Figure Drawing

Class 2/6 – April 30th & May 1st 2014 –

During the class feedback we discussed the importance (again) of separating the two mindsets when sketching: the exploratory- and the communicative mindset. 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. Even though the original sketches are very rough and messy the results demonstrate that with some simple techniques you are still able to create a focal point on the stuff you want to communicate. In your excitement about your new tools and techniques however, some of you went a bit overboard in their effort to communicate. On most of the pages with the arrows it is harder to find the focal point, because almost all elements have been rendered. Try and find a balance in your composition.

Together we evaluated and compared the different techniques that were used. Keep notes of these evaluations to help you write your personal reflections at the end of the assignment.

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 generally have a waist that is slimmer than their chest and hips.

For more examples and other techniques check these sites. A really good overview with lots of insight on figure sketching can be found here.

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.

Using photo reference can provide you with a great starting point to quickly set up your figures in a storyboard. However, it isn’t always as easy to find a suitable image of a person in the right pose. In that case you find an image that comes close and use that as a base. It is relatively easy to re-position the limbs by rotating them around the joints or even bend or twist the whole figure around the hips or waist. Always keep an eye on the proportions to make sure they are (approximately) correct. Especially check the size of the head in relation to the body.

 

To do for next class

Explore all topics and techniques covered in this class in a series of sketches on A3 paper. Find your own reference material and sketch (explore!) as many different figures and poses as you can in the time you have available. Bring at least 2 pages with studies of figures and 2 pages with studies of faces to the next class. Switch to the communicative mindset and highlight the best one or two sketches on each page. See if you can apply some storyboard frames on top of your sketches or maybe even visualize a short scenario using these techniques. It would be great if you can visualize the flying camera concept from the baseline measurement!

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. In addition, also bring the sketchroll!

sketchroll copy

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