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Figure Drawing

We share tips and tricks for drawing a figure. 
Get the low down on ways of finding proportion.
Stuck for art materials? Raid the kitchen cupboards for materials to create expressive mark-making.

Avril O’Brien, Artist and teen tutor, demonstrates with a portrait from the gallery in this short video and handy downloadable PDF.


CAG.2431 Eileen Healy, Portrait of Cónal Creedon (detail), 2007, pastel on paper, 115 x 75 cm. Presented, Friends of the Crawford Art Gallery, 2007. © the artist
CAG.2431 Eileen Healy, Portrait of Cónal Creedon (detail), 2007, pastel on paper, 115 x 75 cm. Presented, Friends of the Crawford Art Gallery, 2007. © the artist

Drawing is all about Visual problem-solving. Eileen Healy’s ‘Portrait of Conal Creedon’ (2007) which is part of our collection is a stimulus for this figurative drawing video.


    Sighting: comparing angles, distances and shapes.
    Using a unit of measurement to compare sizes.

Expression through media, mark-making

  • BLOCKING Build Up your drawing! Focus on:
    Negative and positive space (Background and Figure)
    Light and shadow to create form with areas of tonal value
    Media chosen has a big effect on the feeling your drawing transmits.
    Mark-Making: Use a variety of dots, hatching, scribbles, soft marks. These create your expressive language.
    Tie up the whole image.
    Quality of line: Use thick, thin or broken line.
    Details: Emphasise some areas, create texture, points of interest, facial expression.
    Mood: Just a few marks can change the background or the lighting of your image.


You don’t need a collection of traditional art materials. Look around your home!

Paper- Paper shopping bags, baking paper, cardboard boxes, packaging.

Media - Spices, vegetables, condiments. We used beetroot for dramatic expression. Ground turmeric (a tiny amount added to a little water), soy sauce, tea and coffee created a sepia tone. Think about light, medium and dark tones.

Mark-making tools – what is in the garden? Leaves, sticks. Around the house? Pasta, straws, biros, scrunched up tissue, string.

Click on the video below to view a timelapse of the process

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Emmet Place, Cork, Ireland
T12 TNE6
Tel: 021 480 5042

General Opening Hours
N.B. Last entry is 16:45

Monday–Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm
(2nd floor closes at 4:45 pm)
Late opening Thursdays until 8.00 pm
(2nd floor will remain open until 7:45 m on Thursdays commencing 19 March)

Sundays and Bank Holidays
Gallery: 11 am4 pm
Café: 11 am4 pm

Crawford Gallery Café
Tuesday to Saturday 8.30am - 4:00pm
Crawford Garden Café
Tuesday to Saturday 10:00am - 3:00pm
(weather permitting!)

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Crawford Art Gallery

Crawford Art Gallery

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