Capturing the Everyday Life

VSR 4 Weeks.

Visual and Spatial Representation exercise that was done for four weeks included making a sketch daily, it could be either a portrait of self or others or body sketches of everyday gestures. When the exercise started, I was very skeptical about portraits because I had never made any before, nor had I shown any interest in learning how to make one. The first attempt was a self portrait where I tried to draw myself by looking into the camera of the laptop. The first attempt was not aimed at all at the way the light hits my face or the way my eyes are aligned with the ears. It was drawn purely out of the thought that narcissism and insecurity lies deep within any individual and in times of pandemic when everyone is behind a camera, the best way or perhaps the subconscious way of looking at yourself is through the camera.

It was only later that I started to actually capture the “traits” in a portrait. It was easier to sketch someone sitting in front of you rather than yourself. I notices that while drawing a self portrait, the hand muscle as well as face muscles both have to be in coordination because every time I look up, there would’ve been a change of expressions or posture. While when you are drawing someone else, it is their consciousness that is making them sit still while you capture the details. For the portraits of family and friends, I majorly focused on capturing the features and form of the faces rather than trying to make it realistic. These seemed more satisfactory to me than the ones where I tried to make it realistic. As I made more portraits, I discovered the techniques that seemed to work for me while capturing features. The use of lines not only allowed me to give a drastic as well as minimal gradient but it also helped me to structure the face and features and really understand each curve of the face.

Portrait using monochromatic colour

The third part of VSR was body studies. Initially it had started with carefully drawing each detail out of an individual . I would actually ask them to stand in that position for a while to draw out the details, but unlike portraits, body studies have to captured without the person actually knowing that you are drawing them out. It reduces the stiffness and brings in the natural gestures of everyday life. Soon after that I would then actually start by first quickly drawing out the body proportions with a line drawing and then go ahead to add the muscles and the way they moved as the person moves. Once the muscles are added, the folds and stretches in the clothes would then help out in depicting the form as well as movement of the body.

All of the VSR sketches were made on a white background but the body studies was all about capturing the form, light and shadow of the body with respect to the space and it never occurred to me to try it out on perhaps a different colored sheet. A very interesting observation had come from discussion with a peer that perhaps we were drawing these figures in day light and capturing the activities of morning, that the association with a lighter page would’ve been the first instinct. I also think that maybe I was constantly trying to capture the correctness of the sketch with a charcoal medium which has a mind of its own. It moves and adds shades and forms with one stroke. It was the comfort with the nature of the medium that perhaps never made my mind to think of trying out on a darker sheet with lighter medium.

There was a huge amount of learning that came with the exercises and along with it also came the exploration of different mediums and techniques that connects me best with the drawing that I produce.

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