|A3, conte, watercolor for background. Many thanks to the ref photog, who is unknown. Please view at FULL size.|
- Human - I start by marking off the top and bottom extents (for a standing figure) on the page
- Rhino - I marked off its lateral extents on the page.
- Human - I roughly mark the mid-point, which is usually at the pubis
- Rhino - here, I used the hump as mid-point, with the two 'halves' going off in two directions - 1) along the back, horizontally, and 2) obliquely down the neck towards the horn. I found these two 'limbs' of the (downward facing) angle at the hump to be approx. equidistant. Thus I have a basic measure of the shape.
- Human - I use the vertical head height as a unit of measurement
- Rhino - I found that, from the tip of mouth up to the neck-head junction, the antero-posterior length of the head roughly equals 2.5 times the total length upto the hump. I'm doing all this quickly, partly by eye estimation, partly by extending my hand (holding the pencil upright for measuring) at the ref.
- Human - Using the head height as rough guide for proportions, I mark
the different levels at which other parts lie e.g. shoulder width,
nipples, navel, hip width, pubis/genitalia, knee, ankle, elbow, wrist
- Rhino - I did the same with the rhino, marking off widths and lengths of different body parts e.g legs, antero-posterior length of belly, thickness of neck etc.
- Human - I try to find continuity of the curved outlines through the
substance of the body, e.g. I do not look at the curvature of the hip
outline in isolation, but how that 'inward' curve, if extended 'into'
the body will progress, and 'emerge' on the opposite side... this helps
me to further locate body parts in correct spatial relationship
- Rhino - I did the same here, extending e.g. the front and back outlines of the legs, following their natural curvature, into the 'body' of the rhino... looking to see where they emerge. I did that with as many curved outlines (e.g. the belly, the rump area, the bottom surface of head etc.) as was convenient to build a harmonious outline shape of the entire 'figure'.
- Human - at this point, I'm also extra aware of the stance/pose,
balance/weight distribution.. is the figure tending to fall off or is it
solidly grounded, is there a sense of weight to it?
- Rhino - I did the same here, esp relevant for a large and massively heavy creature such as this. Its mass and weight distribution, to my mind, seem to dominate most other considerations of drawing!
- Human - Now that the shape is in place, I add volume to it
by noticing the direction of light, and adding the turning points or
'terminator zones' where a surface is curving away from the dominant
- Rhino - the light was coming from top right, and its a bright sunlight so the shadows were crisp... I could conveniently mark off the form shadows (shadow on the form itself as it turns away from light) and the cast shadows (shadows of the form cast on an adjacent surface or form).
- Human - Now I look to build the 'middle-tone'.. that is the changing values in the light areas as it moves from the edge of the shadows towards the point of greatest illumination(the
highlight). If its a well-oiled body-builder with bulging muscles, this
becomes fairly easy... you know how and where to 'taper off' your
tonality as you approach the highlight area. Under a diffuse lighting,
and with less well defined musculature you have to observe carefully to
interpret the subtle changes of tonality, and thereby bring out the
underlying form. Overall, light will tend to decay down the standing
body (for a top light), with the legs being less illuminated than the
- Rhino - he wasn't an well-oiled muscleman, but Boy... did he have sturdy forms! So it was fun to interpret these undulations, or sub-forms, while keeping an eye towards the over-all form of the animal relative to the illumination. As you can see light was decaying from the rump area towards the horn area.