How to approach human anatomy organically?
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Thread: How to approach human anatomy organically?

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    How to approach human anatomy organically?

    Common critique of my human figures is, "It's too linear." "It looks flat." "It looks mechanical." "Not enough movement."

    Even when I'm drawing from a live figure in an animated pose, my work ends up looking like one of those wooden movable anatomy dolls, with much less movement.
    With that being said, what can I change about my approach to human figure drawing to get animated, proportionate, solid figures? Are there any resources that tackle teaching anatomy in a way which might help me? And what are some exercises I can do to improve the weight and realism of my figures? I love figure drawing and I think it's one of the most important things to learn, but I always walk away dissatisfied with how my figures look. I want to get better!!!

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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    If there ain't not pictures, it never happened, hm?

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    Learn to see basic forms in everything you draw. practice drawing those basic forms with shading using a single light source. Once you are comfortable drawing those draw more complex things using what you've learned.

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    You could try doing a lot of gesture drawing, that should help you get more movement and energy into your figures.

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    I agree about gesture drawing (look up Michael Mattesi's books). Also you may need to change the way you go about drawing. I read a great quote recently which compared skilful pencil drawing to judo - consisting of fast, smooth, decisive movements. I used to labour over drawings and concentrate hard on getting every line right, but I realised this slowness contributed to the kind of drawings you described so I'm trying to change that. If you want your drawings to be "alive" then your lines also have to be "alive". Always begin your figure drawings with a line of action then complete the drawing with fast, smooth, complete lines. Don't worry about corrections and mistakes until later.

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    Have you tried quickposes.com?

    They do poses for a maximum of 90 seconds, you have to quickly get the directions of the spine, hips, shoulders and limbs, it really helps you get that fluidity.

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    So I went on posemaniacs and did a few gesture studies, and I tried to be as fluid and non-linear as I could.

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    Critiques?

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    Wasn't your question with your figures? Gesture is well.... ... a gesture. You work up from that. I've seen people with gestures that are scribbly and some that just plop down a few simple lines. People can't tell how your figures are stiff or not stiff etc unless you show the actual figures in question.


    The main thing I see with the gestures is there's just issues in general. Long arm, or uneven footing, things shaped oddly though you don't have to get into detail quickly. Then the movement is a bit weird in some. Since gesture is about the action and movement that's an issue when working up. Though it all depends what you do with it.


    Post some of your actual figures. Come come, don't be shy.

    Last edited by JFierce; November 13th, 2012 at 04:25 PM.
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    Since I'm using a computer at school, I don't have access to my work to post except this figure I did last year. I think it was about a 2 hour study. And I didn't even finish! Ack!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brittneyok View Post
    posemaniacs
    If you're worried about stiff figures, working from Poser renders probably isn't the answer.


    Tristan Elwell
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    dpaint was right, you need to work on your construction. Your figure is stiff and unconvincing because you don't understand how the parts of the body relate to each other internally. You need to learn how to think inside>out, rather than outside>in.


    Tristan Elwell
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    I second the suggestion to gesture. However, a gesture is not just a quick sketch: it starts with the essence of the pose, working inside out...

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    Indeed as Elwell said, please stay far away from posemaniacs. Those models are -not- an accurate portrayal of realistic functioning musculature.

    I remember when I first came across it, I thought it was a super handy tool, so I understand why a lot of artists believe its
    a good thing to study from, but its not. Real people are the best of course, but failing that, even good photos will teach you
    more than what posemaniacs can.

    Posemaniacs models are unbalanced, stiff and the musculature does not behave accordingly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    dpaint was right, you need to work on your construction. Your figure is stiff and unconvincing because you don't understand how the parts of the body relate to each other internally. You need to learn how to think inside>out, rather than outside>in.
    I completely agree. I draw figures as I see them on the surface, without knowing the structure underneath and how it relates to one another. With that being said, what do I do to help my understanding of body "mechanics?" Would studying skeletal and muscular structures be my answer? I know that I need to create a better sense of depth, functionality, and movement, but I'm not sure what techniques or things I should be practicing in order to achieve that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brittneyok View Post
    Since I'm using a computer at school, I don't have access to my work to post except this figure I did last year. I think it was about a 2 hour study. And I didn't even finish! Ack!

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    I'm struggling to get good at figure drawing myself, but I'll share some tidbits I have gleaned with you though based on what you have posted.

    - Always think about where the weight of the body is being supported.
    - Wherever there is a stretch there will usually be a pinch on the opposite side of the body.
    - In standing figures the weight is generally right under the pit of the neck (about where the collar bones meet).
    - When supported by something the parts of the body in contact with it (e.g. chair) will flatten out some where the weight is being supported.

    I'm not sure if you are looking for a crit on what you posted or not. So I'd just suggest building up some reference images of people of different body types sitting, standing etc. and pay attention to the sense of weight, pinch and stretch and the way the body is made up of opposite C curves from head to toe and a little more exaggerated in relaxed positions. If I recall correctly mjranum on deviant art has a pretty nice set of reference photos he posted specifically for people to use as reference.

    http://mjranum-stock.deviantart.com/gallery/ (NSFW, nudity)

    Hope that helped some.

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    Start with dpaints suggestions. Starting with shapes and working up. Draw through things like in dpaints first picture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brittneyok View Post
    Would studying skeletal and muscular structures be my answer? I know that I need to create a better sense of depth, functionality, and movement, but I'm not sure what techniques or things I should be practicing in order to achieve that.
    Yes, exactly. You need to learn to recognize and understand the structures that make up the body to read its form.

    As for the techniques - the same four basics: structural drawing, perspective, lighting and anatomy. Learn to build the form, instead of copying it.

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    You might want to check out Michael Hampton's Figure Drawing : Design and Invention, or some of the other materials available on his site.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brittneyok View Post
    So I went on posemaniacs and did a few gesture studies, and I tried to be as fluid and non-linear as I could.
    i dont think gestures are really about fluidity and non-linearity, eventhough thats how it is descibed most often. imo gestures are about forces, mass vs gravity vs action. there is no artificial routine out there yet that is able to simulate those AND generate a representational rendering.

    it takes very skilled animators (knowledge about the forces of action, mass and gravity), a great and complicated rig with complex weightpainting (how much each bone influences areas on the skin/geometry to deform it) and a VERY dense geometry (amount of points defining a surface). i think posemaniacs is ok for what it claims to be... a quick reference tool for a figure in space, nowhere near an alternative for lifedrawing. just like fastfood is no replacement for a healthy diet.

    rather study well done representational sculptures or 2d-animations... those guys know what theyre doing .

    newest sketchbook
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    "Have only 4 values, but all the edges you want." Glen Orbik
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