Here’s a fun little exercise I’ve been playing around with lately. I started out doing the “draw random shapes and draw faces on them” thing, but thought it might be interesting to see how well it worked for figure drawing at large. I don’t find myself filling up the entire shape too often, and sometimes body parts escape the boundaries of the blobs. But it’s neat as a type of gesture drawing exercise. It seems to give the compositional side of my brain a good workout, and some interesting poses can be “found” within them.
These ones below were from a little earlier in the year.
Here’s an example of the process, from blob to form to details. I wanted to use the stretching feeling down the left side of the shape for a torso, and it built from there.
And another, with the girl’s hair filling up the wavy shapes:
And Link and a korok friend! It’s neat how even vague blobs can provide a spark of inspiration for a larger project.
This is more of an intermediate exercise, it obviously won’t teach you the basics of figure drawing and anatomy. What it might do is help you break out of a repetitive pose rut, if you’re feeling a little frustrated with ‘drawing the same thing all the time’. It’s doing that for me, at least.
Finally, a little bonus because I wanted to test out a neat blog feature that I think came with the recent WordPress editor updates: An image comparison widget! You can slide the bar left and right to see the undersketch raw scan vs. the refining sketch.
I often do the undersketch with a 2mm lead holder, I think mine has an ‘H’ lead in it currently, but whatever it is, the lines stay relatively pale, and it’s also good for smooth shading. I go over that with a darker 0.5 mechanical pencil, adding some more detail and trying to get a feel for how the lineart might look in ink. This isn’t always how I sketch, but using the 2mm lead seems to help avoid drawing too hard or dark while getting the initial shapes down, which is something I used to have trouble with.
Let me know if you give this drawing exercise a go! I’d love to see your work, feel free to tag me on Instagram or Twitter if you’d like to share. I go by @caperandcrow on both platforms.
2 thoughts on “Drawing Exercise: Blobs to Figures”
This is a fantastic idea, I’m definitely going to give it a go some time when I’m feeling stuck!
I also use the hb pencil for rough sketches, it’s easier to fix mistakes and keeps me loose and prevents me from fiddling with details before I’m fully ready for it, then I work my way up to a 4b or 6b pencil, and going back over with the light pencils to smooth out shading. I work slow to begin with but I benefit from forcing myself to hold the reigns tight when I first start out.
I hope you have fun with it too! And that sounds like a great way to sketch. It took me a long time to learn how to NOT zoom right into working on the details, before getting a good shape down first.