Contrapposto – The classic pose

It’s not long to go now until our exhibition for the Chorlton Arts Festival! A big thank you to everyone who entered work to be exhibited – we’ll be in touch shortly with more details and to arrange payment for the frames from anyone who hasn’t already done so. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy another mini art tutorial – this week, we’re looking at the role the pose plays in composition.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that all of the skill of a well-executed portrait is in the hands of the artist. However, the posture and stance of the model plays a key role in creating a balanced and pleasing piece. One of the most widely used poses in classical art is known as Contrapposto.

Manchester drawing lesson - DavidContrapposto is an Italian term meaning ‘counterpose’. It’s used in the visual arts to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot so that the shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs. This gives the figure a more dynamic, or alternatively relaxed appearance. It can also be used to refer to multiple figures which are in counter-pose (or opposite pose) to one another. The leg that carries the weight of the body is known as the engaged leg, the relaxed leg is known as the free leg.

Contrapposto can be seen in a number of classical paintings and sculptures, most famously in Michelangelo’s David. The first known usage was c. 480 BC in an ancient Greek statue from the early classical period. The pose was revived during the Renaissance by Italian artists including Da Vinci, Donatello and Raphael.

From this basis, artists began to explore how poses can communicate a variety of emotions and attitudes. The next time you sketch a model, have a think about what their pose may be expressing and how you can capture that with your treatment of the scene.

As ever, here is a selection of your sketches from last class for you to enjoy; hope to see you next time!

How to draw hands! & your pictures from last class

Thanks as ever to everyone who came to our last class, where once again we made use of the theatre spotlights to throw some very striking shadows on the model. A big thanks also to art teacher Elena Cortes who came to help out at the class – more about Elena can be found on her website.

We thought it would be useful to post this quick guide to capturing that most difficult of appendages – the dreaded hand! Hope you find this helpful in your sketching efforts.

How to draw hands


Enter your work in our exhibition!

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Chorlton Arts FestivalChorlton Arts Festival approaches – the annual celebration of all things creative is due to take place this year from 16th – 25th May, and we’re excited to announce that we have an exhibition to put on at the Edge Theatre and Arts Centre! We’d love to exhibit some of the pieces created during our classes, so if you want to be involved, don’t hesitate to contact John, Chris or Joe to find out more. We only have a few weeks to assemble the exhibition so time is of the essence!

There was plenty to put the attendees through their paces at last week’s class, with a number of very short poses, interspersed with longer poses, some experimentation with different light sources, and another challenging walkaround by the model. As ever, here is a selection of your work from the class, hope to see you next time!

This Week… Next Week…

From Now on The Class is Weekly….

Next Classes

12 Feb
19th Feb
26th Feb

There must be an age old question…well at least may be an age old question…… some country somewhere that asks…..

How many people can you fit in a room?

And the answer would be either very wise or very humorous….

But the answer for me….. for now ……. ..quite a lot……more than quite a lot…

Because this week….again…..people kept arriving….

And everybody arrived soaked…..and the room must have been humid..

As you may see from a picture I took of people’s drawings on the floor….the lens on my camera misted over as soon as I took the lens cap off!!!….

It was really good to see so many people,that had not drawn before, or had not drawn in a long time….

And it may possibly be the friendliest place in Manchester….

NEXT WEEK (note: next week the class is now running weekly!) may be upstairs…there is more room there so if the offer is still open when we arrive…we will be in a different room…

 PS. Some of us go to The Parlour on Beech Road after the class…We are quite friendly…

So feel free to join us………

Here are some of the drawings from this Wednesday…..great to see so many styles….

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Everybody of all Abilities welcome

From 5th Feb we run each WEEK!

We have talked for a while about the possibility of changing the classes to a weekly event….
So we are going to bite the bullet and give it a go for a while…
So for now the classes will run each week…

Don’t think you have to change your habits..
If the reason you like the class is because you don’t feel the pressure to attend each week don’t!!!

It is a drop in class…

Visit when you want to….

Everyone of any ability all welcome…

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New Year starts here

The first class of 2014!!

It seems like half the Irish sea, and a significant part of the Atlantic, has fallen in the North West in recent weeks. Even the pubs are half empty, so we were not expecting many to turn up….and right up to the last minute (in fact past the last minute), it looked that way, then suddenly everyone poured in …..

The Edge’s boiler has failed, so there were heaters to keep the model warm, but the rest of us suffered slightly for our art…..

Another series of excellent drawings attached….

Lots of people have suggested running the class on a weekly basis. So if they get the boiler fixed we are considering running the class on a weekly basis, for a trial period, possibly starting mid Feb…

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts…

We are not trying to say that everyone should come weekly, we think one of the reasons the class is so successful is that people do not feel pressurised to attend every session. But it would provide more options.

Anyway it is an idea..

As always if you have any suggestions, let us know…

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Take Care

Glasses found and raised….

The final class of the the year was a merry affair, with mince pies and red stuff.

But I also walked off with someones GLASSES!! ……reading glasses I think…and the same as mine….

if they are yours contact me and I can deliver them to you (somehow!) …or will definitely bring them in next time..


Eleanor was our model, highly experienced, having worked in Spain and elsewhere.

One or two new people (hi), which is always nice…..

If you have any feedback….or any comments …or suggestions you would like to make for next year…….

just contact us…..

Take care and enjoy the holiday period…

Another gallery of rather lovely drawings…..

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Arts in Autumn

Hi Folks! A big thanks to everyone who came to last week’s class – we were packed to the rafters again. We hope you’re enjoying the sessions, and as ever if you have any feedback or suggestions for future classes, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

There are plenty of arts events going on in the coming weeks, so no need to mope now that the sunshine’s left us. This weekend Rogue Studios are throwing open their doors to host an open studio, with a special preview on Friday 27th September from 6 – 9pm – all details can be found on their website. This week also sees The Manchester Contemporary, the largest fair of critically engaged art outside London, set up shop in Spinningfields. Tickets are free – simply register via their website.

And as ever, here is a selection of your pictures from the last class to enjoy! Hope to see you next time.

Wintering out

Hello again folks, and apologies for the delay in getting your lovely pictures online! January proved to be an art-packed month, with several exhibitions opening including Ma Quisha’s first UK solo exhibition at the Chinese Arts Centre and a series of pieces by Lucy May Schofield and Leanne Richardson at Paper Gallery on Mirabel Street.

We’re back at the Edge Arts Centre this Wednesday 6th February for another sketch, hope to see you there. The Edge have opened a new cafe on the premises as part of the ongoing expansion of their facilities – it’s great to see the Centre doing well, but unfortunately this means we will no longer have use of the kitchen. You’ll be able to buy tea, coffee and snacks from the new cafe during the break.

Without further ado, here are the pictures from the last class…