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  1. #1
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    Help me understand please.

    Could someone help me out here? I just have a question thats been in my head for awhile now and I was hoping I could get it answered here. I've been studying anatomy for awhile, but I don't know exactly what to do with it. I still can't just draw people/characters of the top of my head even with some reference. It just looks like I'm copying what I see on the paper with some minor differences of my own. How do I get anywhere near sketches like this? I know a couple of these are developed on the computer, but for the mot part the actual sketch/drawing stage is done traditionally; the way I prefer. I feel I'm using my books or practice time in a non productive way for learning and need help.

    --The attachments are just general images from my concept reference folder, but I'm trying to relay the idea without posting a bunch of pictures. If I did something wrong with the pics please let me know.

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  3. #2
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    Can you post some of your drawings of the human figure? Anyways there's a lot of things that go into drawing a good character, not just studying anatomy. Once you know the fundamentals of form and perspective, you can use those tools to help you make better drawings. As you are still a beginner you should draw the basic forms first and focus on anatomical details later. Get proficient with stick figures, or mannequins, and building basic forms on those. Perspective is important too, as you always need to consider what the viewpoint(eye-level) of the drawing is and where parallel features converge to.

    A good way for using reference is to first draw the conception, or thumbnails, of what it is you want to draw. After, use reference to help you to construct the figure; but you absolutely have to consider the eye-level of the reference and the eye-level of what it is you want to draw. You need to adjust your thinking in order to use the reference without ending up with a perspective-incorrect drawing.

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  4. #3
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    Here is what's in my sketchbook that I've been doing with basic anatomy so far.

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    You have a really good start, keep doing the anatomy studies but also ones from your imagination, the fix them by looking at reference.
    You just need to remember that it takes a long time. A very long time, to get really good.

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    Also don't forget to try to apply some observation from life, even something as simple as looking in the mirror and sketching what you see. Helps to sort of associate what all these building blocks actually form.

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    Ah, I remember feeling like this. This question plagued me for a loooong time, and its only in the last year or so that I get it. you need to remember not to just copy, but build the figures you're studying from the ground up. It looks like you're doing some studies from Bridgman/ Hampton/ Ron Lemen type of books, and those are very important. But I spent a long time copying them over and over without feeling like I was learning anything. It wasn't until it clicked that you can't just copy, but build and correct. For example, when doing your torso studies, instead of just copying what you see, build from the inside out. Start with a gesture, then build solid shapes on top of that. Make sure your shapes are in correct perspective in relation to your reference (that the cube/cylinder that you're using for the ribcage isn't leaning in a way that goes against the way your reference is leaning for example). Once you have that, then build the anatomy on top of your shapes, using shapes that are similar to the muscles you're seeing, keeping THOSE shapes in correct perspective with the bigger shapes you started with.

    The point i'm trying to make is, you're not just trying to end up with a exact copy of what you're seeing, but rather you're working on A PROCESS for approaching the subject you're studying, so you can use that approach to recreate that subject. Getting an exact copy IS important, but only as a way to check to make sure your process of gesture/structure/shape/anatomy is effective and correct. If you are already doing everything I mentioned so far, than I apologize for the needless rant, because you're doing it right, and you only have to repeat the process several hundred times with all kinds of subjects and reference for it to finally "click." Either way, good luck!!

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    @ silentjosh847 good advice'

    Learning anatomy: Start with the bones. Learn how the muscles attach to bones. Add that information to shapes and volumes and then you can start creating believable figures from your imagination.

    Bridgman/ Hampton are good books to study from. I would also add Artistic Anatomy by Dr. Paul Richer, Robert Beverly Hale or something similar.

    and of course draw from life.

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    One thing to keep in mind is that to transition to drawing people you need to start to concentrate more on the whole than on the parts. Its all great and useful doing the muscles on their own and getting into that detail but always go back to the whole with gesture drawing and construction and drawing from life. Its the whole that is important.

    You will develop your own simple lay-in/lay-ins for the character that shows the whole character posed communicated what ever it is you want to communicate and then you can then you can add that muscle detail and all the extra cool stuff afterwards. Hampton and Bridgman stress this. Also if you check out the David Finch DVDs he talks about that specifically also.

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  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirly View Post
    One thing to keep in mind is that to transition to drawing people you need to start to concentrate more on the whole than on the parts. Its all great and useful doing the muscles on their own and getting into that detail but always go back to the whole with gesture drawing and construction and drawing from life. Its the whole that is important.
    This. I fell into the trap of focusing on just the body parts and my figures ended up looking disjointed. I've slowly learned that art is all about the 'whole' so to speak. it's very liberating when you realize this.

    It looks to me like you are using the Hampton book (correct me if I'm wrong), to me he explains putting the figure together really well. I studied the book non-stop for a year and I still struggle, it takes time. Probably not as long as it takes me - I'm slow on the uptake . Try doing what I do to practice; grab some ref (photos or a willing victim to sit for you), grab the book and start drawing whilst actively thinking about what you've learned and trying to apply it to the figure in front of you. Refer to the book when you come on a part you are stuck on. To me this helps cement what I have learned into my brain way more than simple repetition. The other thing you could try is to get a photo, drag it into Photoshop or whatever, add a new layer of white, drop the transparency so you can see a toned down version of the photo underneath and finally on a new layer see if you can 'build' the skeleton or simple construction shapes on top. If that makes any sense! Imagine it like an x-ray.

    Hope that helps some.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceJelly View Post
    This. I fell into the trap of focusing on just the body parts and my figures ended up looking disjointed. I've slowly learned that art is all about the 'whole' so to speak. it's very liberating when you realize this.

    It looks to me like you are using the Hampton book (correct me if I'm wrong), to me he explains putting the figure together really well. I studied the book non-stop for a year and I still struggle, it takes time. Probably not as long as it takes me - I'm slow on the uptake . Try doing what I do to practice; grab some ref (photos or a willing victim to sit for you), grab the book and start drawing whilst actively thinking about what you've learned and trying to apply it to the figure in front of you. Refer to the book when you come on a part you are stuck on. To me this helps cement what I have learned into my brain way more than simple repetition. The other thing you could try is to get a photo, drag it into Photoshop or whatever, add a new layer of white, drop the transparency so you can see a toned down version of the photo underneath and finally on a new layer see if you can 'build' the skeleton or simple construction shapes on top. If that makes any sense! Imagine it like an x-ray.

    Hope that helps some.
    Sorry, for the late reply, but I just got ahold of my internet again. Yes, I am using Hampton's book. I find it helps me the best from what I have, but I haven't read all of Bridgeman either. Just the orange book. Now the way you practice, is it basically life drawing in a whole. I started to see what you all meant about focusing on one part and getting chopped off body parts, so I was thinking I would use one of those figure books with the real models in them and draw from that or the internet. Would this also work the way you practice?

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  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iso View Post
    I started to see what you all meant about focusing on one part and getting chopped off body parts, so I was thinking I would use one of those figure books with the real models in them and draw from that or the internet. Would this also work the way you practice?
    Yeah it would be OK. I do this when I can't grab a real person to draw from and I'm too skint for life drawing sessions (which is depressingly often these days). Drawing from life is best but not always practical so books and the internet can substitute. Try a website called Quickposes, it's pretty cool and you can set it so it changes the images displayed after a predetermined time.

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