Art: Life drawing/drawing the figure

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  1. #1
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    Life drawing/drawing the figure

    Ok so I have my first life drawing class next week. Im taking at the Art Students League in NYC and Im quite excited. Im curious about a few things though. Does a life drawing class help you to be able to draw the figure from imagination.. or is it more about learning to see various elements such as shape, shadows, light etc? Im trying to really get my figure drawing to the point where I can draw male or female figures from my imagination without a reference for pose. I know thats a very difficult thing to do but Its just so valuble. I spend alot of time drawing people in public (obviously not nude ) and also just objects around me. Will doing this just help my drawing in general or will it in fact help me nail the figure into my mind? I know that drawing a lamp wont help my figure studies but what about when I draw clothed people? Or when I draw a nude from a GOOD photo? I basically wondering what aspect of my drawing I am helping by doing my various exercises that I do.

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  3. #2
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    Practising and creating a workflow are very usefull but if you're in the wrong 'mental state' all the drawing in the world isn't going to help you.
    The better you're focused (don't cramp up) and continue to attack your comfort zones the faster you will progress.

    On a side note, I'm not a fan of using photo's as a figure drawing learning tool. Draw from life, always!

    www.tomvandewouwer.com

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  4. #3
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    Well how can I practice from life everyday? I mean sure I can draw people everyday but there not gonna be stationary or nude.. Is that a big deal? I'm also wondering.. In life drawing class.. Is the goal to create as close to an exact representation of the model as possible.. Or are you supposed to use the model for the gesture and pose, and then finish it with your anatomy knowledge?

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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjoee5790
    Well how can I practice from life everyday?
    Do you have a mirror?

    Quote Originally Posted by biggjoee5790
    In life drawing class.. Is the goal to create as close to an exact representation of the model as possible.. Or are you supposed to use the model for the gesture and pose, and then finish it with your anatomy knowledge?
    Depends on the life drawing class and on your goals.

    www.tomvandewouwer.com

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    drawing, and ugly, and nothing else." JAD Ingres, Ecrits sur l'art
    (1780-1865)"
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjoee5790 View Post
    Ok so I have my first life drawing class next week. Im taking at the Art Students League in NYC and Im quite excited. Im curious about a few things though. Does a life drawing class help you to be able to draw the figure from imagination.. or is it more about learning to see various elements such as shape, shadows, light etc? Im trying to really get my figure drawing to the point where I can draw male or female figures from my imagination without a reference for pose. I know thats a very difficult thing to do but Its just so valuble. I spend alot of time drawing people in public (obviously not nude ) and also just objects around me. Will doing this just help my drawing in general or will it in fact help me nail the figure into my mind? I know that drawing a lamp wont help my figure studies but what about when I draw clothed people? Or when I draw a nude from a GOOD photo? I basically wondering what aspect of my drawing I am helping by doing my various exercises that I do.
    Who will you be taking the class with? I took a life drawing class at Art Students League a little while ago too! I hope your experience is better than mine though. I think life drawing in general would help one be able to draw from imagination, understanding the anatomy and drawing the body in different poses for a long time will provide mental reference when you are drawing poses on your own. I am trying to reach the same stage that you are pursuing, I have alot of work to do to get there.

    I do alot of nude drawings from photos (from deviantart) but I think it isn't helpful unless you get a quality photo. Many people seem eager for me to draw them, but some give me a blurry photo and I can't make out the forms that well. When you get a really good photo, it's alot better but be careful not to merely copy it (like I have done), but to analyze it when drawing. Also, I have noticed that it is stultifying to see the poses in that 2D format. Since I've started, I've gotten alot better at drawing the photo but my drawings still come out flat. That's why most people recommend life drawing, because you see the model in 3D.

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    I'm pretty sure the instructor is Leonid Gervitz. Unless I decied to switch to the afternoon session. Why did you not have a good experience? Was it the class itself? The instructor? I usually find my nudes on that metart website someone posted over at photographymob. The photos are crystal clear and huge.. I'm hoping this class proves useful. I'm really gonna give it my all and see what comes out of it

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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjoee5790 View Post
    I'm pretty sure the instructor is Leonid Gervitz. Unless I decied to switch to the afternoon session. Why did you not have a good experience? Was it the class itself? The instructor? I usually find my nudes on that metart website someone posted over at photographymob. The photos are crystal clear and huge.. I'm hoping this class proves useful. I'm really gonna give it my all and see what comes out of it
    Ah, in the ASL book his work looks pretty nice. I had Nikki Orbach. She didnt give much assistance at all, when we are drawing the model she would just walk around and say "good" or "that leg looks off". I didnt really get any tips to foster my figure drawing development, like viewing the body in terms of shapes or things like that. It seemed like a regular open life drawing session, and the regular open life drawing session I go to gave me more instruction than she did, so I decided not to register again once the month was up.

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    Adressed to everyone I guess. If you're going to take a life drawing class at ASL, study with Anthony Palumbo - paticularly if you want to draw from imagination. He's in his eighties now but, he's as sharp as a tack. He teaches a tried and true approach to the figure - the same methods used by countless artists dating back to the Renaissance. When you start, it's required that you use vine charcoal and 18 x 24 newsprint. If you are approaching your drawing incorrectly, believe me, Anthony will let you know it. He is direct and honest. At first I didn't like it and I thought he was kurt and harsh. I quickly came to realize that he's an amazing teacher and a very kind man. Whether you are doing a 1 minute gesture or an extended pose, the approach is the same. You should have the whole figure down in less than a minute. He uses a measuring device he's named as a "butt" - it's a conceptual device to measure off the proportions. This exact method isn't as important as what it allows you to do : draw with freedom and movement and avoid stagnent, sight-sized kind of drawings. I studied with Anthony for a year and a half and worked with Vilppu's drawing manual on the side. It is during this period that my figure drawing was transformed and I started to get it. I can't recommend his class enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan Draney View Post
    Whether you are doing a 1 minute gesture or an extended pose, the approach is the same. You should have the whole figure down in less than a minute.
    This is SOOOOO important, and so frequently misunderstood.


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  11. #10
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    You might find Gervits to be a bit frustrating if he runs his drawing class like he runs his painting class. I've found that Russian instructors tend to not break things down to a step-by-step process the way that Americans are used to receiving their instruction. Instead they give you bits of information over time, and it's up to you to make sense of it. Broad generalizations here, of course, but at least in his painting class Gervits fits that.

    He is a good teacher and is very, very knowledgeable (anybody coming out of the Russian Academies really know their stuff), but his style of teaching is different than what we're generally used to here in the States. He's quiet and tends to let people work through things. I'd recommend keeping your ears open and absorbing what he says to the other students. He might only say one or two things to you throughout the class, but if you listen to what he says to the other students as well you can learn a lot.

    If you want a more step-by-step process for figure drawing, you might want to look up EM Gist's tutorial here on CA. It's not quite what Gervits teaches, but it will at least give a starting point/plan of attack.

    Hope this helps

    Tim

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  12. #11
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    Thanks a lot everyone.. I actually had to switch to the afternoon class so my instructor is now sherry camhy.. I haven't met her yet because today was just the model. I realized today how much different a live nude and a photo nude are.. I felt like a child in the class but hey it was my first time.. There are a lot of good artists in the class so its cool to see how they work as well.. Also the class monitors were VERY helpful so hopefully that's a sign of how the instructor will be

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