▬ ASSIGNMENT: 296 drawings! (+296 points) (+15 bonus if on time)
- 1. 20 drawings: Find ten full-body photos and find the horizon line. Tracing over the photo, locate the structure (especially ribcage and hips, direction of the limbs too with cylinders or boxes). Then draw the photo.
2. 100 gestures: Draw 100 gestures as ‘stick figures’ (see below) from videos or photography. Locate the horizon in each one and approximate the ground plane. (No floating figures!) Keep your stick figures simple. [Example]
3. 100 gestures, imagination: Draw 100 gestures as ‘stick figures’ from imagination, creating your own horizon and ground plane in each one.
4. 25 anatomical drawings, wrapping over form, full body: These should be slower, referenced studies from nudes where you study how the anatomy connects to the underlying structure and perspective (which you practiced in #3 and #4). Look for overlaps and simplify the shapes. [Example]
5. 25 anatomical drawings, wrapping over form, imagination: Same as above, from imagination.
6. 10 figure drawings, rotated: Draw 10 frames from a 360 degree rotation video, paying attention to how the major anatomical shapes change and overlap from each rotation.
7. 10 figure drawings, rotated, imagination: From imagination, draw 10 frames rotating the same pose with the same eye level.
8. 5 self-photographed drawings: Take photos or video reference of yourself, family members, or friends, from different perspectives, and draw them. Keep note of where your eye level is when you do.
9. 1 final application: From imagination, draw a full figure in perspective (clothed or unclothed) with a background, applying the concepts from last week and keeping in mind the difference between wide angle lenses and telephoto.
BONUS: If you draw this final image for the Dragon King challenge, you’ll receive +50 points.
Assignment Due Date: Tuesday, February 10th
▬ 1: COMMON PROBLEMS
While learning anatomy and proportions are important in learning to construct the human body from imagination, it is useful to first understand how the body is placed in three dimensional space, how form works, and how it can be simplified.
Building on last week’s previous knowledge, we can see now that absolutely everything we draw, including the human body, is affected by perspective.
A common problem for artist is that their figures feel as if they’re floating, wonky, and stiff. Rather than having ‘anatomy problems’, the issues are more likely due to:
- - Perspective: The figure not being drawn in perspective
- Structure: Not understanding the underlying structure
- Proportion: Lack of attention to basic proportions and the center of the figure (measure!)
- Weight: No sense of weight/balance
- Direction: Limbs have no sense of direction, they’re flat
- Form: Lack of form and not knowing how it overlaps
- Movement: Misunderstanding how the body moves or bends
- Shape: Not communicating the major shapes effectively (anatomy)
When we study the human body with anatomy applied to perspective and structure, we can open the doors to drawing any pose from our imaginations.
▬ 2: LOCATING THE HORIZON LINE AND PLACING THE FIGURE
PERSPECTIVE affects the way we see and draw entire human body. It allows artists to start developing a 360 degree vision of the human body so that we can draw from imagination. Additionally, it will also help artists understand foreshortening and how form and volume overlap.
It helps if there are parallel lines heading towards a vanishing point in your photo reference to study from, but acquiring a skill to approximate the horizon without that help is useful (again, imagine you’re the cameraman).
Notice how different lenses affect how dramatic the foreshortening and pose appear. (red lines are the horizon lines)
It’s useful to take your camera and go photograph or film family members or friends at different perspectives. This way you can be certain of the horizon line and study how it affects the figure. Even better, try to get them to hold the same pose while you photograph different perspectives. Note the lens on your camera when you do.
I ended up filming a friend’s basketball game, which was very useful for me for gesture drawing as well as understanding how the figure is placed in perspective. Below are the three different perspectives I filmed from and some observations.
▬ 3: CREATING STRUCTURE IN PERSPECTIVE
Structure will help you determine your overall pose and gesture. It allows us to see the twist of the shoulder, the tilt of the hip, how much of the top of the head or bottom of the chin we see!
The understanding of structure will also help you understand how to apply anatomical form. Rather than just memorizing where and what a bicep is, you will be able to place the bicep in the correct manner because you understand how the underlying structure works.
When observing anatomy in photos or real life, notice the following:
- - The direction of shoulders and hips and how it relates to the rest of the pose (locating the ribcage is helpful as well)
- The spine and its general curve (Tilting back? Leaning forward?)
- The direction of limbs; towards the viewer or away?
- The placement of the feet: Where is the ground plane? How far apart are the feet? How much of the top of the feet do we see? Why? (these questions can apply to any anatomical point)
Creating a mannequin: It’s best to come up with a simple mannequin that you can easily place into perspective. Simple lines can give a sense of placement and space, but boxes and cylinders are especially useful in showing direction.
Below are some (poorly drawn) examples of different mannequins:
It doesn’t matter much what kind of mannequin you create, as long as you can get a sense of how the body is placed in three dimensional space!
▬ 4: WRAPPING ANATOMY/FORM AROUND YOUR STRUCTURE
After you get a sense of placing the mannequin in perspective, any anatomy you study/have studied can be wrapped around the structure. Kevin Chen has excellent demos of this, and Michael Hampton’s Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth goes into specific detail.
Kevin Chen demo, wrapping the leg muscles around cylindrical form.
(However, it may be better to draw the full body rather than separating the limbs all the time. This way, you can learn how everything is interconnected.)
OVERLAP is very important in communicating which shapes or muscle groups are in front of others. This will change depending on how the limbs are placed and what perspective we are seeing the human body from!
Overlap is key to foreshortening, as can be observed above. When observing foreshortening, think about how the shape of the major muscle group is being affected. It’s usually being ‘squished’, and the overlaps will become more pronounced. Double-checking measurements when studying foreshortening is important, since it will be tempting to create the ‘flat’ version of the muscle groups that you’re used to.
▬5: MOVEMENT AND BALANCE
Understanding movement will give your figures life and expand your knowledge on how the human body can move. Contrapposto can help you understand balance, but I believe balance can be observed decently enough in movement itself.
To achieve this, drawing frame by frame from film is very effective. Here is a list of youtube channels for video reference; there are extensions for chrome to help you scroll through frame by frame.
Scott Eaton has wonderful sample galleries that you can draw from to study how movement!
▬6:RHYTHM, LINE QUALITY, AND INTUITION
With so much emphasis on technique, it’s possible to lose rhythm and intuition in your drawings. Studying from animation and learning about rhythm can help with this.
Force by Mike Mattesi
It’s also useful to ‘let loose’ once in a while and simply doodle and experiment. Keep a ‘shitbook’ where you aren’t afraid to make mistakes (I simply staple copy paper together) and let yourself experiment with the figure. Experiment with what you know, but try to take off the ‘training wheels’ once in a while (i.e, placing the horizon and ground plane) and draw with freedom.
▬7:FURTHER QUESTIONS, DISCUSSION, AND READINGS
- How do lenses affect foreshortening and perspective in the human figure?
- How can you measure multiple figures in a drawing?
- How does proportion “change” depending on the horizon line?
- How can you measure figures at different ground planes?
Figure Drawing for All Its Worth Andrew Loomis
Figure Drawing and Invention Michal Hampton
Constructive Anatomy George Bridgman
Dynamic Anatomy Burne Hogarth
Force Mike Mattesi
A list of deviantart stock accounts
Please feel free to discuss or critique the content above, share your own knowledge and resources, and ask questions!