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Thread: Referencing human figure

  1. #1
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    Referencing human figure

    Hi,

    I definitelly need to improve on my skills in representing human figure. Now, since I don't have an infinite supply of naked men and women who could pose in front of me, and I'm not inrolled in a class where they have models posing, although I will consider the option of getting into one of these classes, I wonder what could be a good substitute for drawing from real life. Do you think using artistic nude photographs is a good reference source. I mean, I could go out and sketch people on the street, or on the beach and all, at least to get their gestures, etc., but you need a degree of stillness to do decent drawings, right?

    Anyways, the question is, what do you think of drawing from photographs, can it be a good replacement for a real-life model?

    cheers!
    Last edited by miljenko; September 4th, 2006 at 04:59 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Photo's are in no way a good replacement for a real-life model. Better to sketch from people on the street, on the athletic field, or the beach, and supplement by using photos for simple studies and observation. For prolonged drawings you can work from classical/figure sculpture in the museum. It's best to use photos after you have a grasp of the figure, so that you have enough knowledge to work around the shortcomings of
    photography. Frankly, anyone who is truly interested in figure drawing or a future in art should spend the necessary time, money, and effort to get instruction and study from a live nude model. Think of it as an investment.

    Also learning anatomy will go a long way in helping you make the most of life sketches where time is a factor
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    Thanks alot dude. So, I should get out and sketch real people and at the same time study from anatomy textbooks as much as I can. It is in fact hard to draw from the photo, because you are limited to a 2D depiction, while if you have a model in front of you, you may stick out your neck and observe it from a different angle, and see what goes on much better.
    Last edited by miljenko; September 4th, 2006 at 04:55 AM.
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    Also, don't underestimate the value of a good mirror. You don't have to be a physical specimen to get any value from studying your own body. Consider having friends and family members be your models for hand and head studies.
    Like I said, don't completely ignore the use of photos to supplement your study. The important thing is to learn any way you can.
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    hmm a good replacement for drawing from life is drawing from other artists.. especially master drawings..somehow you can connect with it..the strokes will take you closer to the moment the master was drawing it.. when i dont draw from the model i copy a good master drawing..
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_allejo05
    hmm a good replacement for drawing from life is drawing from other artists.. especially master drawings..somehow you can connect with it..the strokes will take you closer to the moment the master was drawing it.. when i dont draw from the model i copy a good master drawing..
    Good idea. I forgot about that.
    I suggest Rubens, Prudhon, Pontormo, Van Dyck. MIchelangelo when you get more advanced as the musculature in his drawings can be overwhelming
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    It's better to study from photos than from people in public. People in public are wearing too much clothing and are moving to fast to learn anything useful about anatomy. All you can do is swipe poses and mannerisms, and even then they aren't that interesting in themselves you're the one who has to make it look interesting through composition, and you won't be able to do this until you already have some figure drawing skills. Edweard Muybridge's photos are a good source to learn proportion, look at "The Human Figure in Motion". There are lots of great photos to learn from. It's actually dangerous to study master drawings without an instructor to guide you telling which ones to look at for what reasons. A simple example is Durer, you can learn proportion, planes, and rendering of solids from him, but his drawings won't do you any good if you trying to draw realistic people. Also his early work has errors not found in his later, so you'd be screwing yourself over by ignorantly studying his early stuff.
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    Looks like I started a little discussion here. Well I guess I'll look up old masters and textbooks on figure drawing and anatomy, pose in front of the mirror, etc. Also, I learned that there's apparently an art class in the neighbourhood starting at the end of this month, where they supposedly hire live models to pose, so I'll see hows it like. I think I'll give the photos a rest for a while, since I think I've been using them alot lately, but will go back to them when I need to reference a certain gesture or something.
    Last edited by miljenko; September 5th, 2006 at 03:18 AM.
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    hey dude, if you want to get really good (and free) models thatll work your gesture drawings, try drawing on a train or other places where people are usually waiting with one pose. ive recently started drawing on trains, its been lots of fun, and its helped my figurative stuff immensely. try it out sometime. cheers.
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    Just found a peculiar thing. Its called Virtual Pose v.3. Its basically a collection of 360 degree photos that can be viewed with Quicktime application. Wonder what you think of that, since one is able to move the photo around and look at figure and limbs from different perspective just as one might observe the model from different angles in the art class. So it is photographs nonetheless, but with some obvious advantages.
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    The more aspects of vision something mimicks, then obviously the more info it will give you. Movement is the main way that we understand form, so that would be the next best thing to life drawing. Don't get me wrong though, studying master drawings is also very important. But 360 poses is undeniably useful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by armando
    ...Don't get me wrong though, studying master drawings is also very important...
    Goes without saying.
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