I don't have much access to models, so I've been trying to use photographs online to study anatomy and what people look like. Is this a recommended study method?
Not to make photorealistic drawings, just to see what the body looks like and understand the basics. Seems like the next best thing to real humans.
Without access to models photos work fine. There are some factors to keep in mind though. First, the close the lens is to the subject, the more the lens distorts the image. Also, photos are often touched up and so color may be off. Odd camera angles will also make things look bizarre and can throw off your proportions.
Basically, use them, but be aware that they aren't a 100% recording of reality. Just because something looks right in a photo, doesn't mean it will in art. Study photos for anatomy and practice, but study people in real life too when you can, even if it's just observing people at the mall.
Thanks. I've already noticed that half the pictures I've found are in really unrealistic poses that no one would ever actually stand in.
#1 advice when it comes to working from photos:
buy/steal a camera, and take your own pictures
unfortunately if you want naked people the above isn't very useful besides maybe a lot forearms and stuff. you should still take your own photos so you understand what you are looking at when working from other ppl's photos.
Like everything else you study in art though, you're better off using something intelligently, rather than just blindly copying. Know WHY it does what it does, then decide if it works for your image.
For beginners, photography can be a little dangerous because you don't know exactly which things to watch out for. Still, it's better than not using reference at all, and it can still be very very useful.
I'm in the same boat, glad you posted this thread.
I've never taken a life drawing class.
One, I don't even know if my town does them
and two, I have parents. Haha.
My super duper handy sketchbook! It's kinda cool.
You could always try http://figuredrawing.meetup.com/Thatís what I did.
I'm in the countryside of Japan now, so I don't think there are figure drawing classes and I feel kinda weird taking pictures of people or drawing them.
Thanks for the info.
I would reccomend getting your hands on some virtual poses from virtual pose, i think theres a free sample up on the site, and its all very groovy. ImagineFX feature poses on their DVDs from time to time too.
The great thing about them is that you can rotate to the position you want and really get a feel for the body in 3 dimensions.
Attempting to direct your friends and family into a ref photo while poking spotlamps at them is still easier than trying to google image search a perfect ref for something that you yourself only imagined 20 minutes ago.
It'll teach you lots about how that whole "camera distortion" thing works, you can direct them a bit, you can kinda choose the lighting.
Bedsheets tacked to walls or hung over doors can be effective backdrops or draperies.
Oh yeah, buy a spotlamp and a cheap tripod.
Learning photography will also teach you more about composition than pretty much anything else.
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I dunno if I'm ready to get into photography, but thanks for the tips. I'll look into virtual pose; looks interesting.
What about using other people's drawings to study? (ie character design illustrations that inspire me, etc.)
Go ahead and learn from photos, they will still be able to teach you a ton. A lot of the flaws with photos are just things you'll have to learn about down the road, but it will be far easier to over come that than the problems of having learned from other art. The main thing is practice, study some art books to give you an idea of what you should be looking for and thinking about as you draw, and then more practice.
Really? You think it's that bad an idea? I always thought studying and copying the works of the masters was a classic way to study art.
I don't mean to too my own horn, but I'm not a COMPLETE beginner, I just haven't drawn much in awhile and know I have a lot to learn. I think it'd be good to see how they approach and tackle and render stuff. And make stuff look so cool. I'll see how it goes I guess.
I third what J Wilson said about "interpretation of an interpretation".
As for studying the works of masters, it is a classic way of studying art - if you're aiming to learn their <i>style</i>. But again, as J Wilson said, if you learn to draw from another comic artist's works, you'll also end up with that artists problems (i.e. anatomy flaws). I'd suggest picking up one of Joseph Sheppards anatomy books - I have one of his books and it's pretty good. There's a ton of stuff in there to wrap your mind around!