Drawing Live Models

Drawing the figure is a challenge, clothed or unclothed.  I offer a few tips for those working with live models for the first time…

Consider Your Viewpoint

Firstly you should think about your distance and viewpoint from the model.  Don’t make this too challenging at first.  I always think that a three-quarters view is good for a beginner because straight-on can make drawing faces look flat.  An extreme straight-on view for the figure is probably one of the hardest viewpoints because of the fore-shortening challenges.

Have you got the best view?

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How do I Mix a Flesh Tone?

The first thing I do when I mix a flesh tone is look at the complexion of the person I am painting.  Some people’s skin is yellow based (olive skins), some skin is pink based (very fair skin) and so on.

  1. Have a good look at the skin first of all.
  2. Mix some colours – experiment before you start painting
Try mixing some flesh tones first
Try mixing some flesh tones first in your sketchpad

The other thing to bear in mind is that there is not just one ‘flesh tone’ that will do the job.  You will need several tones and colours to make the skin look realistic.

I tend to use a light green as the base as it is neutral and build up brighter, lighter tones on top.  Here are some of the colours I use for flesh tones:

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