NEAC Drawing School

Last night I braved the tube strikes to attend the New English Art Club drawing school. I was keen to go to this 2 hour session as there is over the shoulder tuition available from members of the New English. This time from Alex Fowler.

It was a slightly different approach with the emphasis on tone in a way that encourages you to see the whole view in terms of colour masses. This is a drawing approach directed towards painting. At first I attempted to see shadow and high light only neglecting the hues. I found it quite challenging to reproduce colour shapes on the page in there correct tonal scale value, and It sounds so easy!

Other useful tips include:

  • Recognise darkest and lightest areas first. then fill in mid values of which there will be a limited number, about 4-5.
  • Squint to simplify masses.
  • The use of a physical plumb line in conjunction with vertical line on paper. A waited piece of string. Helpful for lining up parts of body, finding centre of gravity there for grounding the figure and for measuring.

n_e_d_s1 n_e_d_s2

Here are the two half hour poses. Next time I hope to draw a little quicker and attempt to fill the page with one value or another. Note to self –  Put in biggest shapes first, try to think in mass not line.

Each class I go to the figure seems to get more boxy. I’m not sure why this is happening. I miss the nice fluid lines I had when I had done no surrounding study, just turn up and draw. Hopefully they will return one day with the added addition of technique and knowledge of anatomy. Scale still an issue..keep trying! Visually measure every element against the others as you go. stand back from time to time. Keep correcting.


The History Bit:

The New English Group first came about in 1885 when a group of younge London painters who had studied in Paris. Upon returning to London they where dissatisfied with the RA’s very academic exaction criteria. The new English favoured a truly observational approach, recording colour and tone in a vibrant way inspired by the Impressionists.

The New English has continued to flourish enticing figurative artist to strive to join ranks with the likes of J.S Sergeant, Paul Nash and Augustus John that came before them. The group has always had close ties with the RA. Something that continues to this day. Amongst its current member is Ken Howard. An artist I admire and have talked of before on this blog.


John Singer Sargent – Study of Seated Man 1895



Standing Male Nude from Behind (1890) – John Singer Sargent



More beautiful Sargent drawings here

Sargent includes the back ground vales to help give the figure form in the context of the picture plane.

..I got a very long way to go!






About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter

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