Opening the Third Eye: An Introduction to Figure Drawing
It is our belief that figure drawing remains a crucial part of education in the visual arts. Our presentation of student drawings will demonstrate the positive impact our class has had on foundation level art students with regard to the timeless subject of the figure. We have been team teaching foundation life drawing classes at UCF for two years with dramatic results. This is due to presenting information in partnership, trading roles in the classroom that emphasize our strengths (and very different personalities!) from our combined thirty years of teaching experience. Robert Rivers (a former rugby player) gives motivational "pep" talks that emphasize energy and commitment. Rivers' emphasis of line in teaching drawing is based on his experience as a printmaker. Kevin Haran brings a more analytical approach to the class, identifying more technical and illusionary elements in the student's work. He tends to work more one on one with each student while drawings are in progress. Haran also contributes a painter's background, discussing the use of ink washes in the drawings. He also developed a project that involves building paper sculptures of the human skull, where students begin to understand the structure of this essential form. The primary purpose and philosophy of our course is that we teach students to use the physical act of making a drawing to see. The way the eye moves through a form creates the visual armature of the drawing. We begin the class by identifying a subject's four major points of reference or Intercross: the highest point, the lowest point, the furthest point on the left and the furthest point on the right and how they don't line up. The drawings increase in complexity and duration where students have the opportunity to combine a variety of drawing concepts that we will discuss such as Descending Intercross Drawing, Lightning Drawing, Rhythm Drawing, Rock Drawing, Volumetric Contour Drawing, Sculpture Drawing and Aerial Drawing. Throughout the presentation, we will clearly demonstrate these concepts using examples of student work.
Keywords: Figure, Drawing, Perception, Design
Asst Prof Kevin Haran
Assistant Professor, Department of Art, University of Central Florida
Professor of Art, Department of Art, University of Central Florida