# Thread: Studying from books... How do YOU do it?

1. ## Studying from books... How do YOU do it?

I've always wondered this. I have these books on anatomy, and how to draw. But, i want to know how to truly learn to use them. I would copy the pictures but i rarely do so because i also hear how bad it is to copy a picture because it can get you into some bad habits. Specificly, why are the loomis books so great? How do i practice from the books?

How did all of you, when you first started out, learn/benifit from these books?

The reason why i ask is because, i want to learn how to draw where i dont need photographs all the time for reference. I have many other questions as well about some other ways of doing things but i dont know if i should ask them all at once.
Last edited by Wisdom_Cube; May 4th, 2005 at 11:48 AM.

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3. memorizing

i "see" means i observe .. i learn and memorize ALL muscle names and their 3D placement*orientation

when i see things i feel a reflection - its the "impression" i think - i dont need to look for it .. so .. when i draw stuff then i remind the stuff i memorized and i remind the impression . I really HATE copying because it just dont teach u nothing - for me its important to draw without refs.. u dont learn the stuff behind.. the structure the setups when u just "copy" u just learn to "copy" but nothing about how the body moves how todes 3D objects behave in 3Dspace when moved or rotated .. i like to think alot about stuff and think complex hard and hardcore.. our brain is the only tool we have to understand this world.. and we can use our thoughts to teach ourselfs and make this world understandable

back to : i keep in mind that things are 3D - and when i draw.. i only draw 1 frame - one view - but the objects has more then 44mio views (x^y^z -> 360^360^360degree = fully 3D - know em all and u know how to "draw"

i learn in order to understand how to draw all 44mio shapes (i just need them in my head.. i dont need to draw em to understand)

pss : its important to "understand" the structure behind the things u wanna draw - like u cant draw good bodys when u dont think about body and muscle behavoiur how the body acts and moves.. how flesh mehaves and what the move and rotation limits are from arms legs head hands etc - lotsa stuff to think about in order to understand - copying sux hard - i just got some weapon books.. and u wanna learn how to draw guns.. but i dont like copying.. so i think i would analyse guns and their details (replace guns with any anatomy feature) and i would think about the objects itselfs *3Dness and volume/mass) i would analyse the things that define my object -> silouette -> lines -> angles
once i think i know the angles i would start drawing it simplified and then step by step getting complexer.. but i need to be secure at drawing it simple (otehrwise - bad orientation *in 3d space (the 3d space inside your paper sheet) * and ur stuff looks twisted -

--> simplifie -> orientation -> proportions -> details

did i said 2 much ?
hope u understand pm me when u got more questions about the book stuff

thx bob
Last edited by -sideshowbob-; May 4th, 2005 at 12:03 PM.

4. Originally Posted by Wisdom_Cube
I've always wondered this. I have these books on anatomy, and how to draw. But, i want to know how to truly learn to use them. I would copy the pictures but i rarely do so because i also hear how bad it is to copy a picture because it can get you into some bad habits. Specificly, why are the loomis books so great? How do i practice from the books?

How did all of you, when you first started out, learn/benifit from these books?

The reason why i ask is because, i want to learn how to draw where i dont need photographs all the time for reference. I have many other questions as well about some other ways of doing things but i dont know if i should ask them all at once.
When it comes to learning from anatomy books, I mostly draw than read the info. I suggest that you copy the illustrations there over and over so that it gets imprinted on your mind. What is important though is that you have an understanding of the shapes and forms rather than copying it exactly the way it is on the book cuz that what makes it a bad habit. You get so coped up on copying it but you're compromising the understanding of form. An end result is that it looks flat like the picture itself. Study from the Loomis books as well, he gives alot of helpful and impt information!

Another advice is draw from life. Keep a sketchbook, bring it anywhere then draw the things around you. Make it a discipline. Trust me, you'll improve over time.

5. So, what i should do when learning from books is to never actually copy the image itself, but get what the artist is trying to convey? In a sense draw what you see in the book, and understand where hes coming from and experiment with it yourself? Am i on the right track?

6. Originally Posted by Wisdom_Cube
So, what i should do when learning from books is to never actually copy the image itself, but get what the artist is trying to convey? In a sense draw what you see in the book, and understand where hes coming from and experiment with it yourself? Am i on the right track?
yep! But, you could always copy it exactly but at the same time you must have that understanding.

7. All good information above. I'll chime in on a more practical and personal use of anatomy books.
We used to draw from life as much as we could for a couple of years in order to have the basic proportions right. Then if you can get a nicely cut model you can work écorchés on top of your drawings.
We had this guy that was athletic -but not too much. You could see the rippling of the muscles and a hint of how they interlocked with each others. The positions chosen were strenuous for him so he would be in muscular tension most of the time.
Another model was this contemporary dancer (think flashdance without all the 80's crap) that was well proportionned and a awesome body (in a myology point of view of course). She had 0% fat on her and could hold a balanced pose on one feet for at least 30 minutes. Without moving. At all :o

Anyhoo, once you stack a couple of 15 / 30 minutes drawings, take some tracing paper on top of your drawing and start making out the skeleton. ALWAYS use your anatomy book on how the bones look and as for everything, breaking down what you're drawing into basic shapes helps tremendously getting the perspective right. Check what direction they're going, how they are linked to each other. Even if you have to relentlessly flip trough 20 different pages just to get one bone right. The skeleton is the basic foundation of everything. If the frame of a house is poorly built, the house will looke like crap and crumble.
It's very important to refer to your drawing underneath and encompass the hints you draw. Bones are poking out of the skin and provide great milestones for this part of your écorché (Ex: colar bone area, elbow area, knee, shoulder blades point, etc.).
Here is where we usually did an anatomy sheet and put all the names of each bone, but it's at you discretion.

Put a second sheet of tracing paper over your work and start attaching muscles to the frame. Some anatomy books (for artists) are detailed enough that they'll let you know what is the origin / attach point of each muscle. Again, if you need to flip trough pages and pages of the book to understand how muscle X overlaps over muscle Y and underneath muscle Z... do it !
Depending how detailed you want to push your study, you may jump directly ahead to superficial muscles... Or even break the model in different sheets ; Doing underlying muscles on one sheet and build outwards with each sheet. You can also break limbs down (!!) with your sheets (see link down).

This exercise can be hard and take a load of time but I found it to be a huge help in my understanding of -mostly supperficial- anatomy. Here's an old ass example of what it came down to : click

Hope that wasn't too confusing or too engrish.

8. Well, copying doesn't help really ... i'd like to find out more myself. Right now, my approach is to keep the books handy and look at them at least 3 times a week. Sometimes i read a bit about an area that's interesting to me at that moment, and sometimes i make studies when i feel like finding something out.
I copy pictures only when i think i have a clear mental image of what's going on in them. Loomis wrote "(draw from reference, but) never be afraid to draw it yourself". For me that means i memorize the image, then put away the book and draw it from memory. You always got a model when you've got a good mirror, too.
It is dangerous to memorize the two dimensional images you find in your books i think. I've seen too many pictures of half naked people who have Bridgman copies where their arms should be. Bridgmans drawings are meant to illustrate how the form comes together, not what it should look like. When you use the drawings as reference, you draw a picture of a picture, not a picture of a three dimensional form. Hope i make sense.

Edit: Aw, while i was typing smarter people were faster. That's some good advice, Egerie.

9. I kind of see it like this. Books and teachers can give us observations that we don't see on our own. When I study from a book sometimes I just read through it or sometimes I'll draw from it. Whats most important is that you gain an understanding of how something works, and you remember it enough to utilize it in your drawings. Also take a look at life and see if you can understand where the artist's observations are coming from.

10. personally,
the first thing i do when i great a great new art book is copy everything out of it that i really like.
the stuff i like tends to be the stuff i suck at.
so, even by copying i work on my weak points a little.
copy it enough and you begin to understand the thought process behind it.
then you implement it into your stuff.
nothing wrong with copying.
imitation is a great first step to understanding.

11. I normally read and think about the topic first, then copy some of the drawings think again, and then do some livedrawing or refferenced drawing to practice the new knowledge.

Why loomis is so great? its free and the technique makes sense.

12. in studying it's more important to pay close attention to the 'how' and 'why' than the 'what'.

how does the artist map out the anatomy?
how do the muscles interlock?
why is this line bolder than that line?
how does the artist construct his figures?
why does he use this method of construction here as opposed to that method of construction, there?
etc.

if you know the hows and whys, then you're able to construct your own whats.

-Rob

13. Great replies so far. This is very helpful...

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