Above as promised you will find the two long poses of our costumed model as the pirate Anne Bonny (1702-1782)… The model was the same as for the ballerina session, and I see I again forgot to ask her name. This session was a mixed bag for me- the costume was nice- there was an assortment of pistols, swords, coats and so on. The poses on the other hand were a bit dull. We started off with perhaps 15 one minute poses (of which I bothered with only six) while our host took resource photos. My beef was that the model struck poses more fitting for modeling swimwear and facial expressions that belonged in a couture ad. She looked like a fashion model playing dress up instead of a pirate. Think of it this way, you remember the poses in the “Charlie’s Angels” TV show opening sequence? Where the three girls with big hair are silhouetted holding their pistols? This was like that… nothing about those poses said “cop” or “detective”… it was about being sassy and sexy. Our host did fuss with details like breaking up lines and blocks of color in the costume so it all looked good, but the rest of us kept chiming in with errors like the scabbard being worn backwards, or the pistols tucked in her sash the wrong direction (if one assumes the pirate will hold the sword in one hand and pistols in the other). Yargh!
We also kept tossing out opinions on poses. One of mine, which thankfully was kept for the first long pose (two 20 minute parts), was to have her stand with her weight evenly distributed on both legs. That body language exudes confidence, boldness and a “ready for action” attitude, where the previous poses were more what you see in Japanese anime… the flirty schoolgirl. The other thing that irked me was how the model kept her chin up in every pose. For the two or three painters in attendance who were standing, it was not so bad. For the majority of us using pencils and charcoals, who were sitting, it was pretty bad. Mind you, the model is up on a platform, so every face shot was basically looking straight up her nose. Every quick sketch had prominent nostrils, so she looked like she had a pig nose. I actually sat there for a while wondering if I should just go home, I was that disgruntled at the start… but I just told myself to pretend the pirate was just watching seagulls, or perhaps had a nosebleed. Yargh!
Oh, and the music… it sucked this time. One of the girls brought in some “pirate” music. Apparently there is some band that only does pirate inspired songs, for festivals and such. It sounded like a mild version of Metallica playing Irish folk songs with lyrics about all things pirate. After an hour of that came the repetitive and mediocre soundtrack of some pirate movie… maybe the Johnny Depp ones. Yargh!
My grumpiness must have lasted a while, cause in the first 20 minute pose all I drew was her head, face and hat that you see in the standing pose. The second 20 minutes was all the rest. This drawing is ok for me, it looks a bit stretched vertically, but is kind of blah. The second was a 30 minute seated pose. Really. That entire seated portrait took me 10 minutes more than what I spent doing only the head in the standing pose. Obviously I found a rhythm.
That last pose turned out to my liking. It is simple, and looks like a captured moment. I drew quickly using a mechanical pencil (0.5mm HB lead), not even looking at the model too much.. just quick glances and sketching from whatever burned into my mind’s eye. I busted out the blend tool (basically a pencil shaped tightly wound paper that allows you to smudge your pencil marks with extreme accuracy) and worked on some of the shading. The drawing was complete, but needed some pop and depth here and there, so I switched to a 2B pencil (which is more “black” than the shiny, greyish HB lead) and colored in the hat, belt, and deeper shading in her lap. I like this drawing very much, even though I messed up her face- my first light sketch looked great, but as I went over it to darken things up she wound up looking a bit too glamorous for my liking, especially her eyes.