Hello CA , Iíve been lurking the site for years - especially recently and am hopefully (or hopelessly) looking for someone generous enough with their time and wisdom to help guide me, or perhaps answer or give their insight on a few questions I have!
Like most folks, when I was younger I used to draw all the time, most often from comic books and for my age was quite good considering. Recently, more than a decade later, I had a transformation in my way of thinking and have overcome my long lived fear of drawing and put an end to the time-wasting activities and have concentrated on teaching myself before I start my formal art education later this year.
I have spent the last few months gathering materials, references and knowledge on how to approach drawing. My issue as of now is I am beginning to understand how my skills are at a standstill, and am learning so much of drawing and art I never even understood. For too long would I Ďcheatí by copying contour lines of forms or by mindlessly drawing/copying, instead of analyzing shapes/forms and struggling to manipulate them in my mind. While this helped my hand-eye coordination, I drew very poorly from my mind and had a poor notation of perspective and form. I stopped drawing almost entirely after seeing a friend of mine who was able to draw believable figures from his mind, and drew successfully from memory quite often.
I am interested in learning a constructive or analytical method to figure drawing but it seems the more I learn about the process of drawing, the more intrigued yet overwhelmed I become. There seems to be so much to do and I have a tendency to over think and quantify things.
Common exercises and studies:
-Drawing from masters
-Sketching/drawing from life
-Gesture drawing from imagination/references
-Anatomy/concentration on certain areas of the body to learn details
-Understanding anatomical differences between genders
-Repetition (drawing the same illustration/diagram over and over)
People often echo ďjust draw, draw, drawĒ! All the time, draw from life almost exclusively! But I think this may be a fallacy. Obviously no artist is great without practice and LOTS of it, but it needs application and a goal if you want to improve. Or am I wrong? Initially I was considering just Ďgoing throughí books, for example drawing every picture from the Bridgman or Hogarth books, or scribbling gestures and basic form-figures from comic books. This didnít seem to help much though. Is there something to be gotten from simply drawing the human figure, even from other artists over and over and over again?
Right now I am fortunate to have a lot of free time, as I am only taking one course this spring. I can dedicate 12-14 hours a day to drawing, however I have been doing more time planning and reading threads on CA or trying to find every bit of information I can on how to approach my studies, what to study or where to begin.
Drawing from life (live model) seems to be one of the staples for quality improvement. Fortunately, I will be taking life drawing courses later this year and the following. However until then, is using photographs, or drawing from demos/anatomy/figure drawing books bad? It seems there are different schools of thought, where some say to draw from photographs only if you must because of perspective distortion. Is there some kind of analysis of what youíre seeing from a living model versus a 3D image represented on a 2D surface (an image or photograph)?
I have numerous books on anatomy. This is something I feel I am able to pickup quicker but slip-up sometimes when applying it to my drawings. I find anatomy to be interesting and have more success in understanding and remembering anatomy than developing a process for gestural drawing or actually drawing the anatomical forms and their relationships.
Anyways, I apologize for my frantic request but I cannot think of any greater goal to overcome to grant me the confidence to further my art education than being able to draw the human figure from my imagination. If anyone has any advice, exercises or methodologies they think would help and would like to see some of my studies please let me know I would greatly appreciate it! I have the time and dedication to give to anyone who would be willing to help me improve or give me some advice! Feel free to send me a private message or email at: email@example.com or obviously, reply.