Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Over the years, the primary method of teaching human figure drawing has involved instruction in free-hand sketching. Students using this method are usually instructed to stand at an easel at a right angle to the model to gain the best vantage point, and to study the model while squinting their eyes before beginning to draw. The squinting of the eyes allows the students to lessen the distracting visual detail and see the body as an undifferentiated mass. This enables them to achieve better-proportioned drawings. Although such claims are commonly made by teachers of figure drawing, many artists and art critics oppose what they see as too much attention to proportion. They claim this leads to stiff and lifeless drawings. Goldstein (1981), for example, states, "Still, no matter how plain or misshapen the forms, the best figure drawings always impart some degree of psychological or spiritual attraction, as in Grunewald's study 'An Old Woman With Closed Eyes'" (see figure 1). In this drawing, we see the effects of the free-hand sketching method in the sensitivity of line. Attention is given to an attitude of life in, "An Old Woman With Closed Eyes." One can "feel," as it were, the drama in this drawing. Here is an example of how the free-hand sketching method permits the artist to capture life's troubles, joys, and changes.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Stephen Fortgang

Second Advisor

Charles V. L. Dedrick


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Date Original


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