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I'm new here, I've been browsing the forums for about 2-3 week, finally decided to make an account about a week ago, and now time for my first post.
Anyway a little about me. I was never really interested in art until about a year ago. I am currently 20 (21 in August), so I'm starting somewhat late, but this is going to just be more of a hobby for me. I decided to start with anatomy studies, and after a few months of searching for a good set of instructions that fit my learning style, I finally found something that worked for me, The Complete Structure of Man by Riven Phoenix. I've been working on this course for about two months now and have just about completed the spine and ribs (haven't been rushing it). For all my progress you can check my DA here:
As nice as DA is, it doesn't help with the thing that I really want which is critique and people telling me what I need to improve on. So I found this site and here I am.
Anyway I'll start by posting my newest two drawing which I did a couple of days ago, and took a lot of time trying to make it look nice. Then drew over it just to see how it would look if I drew muscle lines. This isn't a big deal to me that I ruined the drawing because I think what is really important is that I can reproduce it at any time.
The next one I drew today, it's sloppy but what I was really working on with this one wasn't how neat it is, instead I was working on making long lines by moving my shoulder and elbow and not short sketchy lines with my wrist without picking up my pencil. As you might be able to see, when I do that I get these little jerks in the line, so they aren't very smooth.
Anyway any advice/tips/tutorials/links is welcomed. Some things that I think would make a huge improvement to my art, and feel free to correct these, are:
- More anatomy study
- More practice drawing smooth lines with my shoulder elbows and not sketchy lines with my wrist
- Shading (or I think you guys refer to this as rendering, but I think this should wait until I actually know how to draw things since without that I can't expect to shade it)
- More variety (I've been focusing on human anatomy some variety would probably help)
Last edited by Mars.; July 19th, 2011 at 04:37 PM.
So since my last post I've been in a lazy mood where I just want to study but not practice, but I finally snapped out of it and am back to anatomy. Anyway I have pretty much memorized the back and side view of the rib cage, but the front view is proving to be a little difficult. Riven Phoenix tells you the right way to draw it, but doesn't draw it correct himself. Basicly I first noticed the problem when for the front view lessons he only drew 11 ribs. Then I skipped ahead to the front view with the pelvis, and saw he did it with 12 ribs there, so I used that as a reference when I was drawing. However I noticed he still wasn't drawing it the way he told us to draw it, so I needed to figure out which was the correct way, the way he was telling us to draw it, or the way he was drawing it. Ended up being the way he was telling us to draw it. With that said, the front view here is incorrect. There should be 6 ribs attached directly to the sternum, and 4 branching off, and then 2 hanging. But they way he drew it, which is how I copied, was drawing 7 ribs attached to the sternum, 3 branching off, and 2 hanging.
Another problem is the whole making it look 3 dimensional. The spine is made of disks, and although Riven's drawings make it look easy to make things look like they are getting closer and drawing the disks round and not straight, it really isn't. You can see on the back view, I really didn't round the disks at all, but I did make them get thicker, which just makes it look flat and like it buldges out in certain places. The front view I put a little more effort into that.
I also was messing around with shading/rendering, or as I think the pros refer to it as adding value to the image. I drew a little ball and shaded it to my understanding of how it should work. The problem for me is blending the different darknesses. I've was messing around with hatching and cross hatching for that.
Then I decided I should probably draw something from life, since observing values will probably help me understand it better. So I drew a pop can that was on my desk.
Anyway please please critique/give me advice, I appreciate it.
EDIT: I just updated all the images so they are attached and not using the URL tags. This also meant resizing but that's not a problem since they were super blown up before which makes sketchy lines look even worse.
Last edited by Mars.; July 11th, 2011 at 04:52 PM.
I recently started working on the anatomy with River Phoenix too and I find his method quite effective. What I would suggest to you though is you have an anatomy reference book whilst studying using those videos. His videos are to help with the fundamental but if you need want to push further refer to the anatomy books which I do.
Funny enough we are at the same stage. I just started the working on the pelvics and having a tough time getting it right.
With your drawings try to add your own style as it makes it easier.
And yeah, I've looked at the pelvis it's a bit confusing with the hole in the middle and on the sides looking like they are attached to eachother, but I think I have the idea down.
I get the back and the front a bit confusing but I think I will get around to it. On the plus side drawing the skull has now become almost second nature and am pleased about that.
What about you. Any areas you feel comfortable with?
And I completely agree with you on the skull. It is second nature now. I occasionally get worried about forgetting it, but we spent so much time on the skull that it's hard to forgot.
Anyway I should be updating later today when I have the time.
Was supposed to update yesterday but I didn't. Gonna copy/paste stuff from deviant art.
So anyway, the past week I haven't done much. This is getting to a frustration point, between me wanted to do it and putting it off for other stuff, and me drawing and then remembering how long it takes to draw out all this stuff now. It's been worth it, honestly it's nice being able to draw a cool looking skeleton, but it takes 30 minutes on one drawing. It's frustrating, because I don't even want to be drawing skeletons at the end of this.
But anyway, enough whining, lets talk about my progress. I decided to step away from the rib cage, since I pretty much know what I'm doing with it now, it's just I don't feel like drawing it out. So yesterday I took a look back at drawing a skull. I was messing around with the proportions of it, as you can see I drew one normal length and then one really tall. I also have been worried about my ability to draw slightly angled skulls, so I drew one very slightly turned from the side. Ended up being worried about nothing, I still got it.
Finally I printed out some Bargue plates a couple weeks ago. I figure these will help me more when I actually get to drawing figure with muscles, but hey, why not try one out now. The concept of Bargue plates, is he draws out different body parts from different angles, with a cross in them. Using that cross, you draw your own cross, and then copy it down. It's the same exact concept Riven Phoenix uses with his formulas, exept you don't have him telling you exactly where the stuff is supposed to be. With that said, I still think it compliments The Structure of Man very nicely.
Ignore the center drawing, that's old and incorrect, I draw a rough sketch of the right way on the bottom left. I just wanted to use this paper more since it had a lot of white, so I did.
So the last peice I submitted, I told you how I was getting frustrated with the ribs. So my solution is I will do the pelvis, legs, and feet then come back and finish mastering drawing them out. So here are two front view I did of the pelvis. The front view ended up being easier than I thought, or maybe it was because I previewed it 2 weeks or so ago, and now it was in the back of my mind. Nothing special though, using the formulas to draw these out. Certainly looks a better proportioned then the last ones I submitted though, right?
So anyway, at this point I felt I had the front view mastered, so I did the back view. What I didn't realize, was how easy the back view would be after knowing the front view. Pretty much you draw the same stuff, however you gotta figure out which lines to erase to make it look like the back instead of the front.
With that I started the side view, however I was getting tired so I decided to go to bed and not try memorizing things when I am bound to forget them.
So anyway final peice I have done right now. The two drawings top were done this morning so I could see if it sank in over night or if I would forget it. Then the two bottom drawing were done in a more freehand style, done only using a plus.
Looks like that break might have done me well. Finally rolling again. Today I went through the side view a few times, then decided to go on to drawing the entire front view with everything we have so far. I haven't mastered the side view of the pelvis yet, so I'm going to eventually have to go back.
But for now I'm happy with where I'm at. Also something I found important with this one was to actually draw the scapula on the figure. I haven't been doing that even though I know how to do it.
NOTE: The first four I posted on DA yesterday, last one I posted today, so that's why I'm talking about two different times being the present.
Honestly some of the drawing look ok but you need to try and make your lines more organic. Some of your lines look very static and I kind of have that same problem too. From the amount of reading I have, most of the artist suggest you practice drawing more organically.
As you mentioned The Skeleton is barely the beginning of all this. Once we have mastered that then we can move on to other things.
Also sounds like you are just as impatient as I am because one drawing takes up to 30 minutes and that frustrates me too but if that what it takes then so be it.
With regards to forgetting things like the head, we have to draw that quite regularly I believe. After a week of not looking at the head.. It take some time to get it right.
And Mar we cant rush this.. but Damn I cant wait to confidently draw a skeleton head to toe with no reference material.
Keep it up.
Hey Mars, thanks for commenting in my sketchbook! I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the method of study that you're currently on, so it's hard for me to give you any advice about it. But I will say that I think you should consider switching off between this method and other forms of drawing study. For instance, have you considered doing loose gesture studies of the full figure from photos/models? That might help you loosen up a bit, improve your general drawing ability, and give you a broader idea of how the bones that you're currently studying fit into the final form. Whatever method or course you choose to follow, I wish you the best of luck. Keep posting!
I agree with Dierat. Studies are good (especially skeletons since we all have one) but how that skeleton moves is also very important. The skelly is a frame for all the muscle, skin, etc that we have. Straight on shots will teach you basic forms. But perspective shots will teach you to draw what is there and not what you THINK is there. I would recommend doing some contours of people or even just simple mocks of motion and people in general. When you get to drawing the flesh, it is extremely helpful and doesn't run the risk of completely burning you out.
Thank you both of you for commenting. I completely agree, however, like masterpug said, I need to know what is there, not what I think is there, which means I need to learn basic anatomy before I get into perspective.
I wanna upload a couple of images later showing how I progress through drawing these out, because the way I am learning it is very structured, I'm sure you would agree. It's almost like a gesture system for the skeleton.
Let me know if I'm wrong, but my understanding of gesture drawing is simplifying the body into shapes and then putting those shapes together. That's it. Then if you want to complete it you can, but you have the gesture down now, just gotta fill it in.
That's what I'm doing. And I know from looking ahead Riven eventually teaches the mannequin system, so I don't need to draw out the skeleton and then put on the flesh every time I draw out a human.
So I don't want to sound ungreatful, because I appreciate you taking to time to make suggestions, however right now I am just too uncomfortable with the human body to try drawing it in perspective poses too. Once I complete the anatomy stuff, I definately feel like I should start with what you suggested.
I'm with the others. Simplify the body into boxes first to get the general proportions right as I'm not seeing them on your skeletons - the spine is miles too wide. Once you've got the proportions, then you can fill in the detail.
Thanks for the feedback Black Spot.
Anyway as promised, I took a couple of scans throughout the drawing. I took into consideration what you said about the spin being too wide, took a look at some reference images, and tried to fix that. I also tried to make more organic lines, I'm not sure what that means, I'm guessing less sketchy and more straight without picking up my pencil. Anyway let me know what you think, I drew it on the same page as my last drawing, so you could compare.
wow I can see improvement already in your update! It's great to see you working hard and learning the basics, I wish I'd started out with basics instead of having to backtrack later;
As for suggestions, I would advise you balance your learning between studying references and drawing from your imagination/memory. As in say drawing three rib cages directly from reference, and than trying to draw one on your own, than reviewing the references and comparing them to the one you did from imagination. That way you can see and eliminate mistakes you may be making! : )
But as for specifics, I'd say look at how the ribcage and pelvis is shaped, the rib cage and pelvis are actually rather wide (just a picture taken from google images).
Hopefully some of this is helpful! Good luck, I wish you the best on your artistic endeavors ! : )
http://alexhays.com/loomis/ - Click on the one with "Figure Drawing for all it's Worth" It shows the breakdown of the proportions, muscles, skeletal frame and etc. This is GREAT for beginners.
http://www.pixelovely.com/gesture/figuredrawing.php - free, this a tool for artistic reference, great for strengthening you skills and drawing from real life.
http://lovecastle.org/draw/ - free same as above
http://www.human-anatomy-for-artist.com/ - free SAMPLES - if you want to subscribe, they give you a large resource of nude, high quality reference. But, there are great free samples!
NSFW http://www.kindgirls.com/ great reference but be aware of the images having eroticism in them
http://www.characterdesigns.com/inde...page=photosets - free, great photos but mostly females. many things to learn from this
http://www.posemaniacs.com/thirtysecond - i suggest you try this with a pen
http://www.posemaniacs.com/negativespace - same with this.
5 minute blind gesture - try doing this, take a reference and just start at it while drawing without looking at the paper, the first tries it wont turn out so good but it strengthens your skills a lot. Do it with pen, its harder but it will help you a lot!
I am going to be amazing! .
Hey man, thanks for the comment on my SB! I'm no great critic but I think you need to start drawing some more general human forms rather than all the skeletal detail. I think it's more important to learn gestures and proportions and balance (etc) than to focus on the number of ribs or the holes in the sacrum or whatever. The underlying structure is important, of course, but I think the details are less important than the forms they create in 3D space.
I suggest drawing whole figures (arms and legs included) focusing on simpler volume-occupying shapes to get a good grasp of what humans really look like before trying to tackle things like the details of the pelvis.
So far your drawings are looking flat, largely because your lines don't actually match those in the reference image. I think you're looking at the reference and coming up with your own approximation of what things look like rather than drawing exactly what you see. It's almost coming out a little too neat, too many straight lines and sharp corners. Look closer and try to see volume.
Hope that helps even a little. Sometimes things make more sense in my head than they do in written words =/
Hey, thanks for the comment.
I think this may have been mentioned, but I think one thing you should work on is your line flow. I think you mentioned you wanted to work less from the wrist. Drawing longer, smoother lines really helps many aspects of your work! As everyone else says, keep it up!
I agree. Actually it's been bothering me a lot so instead of working on new body parts I've been focusing more on linework. I'll post some stuff tomorrow, I got the pelvis down and started the femur, but that's where I started doing mostly linework.
I am getting this style now where my first sketch is very light and sketchy, short sketchy lines, then when I clean it up I work on nice clean lines. I think this helps out a lot because one thing I have seen people suggest is drawing two points and then drawing the line to connect them, well this is pretty much the same thing except instead of making points I am drawing sketchy, then lightly erasing, and I now have guide lines instead of guide points.
Also another issue I have been having is my hand sticking. Even when it isn't hot, I am very hot blooded, (not in a way that makes me angry all the time), so I sweat or at least perperate a little even when it's not very warm. This makes my hand stick to the wood on my desk (not so much the paper). I found placing a folded tissue paper under my hand allows me to slide my hand very smoothly across the surface, making shoulder and elbow movements easier.
Now I want some feedback if these are "okay" techniques, any tips, suggestions would be great, I'll post some more work tomorrow when I feel like scanning X(. Also just a quick question hopefully someone answers, is it okay to draw with your wrist for very small stuff? Like if I am drawing a line across the page, obviously I shouldn't be using my wrist, but if I am drawing a tiny curve, is using my wrist that bad?
i dont think doing the riven phoenix course is the best thing do, i did it and i didnt learn much, just the proportions of the figure, and thats it, all the formulas he teaches for the face and skull and watever, you wont even remember or need them after a couple of days, i'd stick to some classic figure drawing instructional book, there you learn tons
Just pointing out,
It's a basic principle. You could apply this principle to learning a language. Would you need a powerphrase after you've mastered a word/phrase? No. Then, was it useless? Heck, no. It just helped you along the way.
Just saying- I'm going through the same thing myself and I'm not quite at the stage that the OPs at, but I can see the merit. It just depends on how you make that spin with the rest of your studies, how the figure moves etc. Learning, as he shows you, to draw the figures from memory, in different positions, is invaluable and really gets you started.
Sometimes you need more guidance than a book can offer you. Watching someone actually doing it and giving a running commentary, explaining little things on the way, is just what I mean by that. Listen to some of the things he says- he tells you about what the scapula does for instance, sometimes it moves depending on the intensity of the muscles. It all adds up, really.
It's up to the OP, but I just thought I'd put in my two pennies. Keep up the good work, oh and I skipped to the end briefly- you'll learn how to position the skeleton in different angles- bending back, bending forward, turning, you know the deal- as he's saying (he even does this early on). Of course, you don't need to rely on just his lessons- do some similar studies, maybe looking at pixelovely as a basis if you can't life draw right now (finding the elements of the skeleton, noticing the curve etc), and start applying what you know observationally as well as from imagination and his lessons. It's okay to make mistakes (that's why we all have sketchbooks), don't feel like you have to be rigid all the time.
Last but not least, less text! You don't need to worry about explaining your pieces too much- just give a brief outline on each, or at the beginning. It's just a time management thing though, prioritising use of time which I thought might be helpful to keep note of. The drawings will do the talking for the most part
Last edited by MightyApplejacks; August 3rd, 2011 at 01:57 PM. Reason: clarifying
Also although you explained it well, for me Riven's teaching style fits my learning style. Books are great, but before I started I remember reading books and being really confused at what they are talking about. Seeing somebody use those techniques in action really helped out, and now when I look back at those same books I actually get it. And the formulas aren't really used once you "master" the idea. It's just to get you comfortable with it, and tbh I really like the idea of hey if you draw a cross representing the height and width of an object, where would the features of that object be relative to the cross. It's a very structured drawing style and I like structure.
Anyway enough text I forgot to update and I'm tired going to bed I'll do it first thing when I wake up.
Uh... I think you completely misunderstood my comment ._.
I was actually directing the first part of my post- regarding Riven's work- to another person, which is why I quoted their text. The second part past 'keep up the good work' was directed to you. Did you not notice I was all for Riven's work? ^^;
Also, read again what I said about the text- like I said, it's a time management thing. You don't need to do a lot of explaining (I did that early on, it was rather laborious) when your drawing effort does most of the talking. It's just a matter of using 'ellipsis' to trim things down and make things easier for yourself. C:
It was just a suggestion anyhow, no matter.
And when I said you don't need to read it, I didn't mean that in a negative way like "man if you don't wanna read it then just GET OUT", just that it's optional for those who want to, it's not stopping you from scrolling past straight to the pictures. Also time management is cool, but this is just a hobby I am doing for relaxation, so it's not that big of a deal as long as I feel I'm getting results.
I will try to shorten my text, the only reason I type so much is I feel like I want to justify my drawing, or say that I realize X is wrong and it's something I need to work on.
Anyway first drawing is the one I posted earlier, but fixed up a little. I made the rib cage a bit wider, and the pelvis was way off, it looks a lot better now.
Second image is me just messing around with proportions, if I'm going to make a small ribcage by accident, why not make a big one too? After that I suddenly saw the light for drawing the pelvis from the side. Amazing how spending time away from something can yield results.
Third one is the femur study. THe one on the far right is really sketchy and I wasn't focusing on linework there, middle I focused on linework for the pelvis, and went back to sketchy for the femur. For the last one on the left I focused on linework for the pelvis, started going sketchy on the femur but then tried to force myself to make neater lines. This fear of making crappy jerky jagged lines from using my shoulders instead of wrists is still there, but I'm trying hard to beat it out.
Two new drawings, first was more practice with the femur, and while I was doing this I was always thinking of neat linework.
Second was just an exercise I did drawing figures from my mind with all the knowledge I've gained so far. The first one (left) I drew out looked too thin, so I tried to fix that in the second one (right). I think it looks a little better. I might have been better off using some reference photos because drawing at an angle is all about perception.
Ahh double posted.
Hey, you could work on your bone a little bit at the bottom i.e the connection between femur and knee:
I snapshotted around where his pencil is. Notice that when he drew out the boxes at the bottom for the knees, he did a 'curve in' from the knee to the rest of the leg. The leg thickens out a good bit here.
Also you'll want to do some general pose/gesture works to get the hang of balancing your forms and such. The two figures there look like they're leaning back a lott.
(If it helps try and reference photographs of a friend/yourself doing poses from the front, back, side etc, then gradually ones from say, 3/4 angles as you get more confident with the details. Then again you could flick through Pixelovely's gallery for pictures that you can work with.)
Try and mimick the poses of your figures yourself and see if you can work your balance into your drawing from what you feel in your structure.
Hope this helped any!
I like Riven Phoenix's site but I think it's a bit of an overload if your just starting out.
Drawing a billion ribs and little bones is a lot of work when your still struggling with perspective and other fundamentals.
I would recommend starting with a simplified skeleton. think of the ribcage as one big shape and the pelvis as another simple shape. unless a person is ultra skinny you can't count their ribs, so it's less important that you can draw them all in high-def.
You can also use a simpler method to explore different activities like gesture and perspective without causing yourself unnecessary frustration.
I found Bridgman books really helpful because he draws the figure in a blocky way.
Really it's just important that you explore different approaches because you'll find what works for you. I like Bridgman, my friend likes hale, another likes someone else.
There's no right way to learn, so don't feel like you need to learn anatomy first. In college we didn't take anatomy until the second year, first we focused on the basics; perspective, form, gesture.
I hope this helps, I remember how frustrating it was starting out - but you'll get there if you keep on trying