Subsitute for studies from a posed model?

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    Subsitute for studies from a posed model?

    I've been sketching people (or at least trying to do it) for the past 6-7 months, only to find out that I can't see the shape of the body underneath the clothes. The only way to fix it it appears to be doing studies from a nude model, but there are no life drawing classes (or workshops, how that's thing is actually called?) in my town. The only facility in Belarus which can be described as a life drawing workshop is the recently opened Modern Arts Centre in Minsk, but there is no information about it besides that it exists, and I live far away from Minsk.

    So, is there any alternative to doing studies from a posed model I can use to improve in figure drawing? The advice from a similar thread from August 2010 doesn't seem to apply to me: I can't afford buying a plaster statue or a bust, sketching myself to learn the musculature doesn't work because I'm too skinny (I'm so skinny I can actually study myself to learn a bit about the skeleton , which is the only good thing about it), and sketching other people doesn't work because I don't understand the shape of the body underneath the clothes.

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    Got a significant other that would be willing to pose for you?

    Even though you feel you are too thin, I would still recommend using yourself as a model. A working body is a working body. Any time you draw a real human body, no matter the size or shape, you will be doing yourself a great favour and honing your skills.

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    It's easier in the summer when people are wearing less clothes. That and studying anatomy books so even when you can't see all the details, you can remember what's going on underneath the clothes.

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    Just draw from photos. It's not as beneficial as life drawings, but honestly, it can still get you a long ways. And of course study from Loomis or Vilppu or whomever you choose as well.

    Also, although you can't learn detailed anatomy from people out in the street, you can certainly learn gesture, so don't give up on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liffey View Post
    Just draw from photos. It's not as beneficial as life drawings, but honestly, it can still get you a long ways.
    From what I have heard before, drawing from photos when you are learning anatomy is very bad and should be avoided because you can't see the forms of the body when drawing from a photo, and the camera lens distorts things.
    I do it anyway because that's the closest thing to nude figure drawing I have right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guardian G.I. View Post
    From what I have heard before, drawing from photos when you are learning anatomy is very bad and should be avoided because you can't see the forms of the body when drawing from a photo, and the camera lens distorts things.
    Well, learn anatomy additionally.
    It helps me LOADS. Use Rubins for the muscles, learn them, combine with Bridgman or whoever you find more suitable, AND do studies from photos.
    Look at the sketchbook section- there are so many people doing good(!) studies from photos.

    If you can afford it, get some of the downloads here http://theartdepartment.org/store
    on lighting in photography, anatomy for artists, and form. Also, colour theory by Jason Manley covers ALOT of the issues with photos, and I have found it very useful- for example he goes on to explain that black shadows, often seen in photos and movies, rarely exist in nature and that midtones are often sacrificed.

    James Gurney also discusses the issue of photos as reference in his book "Imaginative Realism", with some great examples of his work and where he had to be careful.

    The more you know about photography, the better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guardian G.I. View Post
    From what I have heard before, drawing from photos when you are learning anatomy is very bad and should be avoided because you can't see the forms of the body when drawing from a photo, and the camera lens distorts things.
    I do it anyway because that's the closest thing to nude figure drawing I have right now.
    Lens distortion generally is not significant for beginners to worry about. And you can still see form in a photo. Maybe not as intimately as in real life, but it's still there. That's why there are a wide range of values on a single figure.

    Obviously you want to study a variety of sources so you can get as fully formed of a grasp of human form as you can.

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    Get some anatomy books and keep drawing from life. Ask your mates to pose, even for minute or two, draw people in tram/bus, your family when they're watching tv, reading, sleeping etc... You need more practice. Drawing from photos is highly not recommended. Hundreds years ago there were no photos and artists still managed to do amazing shit. Conversion from 3D to 2D is bigger challenge than from 2D to 2D, I don't think photo copying will get You anywhere. Also recommending you to do some masterstudy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guardian G.I. View Post
    From what I have heard before, drawing from photos when you are learning anatomy is very bad and should be avoided because you can't see the forms of the body when drawing from a photo, and the camera lens distorts things.
    I do it anyway because that's the closest thing to nude figure drawing I have right now.
    It's not "very bad" and it's better than nothing.
    In the summer, though, see if you can hang out at the beach or a swimming pool.

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    If you are drawing nudes from photos, then try to use well lit ones with a clear light source - it will help you distinguish the form more easily. Heavy shadows and multiple light sources are not good if you are drawing them as a learning exercise.

    You can find a number of good stock photos on deviantart (and many many more bad ones sadly). You could do a lot worse than taking a look at http://mjranum-stock.deviantart.com though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hu-ha View Post
    Get some anatomy books and keep drawing from life. Ask your mates to pose, even for minute or two, draw people in tram/bus, your family when they're watching tv, reading, sleeping etc... You need more practice.
    That's what I'm mostly trying to do, thanks for reminding me about it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by hu-ha View Post
    Drawing from photos is highly not recommended. Hundreds years ago there were no photos and artists still managed to do amazing shit. Conversion from 3D to 2D is bigger challenge than from 2D to 2D, I don't think photo copying will get You anywhere. Also recommending you to do some masterstudy.
    I understand why blindly copying photos is a bad thing, learned it the hard way.
    And yeah, master studies, never thought about those.

    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    It's not "very bad" and it's better than nothing.
    In the summer, though, see if you can hang out at the beach or a swimming pool.
    Sketching people at the beach is a nice idea, actually. Too bad that my parents are against any sketching trips outdoors, but I'll try to circumvent that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris-Garrett View Post
    If you are drawing nudes from photos, then try to use well lit ones with a clear light source - it will help you distinguish the form more easily. Heavy shadows and multiple light sources are not good if you are drawing them as a learning exercise.

    You can find a number of good stock photos on deviantart (and many many more bad ones sadly). You could do a lot worse than taking a look at http://mjranum-stock.deviantart.com though.
    Marcus Ranum's stock photos are very good, too bad that most of them are "restricted to deviants 18 and older". Logging out might work though. It doesn't work. Ranum's personal website redirects to his deviantart gallery. Well, I'll get the photos from pixelovely.com or lovecastle.org.


    Thanks for the advice, everyone! Now I have some clear tasks to work on.

    Last edited by Guardian G.I.; March 18th, 2012 at 05:05 PM.
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    There's nothing wrong with using photos as long as it's not all you do.


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    Try Posemaniacs http://www.posemaniacs.com/

    Another person was asking a similar question and they found it very helpful, could be worth it for you to check it out. It's a pretty cool resource with the rotatable 3D models and parts of the body, hands, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by landylachs View Post
    Try Posemaniacs http://www.posemaniacs.com/

    Another person was asking a similar question and they found it very helpful, could be worth it for you to check it out. It's a pretty cool resource with the rotatable 3D models and parts of the body, hands, etc.
    If you're trying to learn real anatomy and how to draw real people, don't use posemaniacs... Especially not if you're trying to learn muscles.

    Unless you want the digital equivalent of those useless little wooden mannequins...

    I find the Stephen Peck "Atlas of Human Anatomy" to be pretty good for learning about muscles... Very clear and thorough but not expensive.

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    Recent posemaniacs discussion here: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=238833


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    Thanks for the link Elwell, I wasn't aware there was already a discussion about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    If you're trying to learn real anatomy and how to draw real people, don't use posemaniacs... Especially not if you're trying to learn muscles.
    It's a better resource for those with a grasp of basic anatomy and looking for pose inspirations or to do some gesture studies. You wouldn't do a portfolio figure drawing from it of course, and it wouldn't be the only resource you look at. Possibly I didn't read the original post thoroughly and thought he was looking mainly for poses, like figurative gestures, and not anatomical study.

    I haven't spent much time on the website myself, only have seen it being recommended everywhere (I thought I first saw it recommended through this site) and people being very satisfied with it. The rotating models are a neat feature, and if you are aware of the anatomical inaccuracies it is useful to be able to see a pose or object from different or extreme angles rather than a single one from a photo.

    Real people are ideal of course .. I'm looking forward to summer when the layers will come off and it will be easier to see people's bones and muscles on the subway. There isn't any way to type that without sounding creepy... Then again, there are nice clothes in winter.

    Last edited by landylachs; March 18th, 2012 at 07:56 PM. Reason: added text
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    Quote Originally Posted by landylachs View Post
    Thanks for the link Elwell, I wasn't aware there was already a discussion about it.

    It's a better resource for those with a grasp of basic anatomy and looking for pose inspirations or to do some gesture studies. You wouldn't do a portfolio figure drawing from it of course, and it wouldn't be the only resource you look at. Possibly I didn't read the original post thoroughly and thought he was looking mainly for poses, like figurative gestures, and not anatomical study.
    But if the anatomy is fundamentally wrong, the pose/gesture would be untrue compared to a photo of someone real, who has real bones structure and weight. Why compromise? Especially when it comes to trying to grasp basic anatomy. Youtube people doing things if you need a particular gesture you're not finding in photos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnarl View Post
    But if the anatomy is fundamentally wrong, the pose/gesture would be untrue compared to a photo of someone real, who has real bones structure and weight. Why compromise? Especially when it comes to trying to grasp basic anatomy. Youtube people doing things if you need a particular gesture you're not finding in photos.
    As I said in my post, it is a better resource for those already with a grasp on anatomy and looking for interesting pose ideas. I agree that looking at a video is more useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by landylachs View Post
    I agree that looking at a video is more useful.
    Then why would you use posemaniacs? Gestures are inevitably anatomical studies, because they are based of an anatomy.

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    I already said I possibly misread the OP and thought he was looking for pose ideas and not sources to study anatomy from.

    Quote Originally Posted by gnarl View Post
    But if the anatomy is fundamentally wrong, the pose/gesture would be untrue compared to a photo of someone real, who has real bones structure and weight.
    By that logic, the OP shouldn't study from photographs, since photographic (as well as video) lenses can distort quite a lot. And to someone who hasn't studied from a live model, they usually can't even tell there is distortion and would be learning incorrect information.

    Quote Originally Posted by gnarl View Post
    Then why would you use posemaniacs? Gestures are inevitably anatomical studies, because they are based of an anatomy.
    Because that is not what I said. I wasn't talking about anatomy studies, but ideas for poses, as I already mentioned. I wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by landylachs View Post
    it is a better resource for those already with a grasp on anatomy and looking for interesting pose ideas
    There is a difference between looking for an idea for a pose (and then constructing the pose yourself, using your knowledge of anatomy and/or additional references) versus using it to study anatomy, which I wouldn't advise anyone to study from a 3D computer generated model, I would think this would already be obvious.

    Additionally, again as I said in my post (the part you didn't quote):

    Quote Originally Posted by landylachs View Post
    I haven't spent much time on the website myself, only have seen it being recommended everywhere (I thought I first saw it recommended through this site) and people being very satisfied with it. The rotating models are a neat feature, and if you are aware of the anatomical inaccuracies it is useful to be able to see a pose or object from different or extreme angles rather than a single one from a photo.
    It is not like I am telling the original poster "GO TO POSEMANIACS AND DRAW ONLY FROM THEM DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT LOOKING AT A REAL PERSON". I was merely giving a suggestion I have seen others give and that other people have found helpful, as one resource to consider out of many. It is helpful to know others recommend against using the website and the OP is welcome to ignore my suggestion.

    Gnarl, please read my posts more carefully before replying as no one likes to repeat themselves and I'm sure it is boring for other people to read, and doesn't add any value to the OP at all.

    Last edited by landylachs; March 18th, 2012 at 08:54 PM. Reason: text
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    Quote Originally Posted by landylachs View Post
    Because that is not what I said. I wasn't talking about anatomy studies, as I already mentioned. I wrote:



    There is a difference between looking for an idea for a pose (and then constructing the pose yourself, using your knowledge of anatomy and/or additional references) versus doing a gesture drawing of it.

    Additionally, again as I said in my post (the part you didn't quote):



    It is not like I am telling the original poster "GO TO POSEMANIACS AND DRAW ONLY FROM THEM DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT LOOKING AT A REAL PERSON". I was merely giving a suggestion I have seen others give and that other people have found helpful, as one resource to consider out of many. It is helpful to know others recommend against using the website and the OP is welcome to ignore my suggestion.

    Gnarl, please read my posts more carefully before replying as no one likes to repeat themselves and I'm sure it is boring for other people to read, and doesn't add any value to the OP at all.
    If you're looking for ideas for poses, why not base it off a good idea, something with some kind of life. All I'm saying is photos of real people are much more informative than posemainiacs regardless if you can turn the fake thing around 360 degrees. Posemainiacs is lifeless. Better yet, all you need is a camera and you can take a photo of yourself in any position you want with a little rigging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnarl View Post
    If you're looking for ideas for poses, why not base it off a good idea, something with some kind of life. All I'm saying is photos of real people are much more informative than posemainiacs regardless if you can turn the fake thing around 360 degrees. Posemainiacs is lifeless. Better yet, all you need is a camera and you can take a photo of yourself in any position you want with a little rigging.
    All good points and the OP is welcome to do that. People learn differently. I don't personally find posemaniacs helpful, hence why I haven't used it, but have come across people who do find it helpful. I don't personally find learning the figure from photographs to be helpful, but many people learn wonderfully from it. Viewing videos and seeing the motion and action communicates so much more information than from a still, but still personally don't find it helpful to use a video to actually study the figure. Real life is best, and looking at real people in everyday life or myself in a mirror the most helpful, even if you can't have a stranger pose, there is always something to learn from a real person. Even with clothes you should still be able to see the structure for people (unless you live in an exceeding cold climate, but even then, people would dress less indoors, but maybe you are around people who like to dress in loose clothing). I briefly tried learning the figure from photographs and it really wasn't effective - looking at real life, even if it was just me in the mirror or strangers, helped far more.

    Photos of the figure are great references to see how something works, but I don't think drawing from photographs is a great way to learn anatomy; unless you are already pretty good with it and know a bit about the underlying structure, there is the risk you will just be copying and not understanding what you're drawing, and that doesn't help you when you want to imagine your own poses down the line. But just because I don't personally find something helpful doesn't mean it won't be helpful to someone else.

    Again I don't use the site but I thought, in theory, someone uses posemaniacs to view a pose from different angles to get a rough sense of how the pose is put together, and then tries to draw and construct that pose themself from imagination, using their knowledge of anatomy - not copying from the posemaniacs pose. That sounds like it'd be a helpful exercise. I thought that was how people were supposed to use the site, and the point of being able to rotate everything in 3D space. Who would want to draw straight-up copies of 3D models? That's just silly!

    Last edited by landylachs; March 19th, 2012 at 12:31 AM. Reason: typo & added some info
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    get a girl friend, seriously

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