Art: Life Drawing Lessons

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  1. #1
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    Life Drawing Lessons

    Since drawing from life is the key to drawing anything inventive from our imaginations, I thought we should try to collect a bunch of interesting excersizes valuable to learning from life.

    The common question "how do I improve my art?" is often answered by more experienced artists as, "Draw from life!" I've heard this time and time again, but for a long time pondered, how do I gain the most insight from drawing from life? Do I just copy the shapes? Do I go through the painstaking task of making a perspective grid and scaling everything in my vision? What lessons in drawing from life are most valuable to being able to draw from my imagination?

    Since drawing from life is the key to drawing anything inventive from our imaginations, I thought we should try to collect a bunch of interesting excersizes valuable to learning from life.

    I think I should clarify that Drawing From Life doesn't necessarily mean drawing the human figure. Thats what we (or maybe just me) most often see posted as "life drawings". There is much to be learned from other objects I think, which is good since not all of us have access to models.

    So, if you think this might be of some value to you and others, post your thoughts on various activities that might be of use when studying from life!

    Heres a couple off the top of my mind. I should probably practice them more often. :p

    Blind Contour Drawing - This is an excersize which helps with life drawing itself, in that it teaches you to observe more carefully. The idea is that you cant look at your paper while drawing. Draw the object thats in front of you by tracing it with your eyes and moving your hand and pencil in correspondance. Take it slow! Chances are the end result wont look anything like what you've been looking at. Its not ment to be. Its just purely an observational excersize.

    Cross Contour Drawing - This excersize helps in understanding form. Beginners usually only see the outline, or silloheute of the object they're drawing as contours. However, there are many more than whats seen as the difference between the background and the foreground. Cross contour drawing can most closely be related to "feeling" an object with your eyes. When drawing, instead of drawing the outline, imagine your pencil touching the object. The pencil would rise and fall according to the bumps, edges, and curves of the object as you drag it across the middle of the object. This is what you record. If you were to draw your hand, you wouldnt draw the outline of your fingers with this excersize. Rather, you'd draw the "feeling" of the curves coarsing through the middle of the fingers. Draw a contour line going horizontaly across the knuckle. Then draw another going verticlly across the knuckle. Continue doing so until you have what sort of looks like a wireframe mesh from a 3d-model.

    Lets see some more excersizes!

    - loken
    jtriska @ mcleodusa.net
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  3. #2
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    Hmm...

    :crazy: Some of your examples would do good

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  4. #3
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    Thumbs up Good idea!

    Loken - great idea!

    Video/DVD Sketches - switch on any tape or dvd that contains interesting stuff. Once you have found a part that interests you, hit the pause button. With video tapes you now have some 3 to five minutes to sketch what you see. When the tape continues, try to finish be memory. This helped me a lot to jot down shapes really fast.



    Jester
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    Imagination is intelligence having fun!

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    sweet idea jester.

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  6. #5
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    Another excersize is to draw things differently from how you see them. Set up either overhead or 3/4ths lighting on the subject. Keep it constant. I tried this with doing a self portrait. I turned my head to the side, but actually drew it at a 3/4ths quarter view. This forces you to analize the forms of your face and reconstruct them. The lighting helps in this and helps you realize that light does indeed define form.

    - loken
    jtriska @ mcleodusa.net
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