Tag Archives: drawing

More figure drawing

12 Jun

Here is a figure sketch based on a fashion photo, in which I tried to draw in two steps, a design phase for the overall structure of the figure and a refinement phase, in which I concentrate more on the details.

Clothed figure sketch 15 2011/06/12

It’s still a rough sketch, made in 20 minutes, but I think you can see I’ve done a few dozen sketches (short, 7 minutes long each). The drawing looks more considered, more thought-through. There’s still room for improvement, quite a bit, actually, as there always is. Still, I think I captured the idea of the pose.

I will be doing more of these brief sketches, to develop a feel for proportions. Of course, the drawing above isn’t very well suited for that, because the figure isn’t standing upright, so it’s harder to check the proportions.

One could argue why not do unclothed figure sketches? I’m surely want to do those too, but good (non-pornographic) images are less frequent than good fashion photos on the Internet. Also, it’s much easier to ask someone to pose for me with her or his clothed on than without, in real life I mean. Typical clothed figure rates are 10 euros per hour (if I go by the rates my local community college uses). My guess is that nude models are much more expensive, but I could be wrong.

I’m still not confident enough to hire models, though, so for now I’m trying to improve my skills by using photos and short candid pose sketches (people in public spaces). Alas, the rates for the figure sketching course at my local community college has gone up this year (now 16 euros per 2 hour lesson, excluding modeling costs), so I’m unable to attend those, as I had planned.

Figure drawing

6 Jun

I decided to start drawing figures based on fashion photos. This is to learn the ideal proportions of the adult human being. As my guide I use the book by late Barbara Bradley, Drawing People; How To Portray The Clothed Figure.

Clothed figure sketch 1 (2011-06-06)

The ideal figure is eight heads high and can be used to compare people’s proportions with. I’m trying to learn this ideal figure by using fashion photos as reference. As a bonus I get to learn something about fashion, of which I know little.

Clothed figure sketch 2 (2011/06/06)

Drawing people is hard enough, so if I pick a subject, I’d better choose something I enjoy drawing, like pretty girls. This drawing is based on a fashion photo. This girl was a bit of a problem, because she has a more complicated pose and her clothing obscures the lines of her body.

Three important parts of the body are the head, chest and hips. In most (natural) poses most of the weight is on one of the legs (here her left leg). This weight-bearing leg is roughly underneath the chin. Furthermore, the groin is at the halfway point between the heels and the top of the head. So it makes sense to put the chin and heel of the weight-bearing leg on a vertical line and determine how far to the right or left the groin is. You then need to determine the angles of the head, chest and hips.

You would think it would help to draw a “through-line” that indicates the pose of the figure. However, I found that you first need to learn how the body works by drawing. Once you have a basic understanding, I suppose you can abstract that knowledge by drawing that through-line. At the moment, I’m still trying to understand.

Clothed figure sketch 3 2011/06/06

In this sketch I saw the limitation of my drawing method. Somehow I need to imagine the pose myself, perhaps even stand in front of a mirror. The way I’ve done it here is too mechanical, too much trying to copy from the original.

Clothed figure sketch 4 2011/06/06

In this sketch I have added more thought and planning. I didn’t stand in front of a mirror, but I imagined how the general pose was (through-line), and how the hips were thrust forward, slightly slanted to her right. She clearly wasn’t 8 heads high, so I had fudge the pose a lot to make it fit the ideal proportions.

I see an improvement, compared to the previous sketches, like I’m getting the hang of it. A few more of these improvements and I can get on in the book by Barbara Bradley.

If you want to see how a more experienced artist does this kind of drawing, I invite you to watch Leilani Joy on YouTube.

Drawing from imagination

29 May

I wanted to draw a rhinoceros from imagination and here are some versions and what I’ve learned from it.

Rhino from imagination # 1

⇧ Here I was struggling with the image of a rhino. I mean, most of us have seen a photo of a rhino or a rhino in real life. Putting this “knowledge” on paper is not as easy as you might think.

Rhino from imagination # 2

⇧ After a short break, doing something completely different, I came back to the previous design and restated it. While the head is strong, the body is too much like a cat (yeah, I draw cats all the time).

Rhino from imagination # 3

⇧ I tried another viewing angle to get a better grip on the design. This is already looking much better!

Rhino from imagination # 4

⇧ Making the rhino stand up will give it a more human appearance and will probably be easier to draw and identify with. However, I know little of how to draw the human figure. Note how the features get better with every attempt.

Rhino from imagination # 5

⇧ The three-quarters view is by far the best way to present a character, because it has to be in three dimensions for this perspective. This is excellent to get a grip on the moving masses of your character.

Rhino from imagination # 6

⇧ Riffing on what other character designers have done can be useful as well. Here I based my rhino loosely on Maha Ganeshariff by Toru Nakayama (Megaman Zero video games). Sloppy drawing is key if you don’t want to just rip off someone else’s design.

Rhino from imagination # 7

⇧ Restating the Megaman Zero inspired design with my own take. If you’re a creative person, I don’t think you can plagiarize, even if you tried. There will always be something of yourself in a design. I’m not saying you couldn’t plagiarize, only that it’s more of an artisan thing, not as much of an artistic endeavor.

Rhino from imagination # 8

⇧ After reading a bit about how to do gesture drawings, I realized that every curve you put on paper has to be there for a reason. If you put intent in your lines, you will get a much clearer design. Before you can do that, you should think about what your character is doing.

That last bit was the big take-away, I think. Drawing with intent is so important. Also, if you want to breathe life into your character, an asymmetrical pose is important. If gives a dynamic appearance. I’m not there yet, but it’s getting better.

Another take-away is that you need to iterate your design, however laborious that may seem at first. After all, if you have drawn the best you can, that should be enough, right? Wrong! Even if you have the skill to draw a perfect character design, you should always explore alternatives. And if you don’t yet have that skill, drawing many iterations of a character design will give you this skill pretty soon, especially if you want it to be better.

Drawing with intent, not just for pleasure or passing the time, is what separates the amateur from the (aspiring) professional. Drawing from imagination is of course showing intent, but reducing the lines to the ones that you think best demonstrate your ideas (which you first should develop), and then in iteration pushing the design for more clarity, is where you want to go. Pushing your design should always be within limits, though. You still want believability, not something grotesque.

I will continue the design and probably share it on Flickr when done. I’ll probably write a new post on it.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found it useful. If you have any ideas or comments, feel free to add those in the comments section.

Only one year of portrait drawing

28 May

In their infinite wisdom, the Dutch government has decided to start raising value added tax on education for people over 20. Since I was just able to pay the lesson fee for a weekly portrait course, with the help of special social benefits (which are likely to be cut away as well), I can’t really justify such a high fee on what is essentially a hobby.

That’s just too bad. I thought the portrait course was really helpful. Now I have find other means to work on my life drawing skills, probably draw in public spaces.

I had plans to go the nude life figure drawing in my third year, but I guess that’s out of the question now. I’m sure I’ll be missed.

Portrait Course, lesson # 30

23 May

Portrait Course 20110523 # 1

This was the last drawing of the portrait drawing course at my local community college and everyone agreed it was my best drawing until now. I spent two lessons on it and needed only minimal help from my instructor. The model was very patient, even while some of us students were a bit rowdy because it was the last day in “school.” Marie, thank you!

I used 2H, H and HB leads to make the drawing, plus some smudging with my fingers.

Portrait Course, lesson # 29

16 May

Portrait Course 20110516 # 1

This was the last but one drawing session of this season of model drawing course. Apart from the nose, the instructor was quite happy with my setup. I will continue next time.

Chalk garden

1 May

With all the nastiness going on in the socially challenged neighborhood I live in, I decided it was time again to do some street art to give people something else to think about then how to get even with others. It’s a small contribution, but other than calling the police for dealing with the most egregious offenders of neighborly peace, I can do little. People are still responsible for their own actions, how stupid those may be.

This time I drew a garden with flowers and insects. Nothing fancy, basic stuff. There are a butterfly, a beetle and a bee, and some non-specific flowers. I didn’t plan this out, but went along with the flow. Alas, it was a bit hard to take a picture. I tried stitching it together with panorama software, but it got confused (no sky), so this video was the best I could do with the photos I made in a grid.

Unfortunately, this time no one was creating with me. I suppose that’s because many parents with children have packed their things and went on vacation. It are the kids that stay at home during school vacation which worry me. They tend to suffer in learning abilities, because they basically do nothing to keep their brains occupied.

So sad.