I spend some time in the beginning (usually after the first drawing) pointing
out body parts on a student, like head, neck, shoulders, arms growing out of
the shoulders, elbows, etc. We talk about positive and negative spaces. I
talk a lot about looking and drawing what they see and not what they know is
there. It takes a couple times, but eventually they will draw the side or the
back of the model when they're facing another direction.
If there is time left, I ask them to add background and color and features. I
only let them draw an oval for the head and face, otherwise they'd spend the
whole time on the face. I also have them choose one dark crayon to draw with,
and explain that if they see they made a mistake, just draw right over the
drawing. That way I'll know they they saw and corrected it. I won't let them
turn the paper over to begin again.
I give them 12 x 18 paper, and the heads have to be at the top and the feet at
the bottom. I don't follow any formulae, but depend on the students learning
to really see. It seems to work and the drawings look great -- even from the
most artistically challenged students.
I've stopped doing the really fast drawings. Usually they take under five
minutes and most students get the form drawn in. I don't time them, just
watch and see where the artists are. I'll give them a one minute warning so
they can finish up fast. I also watch the models to see how squirmy they are.
They're usually excellent, though.
I also explain how difficult modeling is, and how important it is to stay
perfectly still, and how they will start itching in places they didn't know
they could itch. They think that's funny.
The progress is amazing from the first drawing to the last. If we run out of
models and still have time left, I'll model. It's always fun to see what I
look like on their papers, and they love drawing their teacher.
This is one of my favorite projects, one that improves their skills
significantly, and also one of my easiest to do.
Terry in Garland, Texas