Time-lapse Figure Drawing at Philbrook.

A few weeks ago, when I was on hiatus from my part-time job as a running coach, I took advantage of a few free Thursday nights to go to a figure drawing session at Philbrook Museum of Art.  It was the first time I had ever photographed myself drawing like this and it was very eye opening to look back and watch my own process. I recommend it to anyone doing creative work.

10 minute pose in 37 seconds

This is a contour drawing, where you are finding definition of form via the contour lines of the figure. I have often been asked over the decades about being distracted while drawing the nude due to the arousing nature of staring at a naked person.  The truth is, which I think you can see in these time-lapse photos, the process is incredibly focused, with 100% of one’s mind and body working to see and translate the scene onto paper.  What I have always told my students, whether as a formal college instructor or just talking to people asking questions about art, is that drawing is irreducibly only one thing. It’s marks on a piece of paper. When I draw, my focus is on making an interesting set of marks on a piece of paper.



10 minute pose in 23 seconds

This is what I call a shape drawing, where I focused first on defining the individual shapes that then end up forming the figure’s overall shape. Only after I got those shapes in place did I start to define the figure with more shading and line.



10 minute pose in 37 seconds

This is another contour line drawing. It’s done in blue colored pencil. Why? I don’t know, just wanted to try it is all.  One of the big challenges of drawing a figure or scene is organizing the space in your head before you start to draw. Making sure she was going to fit in other words. That starts at the very beginning of the drawing because if you get that first element proportioned wrong, your mistakes will multiply and you will end up with the figure not being composed as you would like.



Videos and drawings © 2016 – Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


Me Drawing Lauren Drawing

Recently I went to Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa to do a photo shoot for a friend, Kathi Morrison, and her family.  When we were done I left the family and went traipsing around the museum on my own for a while.  When I came down stairs I found Kathi’s daughter, Lauren, at a little kid’s drawing table drawing herself in a mirror. Her brother was there as well and asked me, “Do you know how to draw”?  I said yes and sat across from his sister and started to draw her drawing herself as he watched.  This is the drawing that resulted.

The Model LM - drawing

Lauren Morrison

Here is a photo I took of her earlier in the day during the family portrait session.


Lauren Morrison

Here is Lauren with the rest of her family in one of the group portraits.

Kathi Morrison and Family

If you haven’t had a chance to get to Philbrook you really should go. It’s the former home of Waite Phillips of Phillips 66 gasoline fame and is now a world class museum. It has the original mansion as well as a large modern addition where temporary exhibitions, lectures and educational activities take place. It even has a fantastic restaurant called ‘The Villa’ that serves lunch and a great Sunday brunch.  And, as the photo below shows, it’s got an incredible outdoor space. What you see here is both the formal and informal Italian gardens.  Behind and to the left and right are great open spaces with sculptures, walkways and a creek.


Philbrook at Sunset by Marty Coleman

You can find more information at Philbrook.org.


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