A little help with life drawing

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  1. #1
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    A little help with life drawing

    I having trouble working with all the information I have some of it contradicting that its almost like I am making it harder on myself when going to life drawing.

    Sketchbook here: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...=234403&page=7 you can see I am struggling.

    The main example being "Draw what you see, not what you know/think you see" vs Villpus "Never copy the model."

    It seems like I should be honing my observational skills and trying to be as accurate as I can with shapes and angles and proportions before delving into methods that deal more with abstraction like Vilppu or Hampton or even the Loomis Mannequin. I mean still doing studies at from them at home to start implanting the information but not worry about implementing these methods with the model yet until I can at least draw what I see.

    Is this right or should I just keep doing what I am doing, trying to implement Vilppu's methods? I cant tell whether I am jumping ahead of myself.

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  3. #2
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    I'm at the same place... But after much thought I'm going with Vilppu's method, it seems like it will work out better in the long run.

    Being able to see everything as a 3d shape and understand the space those shapes take up seems a lot more valuable to me then training my brain to flatten objects and copy them the way a camera does.

    "The whole point of practice is to do it until you can do it right." - dpaint

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    I understand your feelings, I am somewhat struggling with hitting the same proportions as the reference myself.

    I am finding however, that the stronger I get at drawing through invention the closer my studies get to looking like duplicates of my reference. but that's just me. I hear people learn differently.

    If you feel like isolating your studies to purely trying to perfect shape copying then try it for a while and see how it helps your constructive studies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saurabhinator View Post
    I am finding however, that the stronger I get at drawing through invention the closer my studies get to looking like duplicates of my reference. but that's just me. I hear people learn differently.
    Opposite of what I would except, its pretty crazy but so be it. I'l try and keep pushing the "drawing through invention" techniques (great way to word it by the way) and just try and battle through the crap drawings.

    Thanks for the input element1988 and Saurabhinator

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    That's a false dichotomy. Being able to accurately reproduce what you see and being able to distill an abstracted form are not opposite skills; they are two sides of the same skill that reinforce each other.

    So practice both at the same time. Draw the model as if you were abstracting its form, while making the abstraction follow what you are seeing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    That's a false dichotomy. Being able to accurately reproduce what you see and being able to distill an abstracted form are not opposite skills; they are two sides of the same skill that reinforce each other.

    So practice both at the same time. Draw the model as if you were abstracting its form, while making the abstraction follow what you are seeing.
    Its not a false dichotomy as I was not suggesting they are mutually exclusive (or at least that isn't my intent.) Obviously you still do need to be accurate with abstraction.

    Its more wondering whether I should be advised to "Just practice drawing what you see the best you can for a while BEFORE delving into the world of using abstractions and drawing through invention." The answers I am getting from everyone though is "No, keep pushing!"

    Thats not to say your advice though isn't still valid and helpful though, I'm just nit picking

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post
    It seems like I should be honing my observational skills and trying to be as accurate as I can with shapes and angles and proportions before delving into methods that deal more with abstraction like Vilppu or Hampton or even the Loomis Mannequin.
    Don't wait: practice both. You could probably spend the rest of your life honing your observational skills, never moving into construction. Also, it may help you to have to courses of action, and when you grow sick of one, move into the other for a while.

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    I have never found learning to draw a step my step system. We learn in different ways and we produce art in different ways. By doing what others have suggested here and trying some of both and some of other things you'll find a direction for yourself for awhile and then find another.

    I guess I'm getting tired of all those places where everyone learns the same step my step methods and it shows in their work.

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    Everyone has been awesome and clear with their help! Thanks a lot guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    Also, it may help you to have to courses of action, and when you grow sick of one, move into the other for a
    while.
    Does "courses of action" mean "plans of attack" here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post
    The main example being "Draw what you see, not what you know/think you see" vs Villpus "Never copy the model."
    Both of those statements are imploring you observe and analyze rather than make rash judgments about what you're seeing. In that sense, they're very related. The first is saying "don't let your notions and concepts prevent you from really looking at what's in front of you", and the second is saying "don't just assume that what you see from your point of view is the whole story".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post

    "Draw what you see, not what you know/think you see" vs Villpus "Never copy the model."
    I think the first concept comes from Betty Edwards' idea of replacing childhood symbol drawings with drawing guided by direct observation.

    I think the second concept is a warning against slavishly focusing on minute detail to the point of being overwhelmed and bogging down.

    Observational drawing, taken to ridiculous extremes, leads to the slow, tedious brute force measuring techniques of the contemporary atelier schools, e.g. Aristides.

    Figure invention, taken to, um, stranger extremes, gives the work of Burne Hogarth.

    Robert Beverly Hale talks at great length about learning to visualize/depict the figure as volumetric solids and learning to build "real" looking anatomy upon these forms.

    I'd say Hale has many of the answers you're looking for!

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  20. #12
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    Thanks Kamber I will check him out

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  21. #13
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    Another thing you can look at my girlfriend taught me is by using a grid system. At first I didn't find it very beneficial but looking at a model through a grid, and having a light grid on the page gets you used to seeing the shapes of a figure rather than the figure themselves, looking at individual squares.

    Of course it works better when your reference is an image but I believe its used by a variety of artists. I doubt I have been much help but its a suggestion, even if you just have an image, draw the grid and look at the shapes in each grid it should help train your eye.

    Best of luck!

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    A lot of the techniques that developed such as shape abstraction, constructive anatomy, etc... are meant to simplify and provide efficiency towards the process of translating form.
    They also help you to understand what you're drawing/painting in a 3D sense, as opposed to literally copying hue/value/chroma without thinking about why.
    When observing life, there's so much information to work with that you cannot possible take in everything. It's always necessary to do a certain amount of editing/simplifying, and a lot of these methods help in that process.


    When working from a model it seems best to balance the methods you know of constructing form with the visual information that you're taking in.
    When working from imagination, you really have nothing to rely on but what you know, it's all about three-dimensional construction.

    .

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