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  1. #1
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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 09:57 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 02:00 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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  7. #5
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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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  12. #9
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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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  14. #11
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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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