Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?
 
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    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Hey guys, just some questions, i have done figure/life drawing, about 2 times. And it seemed to go ok. But i had troubles with the quick poses mainly. I was trying to draw the whole body in under 30 secs, even a minute, 2 mins and 3 mins! ahh. I know thats wrong. How are you suppose to do it? What i mean is how do you draw/construct 30 sec poses and minutes, 2 mins and 3 mins?? Im lost. People say draw like stick type figures, but im not quite sure what they mean. I am going to be doing life drawing 8 times a month, thats 24 hrs of life drawing every month, so i need to kinda know what im doing I am already signed up.

    Can someone help? Thanks!

    Justin.

    LOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS THREAD AT MY PICS, THANKS.


    Last edited by JustinBeckett; September 10th, 2005 at 10:57 PM.
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    I hated doing a bunch of those quick poses! mainly becuz, my paper started run out pretty fast! Anyway, your drawings will suck at first. Its inevitable so dont worry about it. The important thing about these super quick poses, is to look for the gesture of the pose. But, the problem is, people seemed to be so pressured by the short amt of time, that, they mindlessly put their lines on paper! Just remember, to take your time( YES) and look for the gesture and rhythm of the pose. Follow it with your eyes, and do accordingly with your hand. It doesnt have to be the full body, just take your time and put in whatever you can. Train your eye. IT will come naturally in time.

    BTW I think they're are some cool examples of quickies at the FIne Arts Section. Have a look and figure out by yourself how they approached it. Ask your instructor as well! or do you gyus have one?

    Last edited by Dizon; September 8th, 2005 at 03:00 AM.
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    Quick life drawings are basically a way to teach proportion. All that really matters is that the distance from the nose to the lower lip to the navel to the elbow is correct. Trick is to draw as many important (IMPORTANT: adjective, as in "forget the nose hairs and tattoos, idiot.") points as possible in the right place. Try starting at the forehead and drawing a (sort of...) single line down the face and onto the chest, etc., as fast as possible. Don't always go for the entire figure. Go for the line between the arm and the torso. Maybe the back, ass and legs under to the feet. You are trying to automatically measure where all the things fall without thinking about it. At some point, you will be able to draw an entire figure that looks really good without looking at the paper at all...just stare at the model and your hand will know where to go because your brain is starting to rewire itself to allow you to "know" where your hand/fingers/pencil point are.

    The best life drawing I ever did in my life was in litho crayon on the back cardboard of a 18x24 pad because I was out of paper. It's a 3/4 view of a female model from the mouth to the knees and took me NINE SECONDS. If I can do it, anybody can...

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    I've found that you'll learn more, and more quickly out of quick poses than out of the dragged out render-athons. By drawing fast, you pack much more into a session and you're not focused on making one pretty drawing. Having George Pratt as a teacher taught me a lot about this philosophy, we'd draw 5 second poses for 20 minutes straight..then 10 seconds... by the time we'd get to a minute, it'd seem leisurely. It makes you react and rely on instinct, you can't fuss over each line. A lot of the drawings look like shit, but once you start getting into it, they get better and better as you learn to recognize shape relationships and you stop thinking about what youre putting down. None of the drawings are portfolio pieces by far but I learned more out of those sessions than anywhere else.

    A good way of practicing quicker gestures is to get out to a coffee shop and draw the people hanging out, and making a habit of this activity... that's helped me a ton.

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    cotron speaks the truth. gestures are the most important part of any kind of drawing involving the figure. draw'em fast, and focus on pose, posture, and most importantly weight distribution. hips and shoulders are good starting points for gestures for standing figures, they usually give away the most valueable information. after some practice you can draw the figure using only a few lines.

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    Question..say perhaps when you are doing life drawing, and gestures and stuff like that, people are always moving...any suggestions on how to capture mid movement ones? walking or something. Is it like copy what you can and do the rest from memory or make it up?mid motion drawings are awesome...buut yeah :/ Also particularly in doing life drawing of faces in the cafe, I read in a book in our school library that you should not worry about likeness as it just comes? Is that helpful much? Ive never really been good with likeness, and i really need to improve there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dished
    Question..say perhaps when you are doing life drawing, and gestures and stuff like that, people are always moving...any suggestions on how to capture mid movement ones? walking or something. Is it like copy what you can and do the rest from memory or make it up?mid motion drawings are awesome...buut yeah :/ Also particularly in doing life drawing of faces in the cafe, I read in a book in our school library that you should not worry about likeness as it just comes? Is that helpful much? Ive never really been good with likeness, and i really need to improve there.
    First of all, when it comes to what I call spontaneous sketching when people are just oblivious to the artist, dont expect to capture a likeness. Concern yourself with getting atleast, the gesture, and not the little things. Second of all, I think memory does play a big part when sketching people that move around a lot. But it doesnt mean it has to be accurate. I've seen sketches of dancers done by Sargent and Rubens, and its obviously not accurate, but they know that. They probably didnt care about that! They were probably more concerned with the dancer's gracefulness and capturing that feeling of movement. But Im sure they also depended on their visual memory. So treat it as also an exercise. If it comes out to what you think is either satisfying or not, youve done a good job.

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    Quick poses are really practice at STARTING drawings in the best way, like a runner or a swimmer practicing starts for a race. You should feel focussed and intent, but not rushed - no more or less rushed than in the first minute of a longer drawing.

    Begin each drawing, one-minute or otherwise, by focussing on seeing the flat, 2D SHAPE of your subject, and seeing the WHOLE shape before the details. There is a natural progression in drawing: you need to begin to establish (1) shape before you can show (2) construction, and you need construction before you can model (3) surface form.

    Use your visual memory. Even in a one-minute pose, devote a few moments at the start to memorizing what you want to say about the shape. KNOW what you are drawing.

    I personally like to start with light, long, flowing lines: with these I establish the size, position and general shape of the drawing in the first few seconds, and then continue to feel out the rhythm and balance as well as the proportions of the shape in more detail. Then gradually I conjure up elements of the construction out of this foundation, again, the big masses before the details. But any method that lets you focus on shape before construction could work - stick figures, straight lines, whatever.

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?
    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?
    One, two and three minute gestures

    Naturally I get further down this track in some poses than others, and in a difficult foreshortening i might spend most of the minute just making contact with the 2D shape. This is normal. What matters is not how far you get, but that you are working on the problems in a logical, effective order.

    Try to nail the pose in every gesture drawing you do, but at the same time don't be discouraged if it takes a while to get anywhere. Real proficiency at gesture drawing takes a lot of practice - that's why teachers get you to do so many of them.

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    I'm a little bit suprised NO ONE mentionned the main movement line... This is usually what I put down first for a pose. Then follow with what briggsy mentioned.

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    Good point egerie. The "line of action" is another great tool for getting the shape right. The long lines I use early in the drawing are a variation on the line of action idea: instead of a single, deliberate line, they are drawn more spontaneously, often taking a slightly different path each time they pass through the figure, feeling out the shape as well as the direction of limbs and trunk. This approach works just as well in compact poses as in open poses that have an easily identifiable line of action.

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    does the line of action usually include the spine and maybe one or 2 limbs? or is it a contour thing?

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    The line of action (as I was taught) goes from the head, down the spine, and down one leg -- whichever leg the weight is on, usually.

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    This is embarrassing, but I have to say it. It takes me more than 10 minutes to draw a normal pose, and much longer for complex poses.

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    Don't worry about it, Luv...it takes me about three hours just to remember why I'm holding a pencil in the first place...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae
    it takes me about three hours just to remember why I'm holding a pencil in the first place...
    LOL LOL LOL ... Don't know why, I just pictured you like that dude from Momento holding a pencil, then looking at it with a weird shock and saying "a pencil... wtf?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by I_LOVE_ART
    LOL LOL LOL ... Don't know why, I just pictured you like that dude from Momento holding a pencil, then looking at it with a weird shock and saying "a pencil... wtf?"
    You LOVE momento, eh?


    Yeah, drawing fast poses is hard especially at first. I'll normally do that big ol' line of action from head to weight bearing leg-- although rules were meant to be broken. If the leg the weight isn't on seems more interesting, go with it! Right now, my prof has us doing 21, 1 minute poses(first day anyway, he says he'll take it down to 30sec really soon) 7 freely, whatever style we want, 7 with only straight lines, and 7 with only ovals. For the free ones I'll do a similar method to briggsy. Now looking at the example I'll have to try some of those muscular forms-- I normally do cylinders, and it taught me a lot- BUT time for a change

    Enjoy the life drawing, and if you find yourself getting frustrated just scribble on an entire page to loosen up, always works for me

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    briggsy : Yeah action line.. Sorry my english switch was too rusty that day
    I use to do them instinctively when attending fine arts but when I switched to traditional animation, the teachers just kept beating it in our heads that we need a strong action line for posing. And it carried on when drawing from life as a habit. Which I think is a damn good one.

    arghmisfit, George guy : I was taught something slightly different. It doesn't necessarly strats with the head but focuses on the flow of the action. The spine is obviously included because... well it's "there". If you try to find action lines on balet dancers, your line could start line A from one toe, go trough legs and end at the tip of the other foot. It always depends of the pose.

    Ooh I forgot ; Usually speed poses are great to warm up before a session. I hate to go into a medium/long sitting without warming up first. So a couple of 30 seconds, preferably two minutes are good. They can feel gruelling and can leave you breathless but it's a good way to detach yourself from details and concentrate on the essentials... It's just a question of habit ; when you're forced into working fast you invariably become faster on longer sittings because you know what to look out for. Don't dispair !

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    Heh heh, some of my old figure drawing stuff looks like pages crammed full of just squiggly lines... sometimes you can hardly tell they're figures. But really once you get your head into a more simple space, 30 seconds is plenty of time to scrawl down the gist of a pose... whether it's a central action line, a quick ball-and-stick skeleton, or rough volume blocking like briggsy showed. But of course it's not nearly enough time to add any rendering. Wish I still had some of those pages to show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WildSpruceMoose

    Originally Posted by I_LOVE_ART
    LOL LOL LOL ... Don't know why, I just pictured you like that dude from Momento holding a pencil, then looking at it with a weird shock and saying "a pencil... wtf?"

    You LOVE momento, eh?

    That's be cool. Ilaekae finishes a drawing turns his head, looks back, and thinks, that's kinda nice. I wonder who drew that. LOL

    Ilaekae, got any descriptive tattoos you want to share with us??? LOL

    Whatever you do, don't look at my Sketchbook and Painting Thread!


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    This is Ilaekae:
    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

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    ...uummmm...can somebody fill me on Momento? I'm maybe 5 generations behind here...wheeze...cough...hack...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae
    ...uummmm...can somebody fill me on Momento? I'm maybe 5 generations behind here...wheeze...cough...hack...
    Sure thing, its a cool movie about a detective who has short term memory loss. His wife got raped and murdered, and he is pissed and wants revenge, but he can't manage of his condition, so he starts to write tatoos on his body of memories and clues to help him remember, and he takes photos of people and comments whether they are friends or foes. Great movie, rent it!

    p.s. its called MEMENTO not momento, typing error!

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

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    Cool thanks alot guys, Seem to make a bit of sense Unfortunately i never got to look at this thread before i went to my first session, but anyways, here are some i did. From 30 sec - 5 min poses. You can prob tell which ones are 30 and 1min to 5mins It would be great if someone could maybe tell me what im doing wrong, if anything, or kinda tell me a better way to do it. That line of action some guy at life drawing was kinda showing me, it seemed to work, but not sure if i got it down yet Most of these are in pen, some pencil. -- First session of life drawing I really like going to these, the people were really cool too. Havent had that experience before

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

    Figure/Life drawing - How do you do it?

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  27. #24
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    Dude, I just read the first post and thought to add my bit...

    I love gesture drawings, the less time you have, the more dramatic the sketch; one way I do them best, is to never take the pencil off the page, follow the contours of the body for the end result; also, if you've got an A1 piece of paper infront of you, fill it with as many gestures as poss; I find with quick sketching, its best NOT to try and draw BIG, put as many on as poss together, and you you find you end up with a nice composition;

    Also, you gotta draw more. In time, you WILL find it easier, and more enjoyable. I have a TON of life drawing and gestures I gotta post/update..
    hhhmmm best do that today huh?

    Good luck

    Mx

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    More and more I'm finding out how gesture drawing is so important to becoming a great artist and I want to concentrate on it more in my own stuff. I mean, most works from the imagination are gestural type works in the begining and if I lack the skills to quickly put down a fluid sketch than no amount of rendering can breathe life into that dead sketch. So yea, I'm interested if anyone else has any sort of insight into how to get better. I suppose practice... I tried doing some to pictures on the PC but I ended up spending too much time... I also am having problems doing the "mindless" lines someone else said because I'm just trying to put something down quickly. I hate it and it's pissing me off. lol Any help? This thread couldn't have come at a better time!

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    Cool thx Molly, umm what do you guys think, of my first attempts? hehe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinBeckett
    Cool thx Molly, umm what do you guys think, of my first attempts? hehe.
    Good, just keep it up.

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    Justin. A very promising start for someone new to life drawing: mostly good proportions, and some clear evidence of constructional thinking. Some suggestions:

    1. You should try the idea of feeling out the extent on the page of the whole drawing in the first few seconds. That should at least stop the feet and hands from going off the page. More importantly, it will also mean that you are drawing in relation to the whole figure right from the start.

    2. Try keeping your lines light while you are still fine-tuning the shape. Even Michelangelo drew his first lines much lighter than his final outlines, and if he thought that that was a good idea, it's probably a good idea for us too.

    3. Even when you have learnt that it is best to draw your outlines over a sound gestural-constructional foundation, bear in mind that the outlines have a magnetic attraction for us, and we all keep slipping into passively copying them far too early in the drawing. It's just something about the way our brains work, and you need to persistently fight against this tendency if you want to overcome it.

    4. Ignore any or all of the above points if they don't seem relevant to what you are trying to achive. Asking for crits is good, but even better, try putting your drawings alongside drawings that you like by other people to see for yourself where you would like to improve,

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