Development of Human Figure Drawings from Gesture Drawings to Shaded Drawings - Analysis of Selected Drawings by Second Year Students at Kenyatta University

  • Kamau Wango, PhD Kenyatta University
Keywords: Gesture Drawing, Life Drawing, Model, Observation, Proportions, Pencil Shading
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Human figure drawing or life drawing is a fundamental requirement for all art students. It is applied in all disciplines of art from basic line drawings, to all aspects of design work as well as sketching in painting, sculpture, and ceramics. This paper examines selected work of second year students to determine whether they are able to progress from gesture drawings to developed shaded drawings and achieve this objective within the prescribed unit duration of a semester. The paper also seeks to determine the extent to which observation in life drawing is significant as a formative strategy in helping students create their drawings and whether the drawings created meet the standard of drawing required at University level. Ultimately the purpose of life drawing is to enable the students to confidently engage in other related units where their figure drawing skills are required. The students were required to use pencil for all stages of creating their drawings in order for them to focus on the sequential development. Pencil is a foundational tool and is easy to use and affords the students adequate manoeuvrability both in terms of basic sketching and shading. The use of other media would follow in subsequent related units after the students have achieved the prescribed level of foundational skills. In this series of drawings, the students used a female studio model but also drew each other as temporary or stand-in class models in order to add alternate variety in body shapes, attire and other adornments presented by using both male and female students. This approach to life drawing created an enhanced sense of enjoyment and engagement. This interest and enthusiasm in drawing each other was presumably caused by the fascination with trying to capture each other’s body shape as they already perceive it, since they spend significant time together. The female studio model, however, provided them with the opportunity to visually interact with the specific model without the inherent pressure to produce undistorted drawings as in the case when drawing their colleagues. Both approaches were designed to help the students collectively draw inspirational drawings as well as make the drawing exercises methodical, enjoyable, and purposeful. The drawings were analysed using an analytical framework suitable to the approach applied in this study.


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8 July, 2022
How to Cite
Wango, K. (2022). Development of Human Figure Drawings from Gesture Drawings to Shaded Drawings - Analysis of Selected Drawings by Second Year Students at Kenyatta University. East African Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 5(1), 256-283.

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