Figure Drawing

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Class 2/7 – November 22nd 2012 –

During the class feedback we discussed the importance (again) of separating the two modes: exploration and communication. In general the results looked pretty good. The work presented on the wall communicated that a good amount of exploration had taken place and some conclusions had been drawn from the chaos of events on each page.

battle resultsTogether we evaluated and compared the different techniques that were used to learn from each other. I would like to read about the pro’s and cons of the discussed techniques in the reflections in your personal blogs.

Today’s class was a crash course in figure drawing. We covered the basics of the male and female adult figure as well as the male and female face. The proportions as shown in the pictures below are based on a standard that is widely used in the arts and fashion industry: the figures are 8 heads tall. In reality figures are usually 7,5 heads tall, but 8 makes it a lot easier to draw and you won’t really see the difference. With these proportions in mind you should now be able to detect the errors in your own sketches and adjust them accordingly. In general, male figures are more square and have wider shoulders than hips. Female figures are more rounded with fluent curves and the shoulders are slightly slimmer than the hips.

For more examples and other techniques check these sites.

A good way to practice drawing figures is by working with reference photo material. To get a grip on the pose of the figure you can draw a grid on the image and ‘measure’ the position of the joints, like knees and shoulders in relation to the grid. because they function a lot like ball and socket joints you can represent them by drawing full circles. Make sure they are big enough. They should span the whole width of each limb. Once you have all the joints in place it suddenly becomes a lot easier to sketch the complete figure and finalize it with felt-tip and markers.

Once you get a feel for the proportions it is time to explore different poses of the human figure. An easy and quick way of doing this is to simplify the figures. By using a square shape for the upper body and elongated triangular shapes for the limbs you can explore and develop a lot of poses very quickly. The smaller you make the sketches the faster it goes. Keep an eye on the proportions to make sure they are (approximately) correct.

To do for next week

Explore all topics and techniques covered in this class in a series of sketches on A3 paper. Bring at least 2 pages with studies of figures and 2 pages with studies of faces. Try out sketching with different materials like blue pencil, felt-tip or a light grey marker and figure out which medium fits best in relation to the size of the sketch.

Switch to the communication mode and highlight the best one or two sketches on each page.

In addition make a sketch of the same (or similar) scene that we did in the first week: the soccer training. This time, first explore the poses of the different figures using all techniques covered in this weeks class (you may use the first 4 pages of this exercise for this very purpose). Finalize the sketch with backgrounds, contrast, arrows and text.

If you have a digital camera, please bring it to the next class. We will need to take pictures and also need to be able to print them, so also remember to bring your laptop and the necessary cables or card readers and your personal codes for the printers.

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