unconscious life drawing vs. constructing
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Thread: unconscious life drawing vs. constructing

  1. #1
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    unconscious life drawing vs. constructing

    Heya,
    I'm new to this board, and I'm starting right off with a question which is bugging me for some time now...

    To get better in drawing concept art, is it really of use to practice life drawing?
    I mean, I used to do some life drawing using the methods of Betty Edwards (Drawing On The Right Side Of...), which are basically, broken down to the bone "Draw what you see and not what you think you see." and "Don't name the things you draw, don't even think about what they are, just try to get the visual impression down on paper."
    This works quite good for drawing down the things that are in front of you, but if you're trying to do concept-works you can't really use that method. Now, I think it also improved a little my "concepts", but if it did, it did so only slightly and extremely slow...
    Now what I often see on this board is that you still have kind of "construction lines" in your works - plus, nearly 80% of all the online tutorials are about "constructing" things, telling you to try to construct everything out of basic shapes as well as informing you how big what should be (like, for example, concerning characters that the head should be the same size as ... and the shoulders half the size as... and so on...).

    so basically my questions are...

    How important is life drawing really?
    Does it pay off (even?) when you're drawing the "unconscious" way (=> not naming the things or thinking about what they are, simply drawing down the visuals)
    Is there anything important you should try to pay attention to when life drawing?
    How important is constructing things?
    When and how do you do this?

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    Life drawing is always useful. I'm not sure what it is about the experience that counts, though. It might well be simply drawing and drawing, for hours on end. But if I had to say, I'd say that it's the eye training. Life drawing gives your eye a finer level of attention so that you can see exactly how the light and shadow creates the shape that you're looking at. And, after long enough of careful looking, you internalize that and can create it out of thin air for your concept pieces.

    Life drawing is the basic building block of any art. I can't recommend it enough.

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    I was getting bored in my figure drawing class, so by the end of the semester I was using the model as a guide and then just drawing what I wanted. I think at one point she was Joan of Arch and then a Roman worrior. Stuff like that.

    Anyway, the stuff came out pretty good, so I guess what I mean is; even using a model as pconsidine says; ifinately useful.

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    Exactally what pconsidine said, you learn technique, it's just as important as your pencil.

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    Even more than just drawing practice,

    Live Drawings helps you to see the figure in three dimensions. Allows the artist to see what proportions real people have, beyond the "ideal" that is used in most fashion, and comic style art. You can usually see a difference between the work done by comic and illustrators that did life drawing as part of the learning process, and those that did not.

    Most of the classic illustrators of the golden age and pulp age used life models as part of the process. Some like the Hildebrandt's still do.

    Andrew

    "Channeling is just bad ventriloquism. You use another voice, but people can see your lips moving." -- Penn Jillette
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    its very important. But so is construction. Also its not that they are seperate entities, I use construction in life drawing constantly and life drawing helps later if i want to construct something from my imagination. Life drawing is also good to help you to see details and finishes, but you cant get to this stage without constructing. Classic example, suppose you can draw a beautifully rendered eye but cant properly construct the head..then no matter where you put that eye the portrait will still look bad. Vice versa, constructing an awesome geometric form head is good first step, but putting in the beautiful rendering on top is what we aim for in the finish.

    Side note Betty edwards book isnt the definitve word on life drawing, i think its good for getting u to draw what u see and know what you think something should look like, but its only part of the story. Its late dont know if it makes sense.

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    thanks to all who responded
    stephen - yeah, this indeed made sense to me...
    hm. do you have any advices on further-reaching books?

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    Further reading? Check out this link:

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...&threadid=7191

    This also leads further to another link - check this out, I made a German book list, too!

    Jester

    Imagination is intelligence having fun!

    Jester's Sketchbook

    Portfolio web site
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    The little formal studies Ive done in drawing has given me a few pointers. One teacher said theres two types of drawing artists - illustrators and comic artists. Illustrators are a bit slower and more precise, getting a lot of information in the image. Comic artists are faster, more loose (im generaliszing groosly here) and tells a continuing story thorough a series of images.

    On to your problem - another techer told me theres two types of people - the ones with a keen eye, and the ones with a great imagination.

    Probably - this could be translated into a four-fielder, where U could aproximate yourself. Me im a half-imaginative illustrator, to slow to be doing comics and not observant enough to draw things really exactly from life.

    This all boils down to that when U know what U want to do - go learn that. Take a lot of knowledge and mix it with your unique personality - out comes your own style.

    your questions:
    1 -importance of life drawing - depends on what U want to do - comics like garfield or 17th century style oils?
    2 - "unconscious" way - Personally I had the great opportunity to learn the basics of the skeleton in my millitary duty as a medic, so I really cant imagine life without at least basic knowledge of the skeleton. And some of the muscles to (I get that as part of my interesst for weight-training too). But I imagine that with a really keen eye, there would be no need to know whats inside, but often, its my observation that those people are the ones that has trouble with imagination - cant see it, cant think it, sorta.
    3 - Life drawing - stance, weight, balance, which muscles are at work, which leg takes more weight. Negative space. U could even go up close and ask to touch the model, to get the feel of which arm or leg does the most work in a particular stance. Get to know other bodies - and Ur own too.
    Make a clay nude model.
    4 - Constructing? - It means fantasy, imagination? In concepts, I would think its vary important. U take in lots of ideas, spin it a few turns in your head and get it out with ur own twist too it.
    5 - when - as often as possible - an hour a day, more if U have the time and energy.

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    I think life drawing will do the most to make your concept art appealing because you're building vocabulary.

    Also it helps to not be limited to one approach in figure drawing.

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