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  1. #1
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    Question alternatives to life drawing?

    hi all,
    been lurking for a while, reading all the great posts on this site.
    I've decided I'd like to get serious about drawing, and my rendering of the human figure sucks so I want to work on it first.

    I can't get to a figure drawing class and it's too hard for me to draw people on the street right now (because they won't stay still long enough).

    But I have some books, by loomis, bridgman, hogarth...
    what else can I do? am I supposed to just do self portraits a bunch of times to practice?


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  3. #2
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    I don't think anything can replace life drawing, but yes, self portraits would help if you're trapped in a box with a mirror or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TTKK View Post
    hi all,
    been lurking for a while, reading all the great posts on this site.
    I've decided I'd like to get serious about drawing, and my rendering of the human figure sucks so I want to work on it first.

    I can't get to a figure drawing class and it's too hard for me to draw people on the street right now (because they won't stay still long enough).
    As someone else said, there's nothing to replace life drawing. Most of the other options should be supplements, ie. photos videos etc...

    If you go about your house, you'll see people also doing things. Have friends pose, yes it may suck but let them know you're trying to get better at drawing, they'll understand. And no, it doesn't have to be nude posing

    You'll find other places than just the street, malls, coffee shops, libraries, people waiting for the bus etc...

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  7. #4
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    If you're just beginning to get serious about drawing I wouldn't recommend jumping into the figure first. Start with simpler subjects...basic primitive forms like cylinders, boxes, spheres, eggs, etc.

    To draw well you need to observe and understand form in space and how light and shadow work. That has nothing to do with the subject, in other words if you can't draw an apple or a pair of shoes well you won't be drawing the figure well either.

    A good book for getting serious about drawing is "Drawing Essentials" by Deborah Rockman...basically college level drawing coursework. Good luck!
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  9. #5
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    To rephrase what others have said- life drawing is not necessarily drawing people. It's drawing real objects that you see in front of you, not from a photo or someone else's artwork: tables, glasses, cups, shoes, bananas, flowers, couches, pillows, lamps, trees, roads, cars, sidewalks, chairs, rooms, your feet & hands, curtains, houses, windowsills, sculptures, phones, radiators, bicycles, cats, dogs, hamsters, clothes, plants, bridges, hallways, etc, etc, etc

    (and people)

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  11. #6
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    thanks for all your responses!

    LukasA: I'm going to a college where no one lives on campus, it's summer time right now, so there's even less people, in my apartment it's basically like a box with a mirror D:
    But I guess I could start doing people again in a couple months when they all come back for fall semester.

    I think maybe I should start a "studies everyday" thread in sketchbooks to have some accountability. Unfortunately they will all be digital, even though I will be doing traditional also, I don't have a camera or scanner x_x

    oh well... gotta get to work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TTKK View Post
    I think maybe I should start a "studies everyday" thread in sketchbooks to have some accountability. Unfortunately they will all be digital, even though I will be doing traditional also, I don't have a camera or scanner x_x
    If you're at a college one of the computer labs or the campus library might have a scanner you can use. It's amazing what colleges stick in a lab and forget to tell people about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    If you're at a college one of the computer labs or the campus library might have a scanner you can use. It's amazing what colleges stick in a lab and forget to tell people about.
    Thanks! but I think I had better not rely on the labs being open at all hours, since it's summer time. I just bought a scanner and a plaster bust... maybe that will solve my lack of models problem for the time being. can't wait till they get here

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    i used to go to pubs and bars during the daytime to draw quite a bit. there's a good mix of people, scenery, and objects, it's not too busy, and people tend to stay in roughly the same position for at least the length of a drink. great practice i think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cro-magnon View Post
    i used to go to pubs and bars during the daytime to draw quite a bit. there's a good mix of people, scenery, and objects, it's not too busy, and people tend to stay in roughly the same position for at least the length of a drink. great practice i think.
    that's a great idea! er, what's the etiquette for that? I've never drawn strangers before, am I supposed to ask permission before I start? lol

    there's a small pub near here but yeah it's small so most likely someone will notice some punk kid trying to draw them surreptitiously in a dark corner >_>

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    Quote Originally Posted by TTKK View Post
    there's a small pub near here but yeah it's small so most likely someone will notice some punk kid trying to draw them surreptitiously in a dark corner >_>
    Then go to a park or beach or anywhere where people might be still for a short while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTKK View Post
    that's a great idea! er, what's the etiquette for that? I've never drawn strangers before, am I supposed to ask permission before I start? lol

    there's a small pub near here but yeah it's small so most likely someone will notice some punk kid trying to draw them surreptitiously in a dark corner >_>
    most of the time, people either don't notice or don't care enough to make it obvious they've noticed. if they do care, most of the time they'll express surprise but not much else. on the offchance they actually talk to you, just tell them what you're doing. i've never asked anyone, and i've never had a negative reaction over like ten years.

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    thanks guys, went to the uni library today to print bargue plates with their nice printers, and found that it was relatively quiet and people sat still for a long time at the computers.
    Pencil mileage ahoy

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    Well, you could allways try a morgue...
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    The unwitting patrons of Starbucks are GREAT fodder for what I call FREE life drawing. (As opposed to the usual $10 you'll pay here in the Seattle area for 3 hours).

    Plus, the lighting is also better, by far, at times.

    And, if the pose sucks, just wait a bit. (Untutored life sessions usually suffer from what dpaint has called "flop poses" and sometimes the lighting of the model kinda sucks).

    But, no, there's no substitute for REALITY.

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