Female Figure Drawing: Charcoal, Then Photoshop

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Figure drawing illustration created using charcoal before digitization using Adobe Photoshop

Meet my model: Amanda

All kinds of sassy as she sported her old high school prom dress while posing for me.

Amanda, aka “Pandy,” is my phenomenal oldest daughter, illustrated here in her spunky, pink-dress badass mode.

Grad school assignment

Numerous times during my MFA’s Fall 2017 term with AAU, I was in need of a model.

More often than not, there was my Panda, ALWAYS willing to strike any pose I asked, wearing any wardrobe or physically-challenged direction I required.

Reference photo

In my photo reference below, we can see beautiful movement in Amanda’s pink dress while she kicked up her flowing skirt folds.

Assignment: figure drawing wearing clothing with dramatic fabric folds

To achieve dramatic folds, I had Amanda wear an old prom dress of hers and then posed her as you see above, looking into the distance while kicking up her gown.

Here’s my original charcoal drawing before I transformed the illustration into a digital painting using Photoshop

My drawing tools

To draw the above figure illustration, I used the following drawing tools:

(The original drawing shared above was slightly edited in Photoshop to brighten the white in Amanda’s eyes.)

Assignment feedback

My final drawing caused was well received by my grad school classmates as well as my instructor, who commented the following:

“LOVE this character, why not develop her and see where she can take you. Try a series of 10 drawings of her, put them out and see if a publisher picks up on your work. There is something so compelling about this character. “

Another classmate said:

“I totally agree with our instructor regarding this character. She is so quirky and elegant at the same time! There has to be a series or a steam punk graphic novel about her.”

And still another said:

“I think my absolute favorite is this girl! Your drawing of her has an elegance to it that is beautiful!”

So there you have it.

Amanda became famous in my figure drawing class 🙂 and I ended up with a wonderful, completed illustration of a young woman I adore.

~ Enjoy!


Mayra Ruiz-McPherson




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