Here's more of my work from my figure photos. The statuesque poses remind me of some of Lucian Freud's work. I'm not interested in the skin textures though, it's the musculature that is exciting me-the tenseness in the lower legs, the shoulders and lower back.
I want to draw from life though, as I still think these drawings look slightly 'dead' and 'flat'. I thought this yesterday, and then Lisa made a similar comment. Thanks Lisa - how can you see inside my head like that?
I've looked on other people's art blogs and found that a happy medium is to make preparatory drawings from life, with a couple of reference photos taken after, then back to the studio with both. The preliminary sketches capture what the artist 'saw' in the scene, and they'll refer to the photo occasionally, but work mainly from the drawings done in situ. This is a way of keeping the life in the painting.
Mel also suggested working really big. I have a compressed charcoal stick that is as thick as my thumb, which is wonderful to use. I must remember what my cousin Amy said, to draw with my whole arm, not just using fingers and wrists.