The time-lapse demo videos we’ve put on YouTube have been an unexpected pleasure. They’re fun to make and to share, and they’ve proved to be more popular than we ever anticipated, helping us to build a small but growing audience on YouTube, and more broadly online.
Since the last few months of 2013 were consumed with producing Portrait Drawing – The Complete Online Course, we’ve not had much time to devote to the shorter YouTube videos. We’re soon to start work on our next online course offering, but before we do, we wanted to squeeze in one more time-lapse drawing demonstration.
This time, the subject is a plaster cast of the left foot of the Farnese Hecules – a massive figure sculpture from the 3rd century AD, depicting a fatigued Hercules leaning on his club after performing one of his twelve labors. Drawing such casts of ancient or renaissance statuary has been part of the training of representational artists for centuries. They provide some distinct advantages for students over live models:
- They don’t move
- They have few local color variations on the surface
- They’re (usually) white, requiring a broad range of values and thus challenge students to manage their values carefully
- The forms have already been conceptualized by the sculptor, simplifying (and to some extent idealizing) the complex form and structure seen on a live model.
We purchased this cast about 6 months ago, and the moment we unwrapped it I knew I would draw it eventually. The dynamic gesture of the foot is beautiful, and the surface form is extremely well-articulated. Light cascades over its surface like water over river stones, and I couldn’t wait to try capturing it on paper.
The drawing in the demo unfolded over the course of 7 days at the studio – a few hours one day, a couple of hours the next. While it’s possible to spend much more time on a well-resolved cast drawing, the demands of shooting required a more condensed effort. The hard drive space alone required for 1080p video is substantial and could add up to many terabytes if I didn’t maintain a strict time limit. Over all, I think I’m pleased with the result given the time invested. It could use a little more polish here and there, but such is always the case. As Leonardo is often quoted: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
I hope you enjoy the video!