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    Exclamation Riven Phoenix tutorials?

    Hello there friend.

    I was browsing the web for anatomy tutorials an i stumbled upon Riven Phoenix, and was wondering what you all thought of his methods. I was thinking of buying his course over here http://www.alienthink.com/ so if any of you know about him tell me is his tutorials worth it? it looks highly in depth. if not... why


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    well I caved and got the downloads. there is a TON of material here very worth the money. I am not even close to done, there are hundreds of tutorials from this guy for cheap $$$. 5/5
    When the world laughs at you..CUT IT'S FU#!&*% HEAD OFF! HA HA HA HA HA!

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    Be warned that while there is a lot of material, his approach is extremely formulaic. You'd be better off with an anatomy textbook and life drawing.

    I had watched some samples, and I was not impressed at all. For example, in a video on muscles of the shin, he spent three quarters of the time meticulously drawing the bones of the shin and foot all over again, then rushing over the muscles. Worse, he left some muscles incomplete, and I think he added a nonexistent one. That was enough to kill any credibility.

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    OMG - that's fucking abominable... I mean seriously.

    There's people on here who could do a better job FROM IMAGINATION - let alone drawing from reference???

    Hell even I could probably do a better job from imagination... As Benedikt said - he has no business charging money for figure drawing courses but alas you've already bought them all.

    Just get hold of Loomis' books - in fact I think they are free to download these days.

    Anyone know who did this? Some Russian fella. Now THIS I want to learn from.

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    This is whasome people get confused with. They think producing amazing artwork automatically makes you a good teacher, and you can easily convey ideas. Some of the best painters, draftsmen etc are lousy teachers. Besides being able to paint and draw to an amazing level does not mean your teachings are any less valid. Can this guy convey his ideas so that even a noob with very little experience can understand what he is saying? If he can then his videos and teachings out weighs anyone that says go get a loomis book. Yes Loomis book are good, but alot of it is very hard to read and properly understand. If this guy has his own method of conveying what he knows, and is able in turn to relate that to people so that it makes sense to them, then I dont understand what the harm is.

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    I bought the 'structure of man' dvd a while ago and turned if off after 3 lessons. Have never went back to it since, just wasn't for me. Think it's important to find many sources from different artists you like, and learn something from each one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schnaps View Post
    This is whasome people get confused with. They think producing amazing artwork automatically makes you a good teacher, and you can easily convey ideas. Some of the best painters, draftsmen etc are lousy teachers. Besides being able to paint and draw to an amazing level does not mean your teachings are any less valid. Can this guy convey his ideas so that even a noob with very little experience can understand what he is saying? If he can then his videos and teachings out weighs anyone that says go get a loomis book. Yes Loomis book are good, but alot of it is very hard to read and properly understand. If this guy has his own method of conveying what he knows, and is able in turn to relate that to people so that it makes sense to them, then I dont understand what the harm is.
    Yes that is the reasonable and mature attitude to take with things. I'll admit I'm a little ashamed of my reaction!

    You are absolutely right - when I was learning to snowboard it just ground my teeth when all the French instructors would just shout 'bend zee knees!'

    They were amazing snowboarders themselves but bloody useless teachers. Everyone needs someone to inspire them and perhaps Benedikt has simply outgrown that level. I wouldn't want to comment about my own level but again perhaps I'm just looking to different things but it's certainly the case that as you get better or simply evolve, you'll want different things from different teachers.

    Thanks for the post!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schnaps View Post
    This is whasome people get confused with. They think producing amazing artwork automatically makes you a good teacher, and you can easily convey ideas. Some of the best painters, draftsmen etc are lousy teachers. Besides being able to paint and draw to an amazing level does not mean your teachings are any less valid. Can this guy convey his ideas so that even a noob with very little experience can understand what he is saying? If he can then his videos and teachings out weighs anyone that says go get a loomis book. Yes Loomis book are good, but alot of it is very hard to read and properly understand. If this guy has his own method of conveying what he knows, and is able in turn to relate that to people so that it makes sense to them, then I dont understand what the harm is.
    Let me quote Kev on this, I think he absolutely nailed it:

    Kev ferrara:

    An art teacher who can't make excellent art himself is essentially a fan of art. The art fan, if he has ambitions to being an actual artist, may also be a fan of good artists, art books, and/or art teaching. And such a teacher may be able to point the student in the direction of good art teaching. But if some book or reference source contains the teaching, why is the teacher there? To point the student toward the good info? Isn't that what a good librarian should be able to do? (Unless what we are talking about as "a good teacher" is a cheerleader-for-hire?)

    The problem with having no ability to practice what one teaches, is not being able to tell if what you are saying is true as engineering, or sufficiently informative to be used to engineer pictures.

    Such a non-practicing teacher can say a host of wise things, deep things, even mind-blowing things, but what connects those things to one another as valuable information is their practical bearing, not how insightful they are as individual aesthetic notions. It is exactly the sense of the relative practical bearing of any one tidbit of information (with respect to the total knowledge, unified to purpose, needed to engineer pictures) that is usually absent in art-fan type teachers.

    To presume that any particular art fan, erudite and passionate though they may be, actually has a grasp of "the fundamental truths" of the science of art (Kustwissenschaft, it was once known as, when art was in its heyday circa 1900) is rather too strong a conviction to hold on faith. Which is just why seeing the proof-of-understanding in actual work is of paramount importance.

    Read more: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...#ixzz2vsc7xZIV
    If you can't walk the talk, you're little to no use as a teacher.
    Last edited by Benedikt; March 13th, 2014 at 05:35 PM.

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    I think it depends on where you are in the learning process. When you're just beginning, I feel like you need instruction to be delivered in the most effective way possible, because you're pretty much lost all the time. I think this is where the teacher-type is most important because the details don't really matter yet - all that matters is that the core concepts are conveyed in a way that the student can understand. An art-fan would be fine for this if they've read enough of the good literature to be able to distill it and teach it properly.
    Once you've improved and read the literature yourself, you don't really need a teacher to tell you the steps anymore, because you already know the steps. What you need is someone who has the knowledge and the eye to see where you're going wrong and why and give you brilliant insights. Even if they babble that information incoherently, you can still probably pick out some good stuff. But like the 'bend ze knees!' guys, that stuff is useless to a beginner.

    Ideally, you get someone who's a great teacher and a great artist. But you'll probably pay a lot even if you manage to find one. Easier to pick and chose according to your needs.

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    I just read that link - seems like this is a bi-monthly discussion!

    I think the answer is blindingly simple.

    You need to find people to teach you things YOU don't already know! ERGO: No point trying to learn from people who have nothing to teach you!

    So... in the case of the OP. Benedikt could probably teach him a thing or two! So for Benedikt, this guy's a joke.

    In fact, anyone who's able to produce better work than this guy, has nothing to learn from him. He might have some really cool techniques and ideas, but if my work is already better than him doing things the way that I am - what's the point? So... It all depends on where you are in your art journey and what YOU need to learn. Maybe for some people who are literally just starting out, loomis, bridgeman etc... are just going right over their heads.

    To go back to my snowboarding analogy, it's like trying to learn snowboarding from Shaun White. What's the point if you can't even slide down a green slope without falling over 10 times? In fact someone like Shaun White would only be worthwhile to someone who's basically already a master in his/her own right.

    This isn't the same as critique btw - any tom dick and harry can see if something looks wrong - although they may not be able to articulate why and certainly the more knowledgeable and capable the person giving the critique, the more likely that critique is going to be helpful. So in general I take all critiques on the chin, but if someone is going to charge me to learn something from them, I shouldn't be able to produce better work than them... I think that much is obvious!

    K

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh damn - I was writing that - and dahlia just pretty much said it all and much shorter than me! DUH!
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    That's faulty logic in my eyes. I speak a little french- that, by defintion, makes me a "better" french speaker than someone who doesn't speak french at all (naturally). Yet it'd be absolutely ludicrous for me to claim that I could be a successful french teacher, in fact I'd be nothing more than a fraud if I did, albeit maybe a well-intentioned one.

    I have no idea why this notion of the "motivational teacher" who has no skill and still does some "good" is so accepted in art. I don't know any other field where such a ridiculous notion is entertained. Have you ever met a music teacher who could barely play scales on his instrument and yet charged for "lessons"? It's an absurd notion.

    People who don't have a high degree of skill and who motivate others- more in the role of a guide- are certainly good people, and their contributions do matter to many. But guidance isn't what those people we're talking about are selling, what they pretend to be selling is lessons/teaching. And that's just wrong.

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    It seems like you're more upset by what the guy is purporting to do? I get that. You see it as false advertising?

    I merely go by a live and let live approach - if people feel they can learn something from him because when they look at his work they go waaaaw! Fair play to the man. As far as they are concerned he's the shizniz.

    If what you're saying is that there should be a 'minimum standard' before someone should have the brass balls to charge for teaching - well, there's always someone better out there and besides - who's going to set that standard? The Art Police? (I feel like a sketch coming along ) We all outgrow our teachers (or should aim to do so). It's a nice idea that only qualified people should teach, but it's not how our world works.

    Let's take the example of people earning money through their art. As I think I've said before there's always jokers willing to pay other jokers for joke work - it might gall the likes of you and me to see deviant artists get commissions to basically trace manga characters but that's just life. In the same vein there's always going to be people like this fella who'll have their students.

    Anyhow I think the OPer has his answer - people on here think it's a waste of money! I agree with that. I'm just trying to figure out if it's immoral or whether we just live in an immoral world
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    I'm merely stating my personal opinion here. To somehow objectively quantify when a teacher starts to be competent enough to actually teach and then on top of that enforce that standard is impossible due to the reasons you have named.

    In the end it is certainly true that anyone needs to decide for themselves who they're going to pay for instructional material, my issue with websites like these is just that the work is so far removed from what teachers of figurative art like Vilppu or Proko (most of Stan's stuff is fee, too!) have to offer that anyone choosing this over them cannot possibly have made an informed decision and is most likely being hoodwinked by all the little gold banners and the fancy advertising texts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovingit View Post
    To go back to my snowboarding analogy, it's like trying to learn snowboarding from Shaun White. What's the point if you can't even slide down a green slope without falling over 10 times? In fact someone like Shaun White would only be worthwhile to someone who's basically already a master in his/her own right.
    Sorry, that's nonsense. No matter what your own level is, you should learn from the best, not from the mediocre or the half-skilled.

    So what if you cannot catch every advanced trick the master does when you are a beginner? There is plenty to learn from a master on every level, from basic to arcane. It's not as if they transcend to some place where the basics of the trade no longer apply! You can still have the basics, and a glimpse of the arcane. But when you learn from a beginner, you don't have a hope of anything arcane, and often don't even get all the basics which is much worse.

    People at your own level or a little above are good to train with, but to learn from, a master is absolutely better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovingit View Post
    Just get hold of Loomis' books - in fact I think they are free to download these days.
    In fact, I don't think so: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=251805
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    hehe, alright alright!

    I'm not suggesting you learn from your peers - although this is exactly what happens in the critique section on here. I have learnt a lot and not always from people that I would consider 'more advanced' than myself! Certainly there's very few people who critique on there who would be master level (no offense to anyone but the majority of people on there appear to be students like myself - I CAN obviously think of one or two people that give critiques on there that I would happily sit down and learn from!).

    I guess what I'm trying to be is pragmatic about things. Of course what you say is logical - bur rarely practicable. As I said, if someone looks at the work from the OP and goes - that's amazing - then he or she will find that teacher perfect for their level. There's loads of people who post comments like 'totally amazing' on artwork that I personally find ridiculous... So the first part of your logic dictates that someone is able to spot the master from the beginner. Obviously that depends on your personal level.

    The fact is that this graduation from junior teacher to more advanced teacher is a time honoured technique that works excellently in many fields. I accept that logic should dictate that the best teaching comes from the most advanced - alas there are several reasons why this doesn't work very often in the real world.

    For instance, in martial arts you learn basic stuff from junior teachers - then when you have gotten that into your brain, you learn more advanced stuff from more advanced teachers. Firstly the advanced teachers perhaps don't have the time to teach basics. So they themselves have devised this hierarchy. I'll accept that as a flaw to the idea.

    BUT even if you DO happen to find an advanced teacher who's happy to teach you basics, secondly and more importantly, that master usually lacks the ability to relate to the beginner or very junior student... I've been taught basic skills by advanced people before and it's the rare 'advanced' teacher who has the patience and understanding to teach at that level. They have simply moved on so far from those first steps, that they can no longer relate to the person who can't stand up straight in their snowboard or in the case of art - can't draw a circle or a square properly. Being able to relate to your student is one of the most important aspects of teaching.

    So yes - in principle the idea that one should find the most advanced teacher is great. If you COULD find a master who had the time, patience, articulation, understanding to teach you - of course one should go for that, but in my experience, human nature rarely connects the two together.

    At the end of the day we could argue about this round and round but accept your POV and am happy to disagree. As I mentioned before, I'm a live and let live kinda guy. There's a place for all levels of teacher and all kinds of teaching. As the Dalai Lama says - it is natural that there are so many different religions because there are so many different kinds of people. I'm not about to hammer down an ideal of any sort. If you think the OP links to someone you think can help you - go right ahead. If you don't think they can help you - well don't bother! Easy as pie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    Whoops - I didn't realise. I bought a copy but I read someone banging on about 50 year copyright elapsing or something. I admit to being no expert! He deserves his cash - is he still alive???
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovingit View Post
    Whoops - I didn't realise. I bought a copy but I read someone banging on about 50 year copyright elapsing or something. I admit to being no expert! He deserves his cash - is he still alive???
    I am no expert on copyright, but I believe US copyrights last a lot longer than 50 years. Loomis left the game in 1959, so I'm afraid he will not benefit from anyone buying his reprints. Anyways, for too many years people had to do with crappy scans, because the real thing was no longer available, the recent edition is nice and affordable, so I believe people should support the new publishers...
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    Ok, I'm gonna weigh-in on this one. I personally think that everyone has something you can learn from... if you take the time to figure out what that is. I know that sounds very general, but I believe it can even be applied specifically to art. People buy what they think they can use. If they buy art instruction and they determine that it is useless to them -- then they learn to shop for better art instruction (that is an important lesson in itself).


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    Quote Originally Posted by lovingit View Post
    I guess what I'm trying to be is pragmatic about things. Of course what you say is logical - bur rarely practicable.
    What's impractical about choosing a good online resource for learning over a crappy one? In this case, there are plenty of online courses available that are taught by much more skilled individuals. There's nothing impractical about making the decision not to buy the sub-par stuff if the rest is just as easily available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovingit View Post
    I guess what I'm trying to be is pragmatic about things. Of course what you say is logical - bur rarely practicable. As I said, if someone looks at the work from the OP and goes - that's amazing - then he or she will find that teacher perfect for their level.
    ... and learn a load of crap techniques from them along with whatever useful stuff that they may have.

    The point is, a beginner may be unable to discern mediocre work from master work because they are, well, a beginner and it all may seem miraculous to them. They would still be better off learning from a master than from a mediocrity, regardless how much more skilled that mediocrity may be than the beginner. If both mediocre material and superb material are equally available, then one has no legitimate reason to pick the mediocre stuff.

    The fact is that this graduation from junior teacher to more advanced teacher is a time honoured technique that works excellently in many fields.
    Yes, provided that there is an actual human teacher.

    Except in this case there is no live teacher in the equation. It's a set of recorded lectures. I can understand learning from whoever is accessible to the student - I'd love to learn from Gerome, but he's dead - but recorded material is always accessible. There are other sets of recorded lectures available which are better than Phoenix's, so why settle for sub-par stuff if you can get quality stuff just as easily?

    For instance, in martial arts you learn basic stuff from junior teachers - then when you have gotten that into your brain, you learn more advanced stuff from more advanced teachers.
    1. This happens under supervision of the master who is supposed to guide the junior teachers and stop them from teaching the rookies things they don't understand themselves.

    2. Again, this is an issue of availability and human contact, which is inapplicable to recorded video.

    BUT even if you DO happen to find an advanced teacher who's happy to teach you basics, secondly and more importantly, that master usually lacks the ability to relate to the beginner or very junior student... I've been taught basic skills by advanced people before and it's the rare 'advanced' teacher who has the patience and understanding to teach at that level.
    This does have some truth in it, but again, it applies to person-to-person teaching, not books or video.

    There's a place for all levels of teacher and all kinds of teaching.
    You can learn from anyone... provided you know enough to tell what works apart from the bullshit. Usually that means enough skill and/or understanding of your own as a prerequisite.

    If you don't have enough skill or intuition for that, you'd do well to stick to the masters, not the first random person that seems better than yourself.

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    Okay I concede on your points. In the heat of making arguments I forgot all about the fact that we were talking about recorded online lessons! So yeah plenty of better choices for the money - no contest there! I'm definitely not suggesting that the OP should go and buy those materials, I wouldn't!
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    I think his tutorials are great, he does start with a basic mannequin abstraction( that anyone can learn ) and goes quite far with it.

    Also , Micheal Hampton is good for constructional anatomy. Nothing replaces life drawing though - as you might imagined.
    Last edited by FatMoStank; March 16th, 2014 at 06:06 PM. Reason: additional stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by FatMoStank View Post
    I think his tutorials are great, he does start with a basic mannequin abstraction( that anyone can learn ) and goes quite far with it.
    That's his principal flaw. He teaches a contrived mannequin, instead of looking at real people.

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    I've taken the structure of man course very recently. I found it to be useful in teaching the peg method of remembering how parts of the body relate to each other. I think what is being missed here is that Riven does start out very basic and builds on that until you have memorized the full skeleton. Yes some of the muscle related stuff later on may be simplistic but it's still valuable.

    Personally I found it a pleasure to draw along with the videos and now understand far more about the skeleton, how it moves and how muscles relate to that than I did before the course.

    I took the course as part of a group and around 10 or so of us finished it. I noticed improvements in everyones work. If nothing else he gets you drawing things over and over which might be just what some people need (me at the time! haha) reading loomis books never made me draw very much. I'd also add that now I understand a lot more of what loomis is saying than before I took the course.

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    I just wanted to add to this; I think a lot of people here might be jaded by the idea that someone that isn't at a masters skill has anything to offer. The course that Riven teaches isn't a course for drawing amazing, beautiful "how did you do that" drawings, it's a structured video series to teach you the skeleton, the muscles and the general abstractions of how they relate to each other. It's formulaic because it's not teaching you to draw beautiful gestures or life renderings, it's giving you a toolkit to draw something from memory that you can alter yourself without having to look at any references. A bicep will always be connected in the same way (pretty much on everyone), it's how you visually represent it is what matters. He tells you how it's connected, is setup and works, it's up to you to visually represent it how you please.

    Also, I don't think his drawings in the course do him justice, I mean, he might not be a Rembrandt but his drawings themselves are fairly decent (IMO) and they're certainly better than what I'm capable of reproducing from imagination.
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    Mannequinization should be used with life model, so you dont draw every single character same way because you use same methods over and over again and not every one has same body features, posture etc.
    IMO there are lot better sources than him like proko, loomis vilppu etc. and I believe that gesture is far more important than making it to look beautiful rendering, without it you get stiff "dead looking" character. Whats wrong with using reference?

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    Nothing's wrong with using references. In fact, I'm not even arguing not to use other resources or even that Riven is better than alternatives. All I'm saying is that I think people are getting the wrong intentions from his course. Once you learn how everything's connected then it's a lot easier to brush off those fuzzy areas when you are drawing from reference.

    I completely agree about gesture drawing; it's the soul of the drawing and without it your drawings will look stiff. I think that's Riven's biggest weakness. His drawings lack that "life" aspect, but, he does understand the structure. I honestly think that his drawings would be ten times better if only he had that aspect in his drawings.

    Another thing is, I don't think his course is for those that are talented. In fact, I think Riven is one of the few people that is not talented but didn't let that stop him from becoming a decent artist. I think his course is for those that just can't "get it" and need things broken down. I remember the first time I tried studying from Bridgman, I was completely lost... lol Loomis does a much better job at breaking it down, but even his work can feel like there's a bit of a gap that's just unclear to those that can't just "pick it up".

    Aside from everything, I honestly think the best resource for learning is to just do. Not to follow a course or a book, but to just do; I wish I followed my own opinion. lol :p

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Carlisle View Post
    The course that Riven teaches isn't a course for drawing amazing, beautiful "how did you do that" drawings, it's a structured video series to teach you the skeleton, the muscles and the general abstractions of how they relate to each other.
    It might be an idea that he knows what he's taking about. The example you have given shows exactly why he shouldn't try to sell this.

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