The amount of time given to the study of the nude figure will, of course, depend largely on the aim of the student, whether he is to take up illustration or portraiture or sculpture or some other form of art work.
Then when one has gained a certain facility in drawing the nude figure, the draped figure would be a natural subject, and here, too, the problem is difficult. For it is very easy when representing the folds of drapery to lose the proportions of the form underneath; hence, it is often desirable to sketch the main lines of the figure first exactly as though it were undraped, adding the drapery later. In fact, in all work where people are drawn (or painted for that matter) it is necessary to have in mind constantly the correct proportion of each complete figure, so expressing or suggesting it that the effect will be correct, for no amount of work on the clothing itself will make up for faulty construction.
When it comes to the figure in full costume new difficulties are encountered, for the expression of the forms and textures of the various fabrics is not easy. But work from the costumed figure is very interesting, especially if the model is posed to tell some story. Students of illustration should get a great deal of work in which the problems are made as real as possible, illustrating incidents in actual life or some character in literature, the model being so dressed and posed as to express the idea to the best advantage. Backgrounds may be added from the imagination.
And aside from this work from the posed model there is no better practice in figure drawing than to sketch members of one's family and his friends, or people passing in the street. Catch them unawares if you can and the sketches will be all the more lifelike for it. When you have no sketch book at hand or no opportunity to use one, study people all about you, and imagine that you are drawing them, for this will help more than would be supposed.
Of all these types of drawings which we have touched upon, it is hard to say which is the most important, for everything depends on the purpose for which each study is made. The. architect needs one kind of work, the sculptor another, the commercial illustrator a third, and so on. Needless to say the portrait painter or illustrator will follow the work in pencil with more advanced study in pen or wash color, and there is no harm if the others do too; these other mediums can usually be handled quite easily, however, once the pencil has been well mastered. And it is equally true that whether one does object or cast drawing or outdoor sketching or anything of this sort in pencil, he is doing far more than mastering this medium; - he is building a strong foundation for all other work in art.
The illustrations are shown as typical examples of life work from the nude, done in pencil.
Those by Jules Guerin on pages 38, 40, 51, 52 and 54 are reproduced from some of his original studies for the symbolic figures in his mural decorations recently put in place in the new Lincoln Memorial at Washington, D. C, of which Henry Bacon was the architect. These drawings are all made from life and are excellent examples to study, being unusually interesting in technique.
The study on page 43 by Eugene F. Savage is for one of the figures in his decorative painting "Idealism" in the Polytechnic Preparatory School, Brooklyn, N. Y. This d rawing is the one from which this figure was sketched into the picture: previously a number of studies had been made from the model. A formal character was given to this figure to fit it for incorporation in the picture, and though the model was used this has not the naturalistic character of the customary life drawing. The horse was first sketched in from the full-size cartoon, then the figure was added.
The drawings by Taber Sears reproduced on pages 44, 47 and 50 are also studies from life for mural paintings. Mr. Sears' paintings of religious subjects are especially fine in conception and embody much of the spirit of Mediaeval times. They have a character and a manner that fit them especially well for their places in juxtaposition to the architectural detail of the churches for which they are made.
On pages 45 and 53 are excellent studies by Barry Faulkner for figures in the mural decorations which he has done for the great Cunard Building, New York City, B. W. Morris, architect. These are both extremely fine examples of technique.
The reproductions on pages 46 and 48 are of studies from life by H. I. Stickroth for his mural painting "The Valley of Contemplation" drawn while a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. The originals are in pencil on buff paper. This technique, too, is well worthy of the most careful study on the part of students of drawing.
On page 49 is a different type of subject, a study by Frank Vincent DuMond for one of his mural decorations for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. These decorations represent the influx of the widely different human elements that went to make California: - the Spanish adventurers and the missionaries, the scholars, the "forty-niners" and all the others. In this spirited sketch we see a group of homeseekers pressing on across the plains to the new land of promise. The study is in pencil on gray paper, size about 30 in. by 40 in.
The sketch of Vera Fokina by Troy Kinney on page 55 is a figure study of unusual power. It is one of many rapid sketches Mr. Kinney makes in studying the movements of a dancer as a preliminary to the execution of one of his notable etchings of the dance. By means of these studies Mr. Kinney makes definite many impressions of movements of the dance preceding and following the movement which he chooses to represent in his etching. In this way he fixes his impressions of the character of a momentary action and this undoubtedly helps him to embody in his etchings the sense of life that is one of their most admirable qualities. The frontispiece to this volume is another of Mr. Kinney's delightful sketches.
Study By Eugene F. Savage For Figure In His Decorative Painting "Idealism" In The Polytechnic Preparatory School, Brooklyn. N. Y.
Studies Of Heads By Taber Sears For Altar Painting In Trinity Church, Buffalo, N. Y. Bertram Crosvenor Goodhue, Architect.
Figure Study By Barry Faulkner, For One Of His Mural Paintings In The Cunard Building, New York City.
Pencil Study By H. I. Stickroth For One Of The Figures In His Mural Painting "The Valley Of Contemplation"..
Studies Of Hands By Taber Sears. For Chancel Decoration In The First Presbyterian Church, New York City.
Study By H. I. Stickroth For One Of The Figures In His Mural Painting "The Valley Of Contemplation".
Study By Frank Vincent Du Mond For A Mural Decoration For The San Francisco Exposition.
Study Of Head By Taber Sears For Mural Decoration In Grace Church Choir School, New York City.
York & Sawyer, Architects.
Study By Jules Guerin For Figure In Mural Decoration In The Lincoln Memorial. Washington, D. C.
Study By Jules Guerin For Figure In One Of His Mural Decorations In The Lincoln Memorial. Washington, D. C.
Drawing By Barry Faulkner For Mural Decoration In The Cunard Building, New York City.
Pencil Study By Jules Cuerin For Mural Painting In The Lincoln Memorial. Washington, D. C.
Study By Troy Kinney. Fokina In Her Dance Of Salome.
Courtesy of Kennedy & Co.
Sketch Of A Great Dane By Charles Livingston Bull.