Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique

The Envelope and Block-in Technique comes from a book that I have owned for quite some time, The Artists’s Complete Guide to Figure Drawing by Anthony Ryder. I would highly suggest for any artist to own this book.

Tonight in life drawing at Hipbone Studio I was practicing the “Envelope” and “Block-in” technique that Anthony Ryder describes in his book and I must say that all the drawing today went very well. Either I have reached a new level in my art skills or the technique help out a lot.

Like every drawing session I start out with my warmup page. Hipbone studio has begun placing a skull on the model stand before the model shows up. Which is nice as I can get some skull work in. I should probably put a skull on my christmas list.

Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique: warmup
Warmup Page
Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique: 1.5 minute gestures
1.5 Minute gestures

Gesture drawings… Sigh… I’m still not where I want to be on these.

Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique: 5 minute poses
5 Minute poses

With these 5 minute poses I have begun using the block-in technique somewhat.

Envelope and Block-in Technique

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Here is a photo from Anthony Ryders book where he demonstrates the “Envelope” on the fart left then proceeds into the intermediate block-in and then the advanced block-in on the right.

Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique: 15 minute pose
15 minute pose

For this pose I seem to have passed up the envelope stage and went straight for the intermediate and advanced block-ins.

Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique: 15 minute pose
15 minute pose

Here I’m practicing placement on the page of the figure, you can’t see the very light lines in this photos but I placed some marks indicating the top and bottom of the figure and placed the drawing within those lines.

Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique: 30 minute pose
30 minute pose

This is probably one of my best drawings for the night. The envelope was great at determining placement on the page and the intermediate block-in was a very quick and easy way of getting major proportions down fast. The rest was all about refinement with the advanced block-in.

Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique: 30 minute pose
30 minute pose

This on didn’t go as well. Many times I can look at the model and know right away if the drawing is going to turn out well or not. It’s strange and I can’t describe it well but with some poses I can just see it all and how it’s going to unfold when I draw it. For some reason I wasn’t able to “see” this pose well… Not sure of a better way of describing this phenomenon.

Life Drawing Envelope and Block-in Technique: 30 minute detail work
30 Minute detail work

Usually for the last drawing of the session I will relax a bit and focus more on form and value rather than line. Or just do whatever I feel like. Tonight was no different, I didn’t worry about getting the while figure in I just enjoyed focusing on rendering the models portrait and working slowly with detail from the top down.

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