Statues are great for honing your drawing skills. Don’t confine yourself to galleries and museums, look in streets, parks cemeteries and graveyards. Statues can become a source of inspiration for further pieces as well as being completed drawings in their own right.
Decide what has interested you about the particular statue. You could focus on silhouette, tone and negative shapes. Alternatively you could look at the textures on the statue created by erosion and lichens. Look at the play of light on the statue created by the other objects nearby or draw the statue and its context – what’s beside, behind or in front.
I came across Lady Matheson’s Memorial at Lews castle in Stornoway one evening. The sun was quite low in the sky as it was about 19:00 and quite warm. The statue itself was located in an ornate canopy which took my eye. The problem with this is that there was so much detail, it was hard to edit out because it was all so beautiful. I tried to capture the details on the columns as it didn’t look right without it edited out. I simplified the details at the top of the columns to suggest ornate flowers. I think I got the perspective right but I would need to check it. I really enjoyed drawing this as because of the architectural detail and linear perspective. I realised I missed out shaping he columns with the cast shadow as I have shaped the roof. I took about two and half hours to do this drawing which is far too long, but I got quite engrossed in it.
I went back to the memorial the next evening to draw the statue.
This is a quicker drawing taking about 40 minutes. Because it was in a covered canopy, I didn’t notice may cast shadows. My main concern was to convey the fabric drapes which I don’t think I have done terribly well.
I then did a close up of the face in charcoal, and got a stiff neck from looking up. I was juggling my sketchbook and charcoal and made a bit of a mess of the features as I couldn’t get them in line.
I tried again with a soluble dark pencil and got a better likeness of the features. Once I’d drawn the features I sat down and using a reservoir paintbrush worked into the drawing to create tone and shape. I really like this drawing s it is soft and the medium has worked to my advantage.
I tried a side on view of the head in charcoal which I really struggled with. Proportions are all wrong and I failed to draw the beautiful strands of curly almost plaited hair.
I stood back from the memorial and did a really quick outline of the statue under the canopy to experiment with negative shapes. This reminded me of the Patrick Caulfield exercise in project 1.
The next statue is Charity from the three graces in Inverness. I used 4B pencil I attempted to portray the form of the fabric. I tried not to use line, but don’t seem to achieved that very well. I think I have got the proportions of the statue correct sand have given the sense that I am looking up at it.
The last drawing I did is of a little gargoyle with a charcoal pencil on multimedia paper. I had to look up to where it was positioned. The light wasn’t great but there was a cast shadow that I could get in. The facial features are not anything like they are supposed to be and I struggled with the paper as was quite rough. On reflection I should have used a smoother paper and I would probably have been able to manipulate the charcoal better.