Sketchbook

Life Drawing: Week 36 – Less is more

By 10th December 2013 May 3rd, 2017 No Comments

Trying out something a little different

I want to introduce some more blank space to these ink paintings. It’s been fun re-introducing the charcoal marks but the main aim of moving to ink, was to create something more graphic. More akin to my commercial illustrations.

Frank had some suggestions after I introduced him to one of my illustrative heroes, David Downton. David’s work has covered Paris Haute Couture shows for over a decade. His line is very fluid and alive, and his skill is truely in less-is-more, in the sense that what he leaves out of an image, is almost more important than what marks he does make.

Frank’s approach was as follows;

  • take two lines that define the pose
  • introduce a block of shade
  • pick out one or two details
  • add more elements until the image pulls itself together

Quite interesting as I noticed two things in particular. Firstly, this went against my normal approach of feeling around the image, where correct lines come out of making mistakes, or your lines map your way across the image. Instead, very direct and intentional marks are made. Secondly, it gives you a lot more time to consider the marks your are making, as in a very short period of time, a lot of information is mapped out.

As a result, the image may not be quite so accurate, but this is compensated with more expressive marks given greater weight by their conservative use.

It is so different to the way I normally busily work my way around an image (which can be seen in the longer portrait painting) but I think I’ll continue to explore it in future sessions.


Giving me guidance, my class tutor is Frank Gambino, trained as a graphic designer, however in recent years his main practise is in portraiture and figure studies. Frank’s studio is in Belsize Park, London, where he works on commissions and runs popular life drawing classes. However, conveniently for me, he is also running classes in East London, at the Tokarska Gallery.
The Tokarska Gallery, a contemporary art gallery run by emerging artist Nadiya Pavliv-Tokarska.


Visit Frank Gambino’s website
Tokarska Gallery

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