Once you’ve mastered the realistic figure, you’ll also need a realistic environment around them. Learn about placing figures in exteriors and interiors, developing a narrative, working with scale, and creating depth.
we've drawn figures on location, takes a lot of bravery, takes a little bit of curiosity to give it a try and at a certain point, which we touched on a little bit. It's fun to try to place figures in space. We did that a bit with my husband in the chair, We did that a bit with um my daughter planting things as we started to refine those drawings. But there's other ways to play with that and sometimes creating sort of imagined spaces with the figure can be a way to expand how you use your drawings. So what I have here is um some photographs that I took of my daughter out in the dunes out on Cape Cod. And I love this photograph is actually the same photograph repeated several times. And even though I prefer to draw from the figure in on location in real time, sometimes photographs can be a useful tool to experiment and just sort of see what different scale changes or positions in space could provide as an opportunity for inspiration. So, I've created um actually a large version and mediu...
m version, and I also have a smaller version that I'm gonna show you what I did with. And what I'm going to do is I'm gonna show you a playful way to arrange figures in space so that you can create your own multiple figure compositions in different kinds of environments. Um whether it's an interior or exterior, it's a way to be playful with it. So what I'm gonna show you is basically, this is sort of, you know, a very loose, very gestural remembered sketch of that dune like landscape, I just put it down in a darker pencil um that's the horizon line and these are some sort of you know, dune shapes in the foreground. And what I did is I drew the figure of celeste in three proportions, 1 large, and I drew another one um reversed um a little bit smaller, and then I drew another one smaller still and I put them on tracing paper. Because what that provides me the opportunity to do is if I don't know exactly where I want these figures in space, I can take them, I can move them around, I can move them further apart, I can flip them right, which is pretty cool. Um and you can make decisions before you really commit to establishing the figure on the drawing by experimenting a little bit first, you want to have a feel that they could all potentially occupy this space more or less in relationship to each other. And I find once you sort of establish where you want them and I'm sort of enjoying having this figure looking out to the right, having this figure a little further back in space, looking to the left and then this little figure way back a little bit further. I feel like they more or less organically occupy this space. I was contemplating, like, do I want this figure maybe back here. Um that's kind of interesting, but I think I prefer her to be around here and you know, these are the questions you can ask yourself and once you establish them, I'm looking at this thinking like could this be believable? Could this be something that you know, I could work with and it feels more or less believable being granted? The space is organic, it's it could be changeable. But one thing that is happening here is that there's a like around the midpoint of the body, right around here, more or less matches up with the midpoint of the body of this one, which more or less matches up with the midpoint of the body of this one. So they're all established more or less at the same eye level and then the scale change happens. So this is about half the size of this one, and this is about half the size of that one. So they're stepping back in space and they feel somewhat believable because they are all lined up more or less at the same eye level. And so, you know, for instance, if this one, you know, it was way down here, that would be kind of surreal, right? Because if she's lower in the ground plane, the feeling would be that she'd be larger, right? Because she's closer to us. So we want to establish them in relationship to each other in a way that feels like the depth is believable and in a way that feels like this would be an organic way to establish um the space. So this possibility can really create imaginary spaces. You know, I've used one figure flipping her and changing her scale, but you could certainly use some of the raw material from your on location drawings. You could work from photographs, you could work in a lot of different ways to generate images at different scales, maybe small medium and large and play with them on trace paper within a particular environment. It's a really fun way to kind of play with something a little bit more imaginative, maybe a little bit surreal, a little bit more dreamlike. Um and also potentially create a narrative, a story that has to do with the interaction of figures within a particular environment, whether it's outdoors or indoors, those are things that can be really fun to experiment with. So you can take an image, you can reduce it or enlarge it on your computer. You could also take it down to a store that does copies and do one regular size one half that one half that. Again, to really get a sense of the scale, play around a little and try it out
<p>Amy Wynne received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from the New York Academy of Art in Manhattan and her BA from Smith College in Art History and Cultural Anthropology. She has been teaching painting and drawing for over 25 years. For 10 years, she taught full time at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.</p>