bit pale and uneventful. And I’m not sure if I like the red “roof” the trousers make in this composition. I liked the more balanced x better.

Here a version with stronger colour and more interaction between oil pastel and watercolour. It is only A4 and the feet fill out more of the paper. I like that.

red trousers A4
Oil pastels and watercolour, A4

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