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Digital Subscriptions > Leisure Painter > May-19 > Figure it out

Figure it out

Stephen Coates offers 12 confidence-building exercises to help you draw figures and populate your paintings
Wet Westminster, watercolour on Bockingford 140lb NOT watercolour paper, 15x22in. (38x56cm). This line and wash study of Westminster is a demonstration painting in a loose watercolour vignette style, which has a number of people walking across the bridge. They have been strategically positioned to enhance the balance of the picture, but also left me a space underneath to include a reflection of each person and the Elizabeth Tower.

It is often said that human figures in a painting are just carrots with a dot for a head. I first came across this idea when I watched Frank Clarke on television many years ago. Daft as it sounds, it really works, especially on small-scale figures. If it is as simple as that, why do so many people declare that they can’t draw or paint human figures?

As a seasoned tutor and demonstrator I hear this all the time. There are good reasons why people struggle to draw human figures so if you are one of them, I hope you will follow my articles over the next three issues of LP to see if you can improve your people painting techniques! This carrot idea is nothing new.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the May issue of Leisure Painter. This month we have practical advice, step-by-step demonstrations and instructional features on drawing and painting with watercolour, acrylics, ink, oils and coloured pencil. Try 12 confidence-boosting exercises to help you draw and paint figures, be inspired by the travel posters of the 1930s to produce contemporary-looking poster-like paintings, and learn to paint a plethora of subjects, including landscapes, animals, birds, flowers, seascapes and more. Enjoy your month of painting with Leisure Painter.