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Monthly Archives: September 2021

Babies and Young Children : Week 4

September 17, 2021

Fairy at Toby’s 6th Birthday
Pencil

This week’s challenge is to draw or paint the whole figure of a child, a child with another child, or a parent and child study. If you are fairly new to drawing I would advise drawing a single figure for your painting and to practice making as many small sketches of children whether from life or from photographs as you can, to train your eye to be accustomed to the fact that children’s heads are larger in proportion to their height than adult heads.

Gayle with Posy
Watercolour
Not a whole figure but put into a context.

When painting young children either standing or involved with some activity it is useful to drop a perpendicular line from the highest point on your reference to work out the proportions of the body and the angles that the shoulders, hips and limbs and their relative lengths. Also put a perpendicular on your drawing paper. Some measuring will help you to see and draw taking into account any foreshortening that may occur as when an arm is pointing directly at you! If you prefer to draw completely freehand before painting, check the accuracy of your drawing by dropping a perpendicular from the same point as done for your reference.

As always also look for any clues from negative spaces that will help you get the proportions and lengths right.

With clothed figures, especially full skirts and baggy trousers try to imagine the limbs beneath them and their relation to the spine. Look at whether one shoulder is higher than the other and how this works in relation to the neck.

Toby on a Wobble Board age 6
Pencil

The little sketch above is of six year old Toby balancing on a wobble board. Note how in the figure on the left both feet are bearing some of his weight and if a line is dropped from his neck it would fall between the two feet. In the figure on the right most of his weight is on his right foot (left in the image) and a line dropped from his neck shows the neck to be positioned directly above the load bearing foot. Try to draw simple line drawings from life or ‘photos of standing children standing with the load shared between their feet, and also where the load is mainly on one foot. Then try to draw some children in the same way when they are actively engaged in a sporting or other activity where they are in motion.

If you have the opportunity and wish to draw a group of children together especially where their forms overlap, treat the group as one whole shape before homing in on the individuals. Work lightly at first so that you can adjust as you look at your subject more critically as the drawing progresses. Lastly make sure you take more time looking than drawing so that all the main shapes are correct before committing yourself to painting.

In the initial stages of painting look very critically at the direction of the light and how this affects the tones that reveal the form of the child. Look also at how light can affect the darkest local colours, for example even a black T-shirt can appear quite pale on the side that is turned toward the light but retain its dark appearance where turned away from the light source.

Lastly look at shadows cast by the child’s form; e.g. a shadow of the head falling on to the child’s neck and shoulder; shadows below the feet which will help anchor the figure to the ground; and in some cases the shadow of the whole figure against the ground or cast on a wall etc.

For examples of drawing and painting children look at the Pinterest Board below:

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jhall1282/portraits/babies-and-young-children/

Your Paintings:

Babies and Young Children: Week 3

September 8, 2021

Matt with Maggie aged Two
Pencil

This week the challenge is to draw or paint a young child’s head in profile and/or full face. The features especially the chin and nose begin to show the character they will gradually develop into later. While it is often very difficult to identify and adult from a new baby photo it becomes slightly easier from the age of two or three.

Some wonderful examples can be seen on Jo’s Pinterest board at;

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jhall1282/portraits/young-children-heads/

Your drawings and paintings:

Pastel by Mali
Millie and Rosie
Sketch by Sarah
Millie and Rosie
Watercolour by Sarah

Babies and Young Children: Week 2

September 1, 2021

Baby Chris at two or three weeks.
Demonstration from week 1.
The medium is pastel pencil and Pan Pastel. Last week the head was drawn and the main body shapes and clothes indicated. At the next session the rest will be completed. Note how lightly the initial drawing was made to allow for alterations.
I usually start with the head shape then add the other main shapes of body and limbs. Make a note of the general shape of the whole form and any useful negative shapes.
It is often useful to drop a vertical line through the whole form to help you place the head and limbs at the correct angles to each other. For this study a vertical from the widest point of the head (skull not the ears) on each side would give a guide to how the limbs should be placed. These verticals would also aid checking the drawing by measuring the heights of the various main parts..

This week we’ll consider making a painting or drawing a whole baby and suggest your subject is no more than one year old, or perhaps a better guideline would be between newborn and crawling, but not yet walking.

Christopher at nearly one
Pencil
Christopher heading straight for us!
Pencil

Babies have a tendency to thrash their limbs about when awake so it is often easier to work from photos but if you have a resident crawler, or baby that is starting to support himself do try and sketch from life, even if all that is achieved is a few hasty lines. This will help your observation and visual memory enormously.  It will also help you to identify errors in more considered drawings at a very early stage.

However the easiest way with babies is to draw them while sleeping!

Crown Prince Toby
Pencil
Note how you can imagine the baby’s form beneath the blanket.

Do have a look at some of last week’s references again and perhaps practise drawing a few baby feet!

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jhall1282/portraits/babies-and-infants-drawing-tips/

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jhall1282/portraits/babies-and-young-children/

If you you would like to why not try a parent or even a grandparent and baby painting. Mary Cassatt painted many of these and a few examples can be found at:

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jhall1282/portraits/baby-and-parent/

Your paintings:

Pastel by Mali
Twins by Maricarmen
Millie at Four Months 1
Watercolour by Sarah
Millie at Four Months 2
Watercolour by Sarah
Chester
Watercolour by Ann
Chester’s little Hand
Sketch by Ann
Sammy
Pastel by Heather