Can You Learn Anatomy by Drawing from the Greats?
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  1. #1
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    Can You Learn Anatomy by Drawing from the Greats?

    I was wondering...I don't really have a lot of access to naked bodies and I really want (and need) to practice some figure drawing. I know I shouldn't draw from photos since you can't get all the awesome muscle tones and such...but what about drawing from the classic paintings and sketches from Michelangelo and other greats? I know it's not as good as drawing from real life...but it's got to be better than drawing from photos...right? Also, do you think you can learn by observing their anatomy by copying them?

    Thanks to all who repy.

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    You can learn, sure, but I doubt you'd ride far with that as your only ticket...

    LONG LIVE YOKO KANNO!!!
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    people have been learning that way since before Michealangelo and the other greats. Heck thats how Michealangelo learned. So yea you can definitely learn that way.

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    Tristan Elwell
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    i think learning anatomy from photos is alot better then trying to learn it from life, i would say learn the anatomy from photos/anatomy books/masters, and see how it relates when drawing from life. because, when drawing from life, honestly there's much more to focus on past anatomy.

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    I'm agreeing with Stephen on this one. It's a step that I've chosen to take. Photos and books are great because you can truly take your time. The books show how things connect because we all know how hard it is to study from cadavers (ie you better be in a medical course or working in the death industry). The photos show how it all goes together into a real person. You can just sit and study, then draw draw draw!

    Life study is great too and definitely has it's function. It will teach you speed and how to capture emotion and motion in figures. You can also get a model to sit for you in a particular position and set up lighting just how you like it if you want to study for a particular piece. I can do ok life drawings but I am still slow and I've only finished a few complete drawings before the model gets sore and has to move.


    Use all three, but start with the basics (structure) and then move up from there.

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    going to your local library is also a good idea... If you don't have any ressources or money.

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    You know, I recently bought that book, and was disappointed. It's not actually written by R.B. Hale, but by one of his assistants or somesuch, and the text is pretty convoluted and hard to understand. It really lacks Hale's clarity of description.

    It does have a plenty of pictures, though, so if you're not worried about text, it's great for copying material. Text wise, Master Class in Figure Drawing (by Hale) is much better.

    Do I need to add a disclaimer that this is all my opinion? Probably not. Nevermind.

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    In fact, the traditional classical education process for drawing went like this:

    - draw from the masters for a really long time...
    - then draw from casts for a really long time...
    - then, after all that, draw from life.

    I'll also say that while photos are good because you can take your time, if by any chance you have access to good sculpture it's much better in this regard- you can take your time *and* understand the form in 3d.

    Not positive, but drawing from photos of sculptures might be better than drawing from photos of live people. Haven't done a lot of either so it's hard to say for sure, but at least with a sculpture it's more obvious how an artist simplifies the forms...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantis View Post
    You know, I recently bought that book, and was disappointed. It's not actually written by R.B. Hale, but by one of his assistants or somesuch, and the text is pretty convoluted and hard to understand. It really lacks Hale's clarity of description.

    It does have a plenty of pictures, though, so if you're not worried about text, it's great for copying material. Text wise, Master Class in Figure Drawing (by Hale) is much better.

    Do I need to add a disclaimer that this is all my opinion? Probably not. Nevermind.
    I can't find the one just done by Hale himself, only copies that say they are but are actually co-written by Coyle. You know any links you might be able to direct me to? Or am i just retarded O_O

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    Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters is by Hale, as is Master Class in Figure Drawing

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    "Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life"

    http://www.amazon.com/Bridgmans-Comp...7125016&sr=1-5

    best anatomy book you'll ever buy.

    - scott
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    Quote Originally Posted by dose View Post
    Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters is by Hale, as is Master Class in Figure Drawing
    Master class in figure drawing is written by coyle.
    Master Class in Figure Drawing and Anatomy lessons from the old masters are both written by coyle from his notes from Hale's class. So its kind of like reading a guy's notes from the master's class as apposed to talking directly to the master.
    Drawing lessons from the great masters is written by Robert Hale himself though.
    But you can pretty much be assured that whatever has Hale's name on it with have much valuable information in it, second-hand or not.

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    i don't really know what the difference is between studiying from photos or life models since i don't have access of any either. but i do hear that you can learn lot more from life models then photos.

    still have to try it sometime though.

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    I have 'Masterclass in Figure Drawing' by coyle or Hale or who the freak ever- either way it's a great read and is clear enough for me to understand, but the diagrams get confusing sometimes.

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    My two cents?

    You can only apply what you learn, and if learning from the masters help then why not? As long as you can use it as a tool to improve and not fall back into bad habits (wich a lot of people, myself including) then you shouldn't have a problem

    But Im gonna thank everyone above me too who answered. I'm going to go see if I can check out some of those books from my local library or if I have the pocket change, buy em from a Book Store

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    Hey everyone! Thanks so much for replying to my question. I will definitely check out those books. Everyone's reply definitely gave me a nice boost of confidence. Thanks again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MeTaL-Mike View Post
    i don't really know what the difference is between studiying from photos or life models since i don't have access of any either. but i do hear that you can learn lot more from life models then photos.

    still have to try it sometime though.
    one major thing is that to put it in laymens terms, you have two eyes and a camera only has one. Your eyes see a completely different way then a camera. This allows you to have what we call depth perception, which a photograph completely lacks. Imagine walking around with one eye closed all the time. You wouldnt get a full understanding of how a form sits in 3d space and you will bump into a lot of things, believe me I've done it.

    The other big thing is just lack of knowledge about photography and 3 dimensionality and lack of easily accessible images in existance that show strong 3 dimensional forms as apposed to being flash photo or washed out with strobes or strongly air brushed. What creates the visual idea of 3d form is the movement of light across a surface. If someone takes a picture with a flash (or stobe if professionally done) or extensively airbrushed after the fact, it will kill this idea of movent and you wont be able to see the form.

    i hope that helps

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    sweetoblivion314 - i understand completely what you mean man. but i still have the problem that i don't have access to a model and i've tried going to a park and drawing but then people see you sitting there with a sketchbook and come over to see what you're doing. i'm the kind of person that does not like this. so that's not really an option there either.

    I've checked if there are any Life model drawing sessions in my area but holland is not that big and most of these happen in major cities like amsterdam or utrecht or something like that but i don't live near them.

    hiring a model seems expensive so...
    do you have any suggestions ??

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