Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Figure Drawing in class

Last night, in my painting class, we worked on figure drawing. As my instructor, Karen Winslow, mentions that Figure Drawing is a great way to learn about massing and shapes. You learn a lot about drawing accuracy and you also learn a lot about the rounding of shapes, shadow placement, reflective light, etc.

It's been about 3 years since I've done any figure drawing and it definitely shows. So, the first lesson dealt with the accuracy of the drawing. As with most figure drawing techniques, the human body is generally defined by the number of "head-heights". So, I drew out the head and then drew the line that represents the angle of the shoulders. The second head is generally at the breast line, the third head is at the navel, and the fourth head is at the crotch. Once I figured out the position of the crotch, the next line that I drew was the line that represents the angle of the hip.

As you can see, there's a nice triangle that forms between the shoulders and the hips. This triangle can help position the various parts in the chest.

Once the basic torso is established, the next head defines the mid-thigh, then the knee, then the mid-calf, then the foot.

Of course, this works well if the person is standing straight up. Need to figure out how to get it to work with the person kneeling, etc. After we practice some quick drawings, it was time to spend using the technique with a sitting figure. This was much harder.

In this drawing, once I established the head, I used the head measurements to determine the length of the torso and the other parts of the body. I started out with the line angle for the shoulder and for the torso, but erased those as the drawing went along.

Ten minutes later, I ended up with a stiff mannequin. Need to practice more.

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