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Learning Gesture drawing really helps give you fluid motion in your figures. Try doing some gesture sketches at www.quickposes.com, try it at 30 secs if you find it to fast move it up to a higher amount of time, what really helps when you are thinking of doing it in 30 seconds is to not think about drawing the contours of the model or likeness instead draw through and focus on the motion.
For the issue of not being able to draw different orientation of the skull you should read up on head construction and also listen to valyavande's advice of trying to draw 3d shapes at different angles for practice. These principles go hand in hand for performing what you described.
Spent half an hour or so frantically scribbling 45-second gesture sketches based on quickposes.com models. The results are predictably monstrous, and I wonder if this sort of exercise is actually useful. But here they are anyway: I nowadays put just about every line I draw in this sketchbook, because I want to have a record of where I have been, all the horrendous errors I made, all the blind alleys I stumbled into, and also the instances where I manage to get something right.
Edit: Something I just noticed. I bought two broad-nibbed ballpoint pens to sketch with. The one above has not been used. The one below has been used only for the gesture sketches in this post. Amazing how quickly these pens go through ink!
Last edited by blogmatix; November 11th, 2012 at 09:22 AM.
Wow! Surprisingly, your 45-second gestures are all well-proportioned! I suggest in future, when doing figure drawings, do this 45-sec gesture as the lay-in, then do the more polished drawing on top (construction, contour lines whatever suits you best).
Well, I don't know, some of them seem to me rather badly proportioned. I never could get proportions right anyway. I do notice though that with most of them, the proportions are surely no worse, and perhaps even better, than when I try to carefully measure everything! :-)
Anyway, it may be a fun exercise to do every now and then. :-)
It's fine how horrendous quick poses look, the nature of the exercise is to loosen up and try to capture movement instead of the models, mine looks 10x worse xD! What I can suggest with these exercises is instead of petting the lines try to get your whole arm into the action and really try to capture a lot of things with just a line and drawing through the model is perfectly fine. Good luck to you my friend!
A few more 45 second poses from quickposes. I think they actually look a bit better than the previous bunch. Well, at least some of them. Here and there I was reduced to mindless scribbles. :-)
Some further exploratory doodles.
When I tried figure drawing many years ago, the books said the same thing they do today: start with schematic manikin figures and learn to draw them in various positions. I then ran into the same problem I run into now: without a reference I cannot think of a thing for the figures to do. And when I can, I cannot visualize it clearly enough. But I think I tend to bite off more than I can chew: I try positions and actions that are too elaborate, when I can hardly master even very basic standing and sitting positions yet. Thus I think I should first master the very basic positions very thoroughly before trying to imagine acrobats and things.
As for the hand, I find the fingers positions and shapes too complex and therefore confusing. Thus I now deliberately ignore them to try to first get the shape of the thumb and palm more or less right.
A scandalously comic bookified version of a Bouguereau painting. The master is surely turning in his grave. "Copy or copy not! There is no try!" he shouts in his Yoda voice.
As always, issues with accuracy. Though I think it has improved at least a little bit over the years.
Last edited by blogmatix; November 13th, 2012 at 12:19 PM. Reason: Typos
At the school where I work they have been practicing for an upcoming school concert. I'm bored out of my skull, because for the most part I can't just sit and observe either: I have to help with the whole thing, or at least pretend to be interested. But I managed five minutes or so to quickly make a few rather bad sketches - with the subjects moving around all the time it is more challenging than quickposes!
It tells me I should spend more time out and about, sketching real people and learning to quickly capture their essence as they go about their business.
Yeah that was a great idea trying to gesture draw from real life, I suggest you do this whenever you take a public transport or always carry a sketch pad to a public place and gesture draw in your free "waiting" time. I also suggest you focus less on the actual contour of the subject and try to draw through the subject and by using that method try to draw the overall feel of the pose.
Heh, here in South Africa there isn't much in the way of public transport. Can't remember when last I have been on a bus or train.Yeah that was a great idea trying to gesture draw from real life, I suggest you do this whenever you take a public transport or always carry a sketch pad to a public place and gesture draw in your free "waiting" time. I also suggest you focus less on the actual contour of the subject and try to draw through the subject and by using that method try to draw the overall feel of the pose.
Anyway, the gesture sketches do seem to be helping me to loosen up a bit and not be so monstrously tentative. But I'm having a hectic time at work again, so once again my artistic activities are to some extent on hold.
Some mostly disastrous sketches of feet. I have done very little work on figures thus far. When I did draw the occasional figure in the past, I tried to avoid hands and feet, because they're difficult. Of course one should do the opposite: focus specifically on the stuff you find difficult. And it looks like it's going to take a lot of focus. :-)
Back to the drawing board. And anatomy book. But I have a hectic week coming up at work, so I may not have much time.
amazing hard work over here, glad to see you using an anatomy book, sometimes it may seem boring but it really pays off, take it as filling your database for future imagination stuff ;P keep on going!
also try and come up with fast exercises you can do anywhere so you dont have to worry so much about time and you can also feel you excercised your mind muscle a bit, for an example drawing pillows! it may seem strange but the way a pillow stands its very similar to a torso hence when practicing the mentioned pillows slowly try and incorporate torso information and so on so forth you do a bunch of them its really relaxing and sometimes leads to a nice pose its just an idea anyway good luck man! wish you the best
A few more gestures. Somehow they are even more horrible than usual today.
Must be the Vivaldi I was listening to while drawing - it's very relaxing, and not conducive to the adrenalin rush required for gestures. Perhaps some Prokofiev next time?
Yup, learning something about the structure will have to be next, for feet as well as hands. And everything else, for that matter. I think one big challenge is to learn to construct when I draw from observation or reference as well. Whenever I have a reference, I tend to immediately fall back into the old habit of drawing contours, because I struggle to see the basic shapes in there.
Not that I know a thing about construction at this point, but I guess a bit pf practice will set that right. It will have to wait: I am having a monstrous time at work for the next week or three. And in the first week of my holiday I am getting a somewhat unexpected visit from some American friends of mine, so I doubt if I'll get much more done than getting drunk and visiting local tourist traps with them.
After that (so I promise myself) I am plunging into this anatomy and drawing and constructing and cursing Loomis thing big time. :-)
you should take more time to do your studies
Every critique helps me to get on step closer towards my dream so feel free to
I have thought of simply doing the long drawings in shorter sessions, but if I don't make a drawing and get it done with, I often seem to lose momentum and end up making a mess of it. I don't think I'll ever master illusionistic realism. That is fine with me (my artistic ambitions stretch no further than perhaps doing a web comic for my own amusement, and a few sketches for friends), but I wonder whether one can ever master the simplified stuff without first mastering highly rendered realism! :-)
Only one way to find out: at the drawing board. That is one thing I did manage to learn over the years: an artist thinks with his pencil or pen, more than with anything else.
I am not sure if you've noticed this yourself but I really am seeing improvement in your following sketches . I can see that your lines are getting a lot more confident as well as your poses are getting more and more looser and less stiff.
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Rather annoyingly, I have a busy week coming up, but after that I will hopefully be able to get back to drawing.