Drawing Realistically

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  1. #1
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    Drawing Realistically

    Hello I was just wondering - how important is it to be able to draw precisely what is in front of you? And how can one practice this? (especially for figure drawing).

    I was in life drawing today, and I noticed that my drawings turn out looking nothing like the model. I usually get the basic structure/shape down, and then go off on my own little tangent, and I absolutely cannot help it. The drawings turn out okay.. I mean, there's always room for improvement, but it looks reasonable, or at least.. you can tell that it's a figure LOL, but, it just doesn't quite look like what is actually there.

    So, er.. should I be worried? Should the emphasis be on drawing exactly what you see, or interpreting it and putting your own spin on it? Any thoughts/advice/opinions etc appreciated

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  3. #2
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    I've been pondering this too. My figure drawings usually end up shifted a few degrees on some axis. I haven't actually formulated a definitive opinion -- on the one hand, some people tell you its important to "draw what you see", on the other, if you can turn out a picture that doesn't look quite like the model but still looks "right", then what's the big deal? :p

    Either way, I think it's all about practice...

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by royen View Post
    if you can turn out a picture that doesn't look quite like the model but still looks "right", then what's the big deal?
    Because that's a trap. It may look "right" to you, but be totally wrong. Look at art you did a couple yrs ago that you thought was "right" and see if you don't find errors.

    It is practice, though. There are no shortcuts.

    Kroevyn: The short and long answer is practice. For your particular problem...perhaps you are letting your brain fill in too much? Avoid looking at the page for too long with just quick glances down and see if that doesn't keep your brain from trying to interrupt too often.

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  6. #4
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    It means you need to continue practicing figure drawing (and life drawing in general). Don't expect learn it in few weeks.

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  7. #5
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    beyond basic structures I presume you mean that you are having problems with the face and capturing the models likeness,

    you need to take a closer look at the face and break down the structure look at the planes

    and pick out the key areas that give the person their individuality - chin, shape of the mouth, nose and eyes,

    also its good to get into the practice to use your pencil to measure distance in relation to objects.

    www.fineart.sk - some loomis books, good references on drawing the head

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kroevyn View Post
    Hello I was just wondering - how important is it to be able to draw precisely what is in front of you? And how can one practice this? (especially for figure drawing).

    I was in life drawing today, and I noticed that my drawings turn out looking nothing like the model. I usually get the basic structure/shape down, and then go off on my own little tangent, and I absolutely cannot help it. The drawings turn out okay.. I mean, there's always room for improvement, but it looks reasonable, or at least.. you can tell that it's a figure LOL, but, it just doesn't quite look like what is actually there.

    So, er.. should I be worried? Should the emphasis be on drawing exactly what you see, or interpreting it and putting your own spin on it? Any thoughts/advice/opinions etc appreciated
    Best way to practice it is .. well.. practice it. Theres no shortcut. Just keep doing it. Dont go off onto your own little tangent. If you just say ehh its no big deal it still looks like a person.. youll never get it to look correct. You need to try as hard as you can to draw what you see. The human body is the most difficult thing you can try to reproduce in detail. Try doing some still lifes or plaster casts first. They dont move, you can take as long as you want, and the values are wayy easier to spot.

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  9. #7
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    Drawing realistically is about control and skill. If you're going to base any of your non-realistic drawings off of reality, then it's vital to gain ability at drawing realistically.

    Consider this, if you're trying to draw something realistically and fall short it means there were parts of that process you were not able to control properly. Don't you want to be able to draw exactly what you want? And not just have your best attempt at it?

    Furthermore if reality is the basis of your work then the better your understanding of the realistic form (i.e. drawing realistically) then the better you will be able to convey an abstract version of that same form.

    So yes, learning to draw realistically is very important. Plus any progress you make there will cross over into the rest of your art.

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  10. #8
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    I usually get the basic structure/shape down, and then go off on my own little tangent, and I absolutely cannot help it.
    Avoiding this at all cost would probably push you towards the right track. From what i have understood so far, "realism" can (in short) be brought to canvas by laborously studying value and proportion, and as someone allready said, relying almost exlusively on the visual appearance of whatever is in front of you. This will be very hard to do if your sessions per pose are shorter than 2 hours, and if you decide to push towards this direction, you may as well attend an atelier where this technique is exclusively thought.

    So yeah, i just repeated what everyone else said Look up Harold Speed in the ca wiki. He has free books on the web, shouldn't be hard to find.

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  11. #9
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    Before replying, I took a lot at your sketchbook. It's very good and it seems like you don't need that much help in the area...however...like everybody else pointed out so beautifully, its important to learn how to draw what is in front of you, aka realistically. Reading here one day, someone said it best: "You have to learn the rules to break them". You're right, anyone can improve and that's usually done through repeatedly drawing from life.

    This is why places like deviantArt can be so bad. Everybody thinks that "It looks right, so it must be okay". I suffered from the same thing, telling everyone "it was my style and that's why it looks a certain way" or "it looks close and that's good enough".

    You're on the right path, just keep following it and keep doing anatomy studies, as well as other life drawing subjects.

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  12. #10
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    Good drawing comes from learning how to see correctly as well; They both go together, and you can't make a successful drawing if you neglect either one of them, IMO. I think the best approach is to learn how to draw things as accurately as possible, and once you master that, THEN put your own spin on it (you need to know anatomy before you alter it, for example).

    If you have trouble drawing what you see accurately, I highly recommend you purchase a book titled "(The New) Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain"; I think it can definitely help you out in regards to drawing realistically.

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