Fast drawings: Portraits and Croquis

by Jonah Ohayv
tlf. 30225800

Each evening in my croquis group with no teacher, we draw the never-before-seen model 55 times in all, during the 1-2-and-5 minute periods which make up the two hours, 35 nights a year. Most of the portraits and body sketches you'll see here are such 5-minute summaries of what I found most striking and revealing about some of these anonymous, silent individuals.

During such short poses, I concentrate on catching significant details and their interrelations. I focus on the aesthetic or emotional details or hinted personality trait which most fascinates me in the position. Starting with the facial or bodily feature which at that moment expresses the model's intuited essence clearest to me, I draw from that place outwards. Along the way, I use colors to highlight the energies I sense.

With the many colors and shadows, there's not much time - so sometimes faces have no contours, and legs, arms, etc. may be totally isolated. Body parts from consecutive positions are often combined in strange ways on the same page, to create a kind of symbolic story. These weird collages usually follow the way that I (with my own personality filters) sense that this human's traits and values, powers and hidden weaknesses are put together. From the details they reveal during the evening through their series of spontaneously chosen poses, I try to find their personality, outlook in life, strategies, and tastes. I try to sketch the person whom I sense is behind or inside their body. I look for the soul of the person, and try to catch it in quick, intuitive sketches.

Then I cut the paper's sides into the exact frame-proportions which mirror my overall impression, and often finally mount that page onto another, chosen colored background sheet which fits standard-sized picture frames.

The "Portrait" groups below are quick, careful studies of the model's facial message. In the "2 Slants" groups, you'll see two sides of the same person, and in the "3 Slants" groups, three. In the "Sets", I try to gather a model's varying attitudes in a series of drawings.The "Theme" collections focus on details. These groups can be viewed in whatever order you like; the following one is just an example. Click on the drawings to see them clearer on a dark background, and for many more details, click again on that.

In America, when I was 12, in our only school-semester with an art class, the art teacher said that since, even after 40 minutes' of concentreated efforts, I couldn't draw the railroad tracks receding into the distance with a convincing perspective - I'd never be any good at I almost never tried to intently draw after that, and later on drew mostly high-speed fantasy caricatures or just careful, colorful patterns...never thought of traditional drawing doctrines or enrolling in an art school...and I guess that's the secret to why I now trust my own eyes and fingers and have my own original style.

Portraits 1


2 Slants A

Portraits 2


2 Slants B

Hinted Face

Face Plus Under

Portraits 3

2 Slants C

Erogenous Zones

3 Slants

Sets 1

Alternate Portraits

Sets 2

Composite Body

Sets 3

Black+White Portraits

Chalk Portraits

Ink Portrait Set

Combinations 1

Combinations 2

Combinations 3

Combinations 4

Combinations 5

Combinations 6