Are there any stances or perspectives simpler to tackle if I’m painting a nude for the first time?
When painting a model for the first time, you might find it easier to choose a posture that doesn’t involve a lot of difficult foreshortening, twists, or angles. Painting a seated pose can be fun to express yourself without being too complicated. Reclining stances are lovely to paint, but they can cause difficulty foreshortening and make it more difficult to get the pose back to exactly where it was after each break. If painting a full figure is too intimidating, crop it partially. Consider the nudes of Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani, who often clipped the pose mid-thigh and at the forearm or wrist in both seated and semi-reclining poses. These paintings are sensual and elegant depictions of the human form that show how a stance can be simplified.
What are the advantages of producing thumbnail sketches or preliminary drawings first?
A thumbnail or preliminary sketch allows you to familiarize yourself with the sitter’s body forms and angles and select how the figure will be arranged within the rectangle or square of the composition. By sketching the sculpture from various angles, you can have a better idea of how the posture is put together and how the multiple components of the body interact within the stance, as well as analyze the body’s form and structure. Thumbnail drawings allow you to play around with various scales within the composition. Within the ‘frame,’ how big will the figure be? Do you want the figure to have more room around it, or will it take up the entire composition?
Is a drawing or an underpainting a better place to start?
It’s preferable to sketch straight with a brush and paint from the start once you’ve agreed on the pose and composition. Keep the underpainting as focused as possible, providing only the most important information and the structure of the design. At this stage, getting carried away and giving too much detail is tempting. Keep in mind that any under-painting will be quickly covered up as you start blocking in regions of color. For this task, a good round or rigger brush is a good choice, as both can produce a fine delicate line akin to that of a pencil. Similarly, a dilute wash of color like Raw Umber is ideal for the initial sketching. If you make a mistake while drawing with the paintbrush, you may quickly wipe it away or soften the mark with a clean brush and a little turpentine.
Is there a suitable basic palette for painting a nude that you can recommend?
Titanium White (or Flake White), Cadmium Lemon (or Lemon Yellow), Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue (or Cerulean Blue), and Ultramarine are nice basic palettes to utilize. This choice will give you a warm and cool version of each main color. From secondary colors to tertiary mixtures and colored greys, an extensive spectrum of colors can be mixed using these seven tubes. A few earth colors, such as Yellow Ochre or Raw Sienna, could be useful in addition to this palette.
What can I do to make sure that my figure’s proportions are correct?
As you work, measuring allows you to double-check the proportions and scale of the figure. Select a body component that can be utilized as a measurement unit throughout the composition for accuracy. The length of the head was used as a unit of measurement in the illustrations above. The number of head lengths that could fit inside the left-hand image is indicated by lines running the length of the body. Further drawing defined the angles of the shoulder and pelvis in the right-hand image, while an outline defined the torso and hip’s outside shape. Check the accuracy of your curves and proportions by looking at negative shapes or spaces within and around the figure and measuring in relative units.