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I am an italian student who would like to learn to draw well and, in a further future, draw from my imagination.
I approached figure drawing about 3 months ago, following the "Structure of Man" Riven Phoenix Dvds, and recently integrate my studies with Bridgman's "Constructive Anatomy". Basically in the last two weeks I used to do one video tutorial from "the structure of the man" and one page of Bridgman book.
However, I recently showed my bridgman studies to my art teacher and was quite upset with the teaching of the book as they "didn't show well the structure, you're only drawing lines", because he says that for understanding well the forms I should establish the construction of the form. So he suggested me a very intresting book of anatomy wich is all with constructed figures (like the bottle elipses..).
I kind of agree with him , actually most of the bridgman drawing are hard to "feel" and some of them really make it hard for me to understand the structure.
However it is so rccomended in here that this makes me confusion..
What approach should I have ? It is better to construct the forms or do more quick sketches without understanding each line you make?
Construction is the key. If you have trouble with difficult shapes, step back a bit and consider it as a simpler shape: a cylinder, a cube, a ball, etc... . But don't just draw lines without feeling what shape they're supposed to be. try getting a sketchbook up, maybe people can then give you more precise pointers.
break down things into simple objects like shapes. Then break it down further to lines like wireframes. then break it into simple lines. Start with the bare and work it way up. Study complicated arts and break it down to understand how it compose that certain shapes. Again, work best when parallel with real life.
Riven Phoenix is bogus. He teaches what he does not know himself, and his teaching method leaves a lot to be desired. Stick to real anatomy textbooks; at least they won't omit existing muscles and show nonexistent ones like Riven is apt to do.
I'd recommend combining a visual anatomy atlas like Ellenberger with a medical text that describes precise location, origin and insertion of each muscle as well as their individual and combined action.