Old Figure Study for 1 minute

by Polyvios Animations, June 24th 2021 © 2021 Polyvios Animations

Done as part of a practice session with an interative tutorial

My current goal is: Make my figure suggestions less stiff, and more dynamic, energetic and fluid.

Here's the first one since the first one I've posted here on this site. What do you think of my work now?

Aunt Herbert

The pose is clear, but the proportions are way off. The front arm is bigger than the entire body, and the nose is almost as big as the entire head. The goal of quick sketches is to get used to natural proportions without having to stop and think about them each time. The way to learn proportions is to focus very heavily on getting both pose and proportions right, until you no longer need conscious effort to get them right each time.

Most people struggle to find the flow of the pose, but have a better sense of proportions. You have a keen eye for the flow, but your proportions seem almost surreal. Now, surreal proportions can be an interesting stylistic choice, but sticking to a "style" because someone lacks the craftsmanship to deviate from it, is frankly an excuse to avoid artistic growth. For most people it would be a challenge to consciously exagerate the proportions as much as you do it naturally, but for you the true challenge seems to go the other way - find the "conventional" proportions, so you can make a conscious decision when to use them.

The black drape is prominent on the reference, and you decided to feature it prominently. Unfortunately you indicated the black plane of the drapes with a very restless kind of hatching pattern, which strongly distracts from the body itself. This is a general problem of hatching out planes to indicate a dark tone: Unless you do it in a very controlled and regular manner, the eye will try to extract informations from it, where your intent was to merely block out a shape. If you compare the number of strokes you used just to indicate: "There is something black here" to the number of lines you used to indicate the figure itself, those are considerable more lines, and the attention of the viewer will be drawn there and distracted from the figure.

In a quick sketch it is often better to just indicate the outline of a darker plane, and leave the dark plane itself blank, than to risk distracting from the central figure with bad hatching. Learning to hatch properly is a quite arduous task, as hatching is not about wild and dynamic lines, but about finding a very controlled and regular pattern. In a way you need to train to be "boring" with your hatching lines, so as not to distract from your central message. The book: "Rendering in pen and ink" by Arthur L. Guptill is available as free pdf and provides training exercises for hatching in its first chapters. Warning: these exercises are not really "fun" to do, as they are not about wild dynamic movement, but all about 100% control over the pen. It's more like eating your vegetables or doing the dishes. You only do them, because you know, you'll be better off after you done them. I am not 100% sure, whether it's even a good time for you to put your efforts into them right now, probably avoiding hatching altogether, and instead focusing on getting your proportions right, is a better way to spend your energy for the time being.

Also the fact, that apparently a drawing from the back side of the paper is bleeding through quite heavily is unfortunate. That further distracts from the central figure and adds an unnecessary amount of messyness to the image. I don't know about your economical situation, but pinching pennies on paper isn't a good idea. Your crayons are probably way more expensive than proper paper. For now, regular printer paper is sufficient in quality, and a packet with 100 pages comes at less than 1 Euro. Use white paper, without lines or squares, and don't use both sides of a page with anything darker than pencil.

I would love to see some newer drawings from you, where you attempt to tackle the problems of pose and proportions on a regular old figure drawing.

Polyvios Animations

Gotcha, Stefan!

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