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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.

You can download the PDF in Irish here.


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

Christmas Opening Hours

Gallery Closed25 December 2022 Christmas Day26 December 2022 Stephens Day1 January 2023 New Year’s Day

10am–4pm     24 December 2022 Christmas Eve31 December 2022 New Year’s Eve

10am -5pm27 December – 30 December 2022


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*Second floor closes 15 minutes before closing
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