Improving technique

Improving technique: Giving good critique

When to give critique Someone has asked you to critique their work? Wow! That must mean that they think you are talented, intelligent, and all around wonderful. Good on you! But hold on! As flattering as it is, don't automatically say yes. The person asking you for critique is someone actively looking to improve their work. They may be committed to practicing to improve in the problem areas that... Continue reading

Improving technique: Benefiting from critique

One of the hardest - and most important - skills for an artist to master is taking critique. It can sting to hear that there are flaws in your hard work, and the natural impulse is to shut down, become defensive, and try to explain away issues in the work as not your fault. A favorite refrain of people who are having trouble taking critique is "this was just a quick sketch." But no matter how... Continue reading

Improving technique: Gesture basics #3: Joints

The most mobile bones of the body attach to one another in a series of "ball and socket" joints, around which they can pivot and rotate. These joints are often deep inside the body, and not visible to the naked eye. For example, consider the thigh connecting to the hip. A small protrusion of bone known as the "Femoral head" joins the femur to the hip socket. This socket is so ensconsed in muscle... Continue reading

Improving technique: Gesture basics #2: Head, ribcage and pelvis

Once you have established the line of action (See Gesture basics #1) you are ready to place the three major ovals of the body: The head, ribcage and pelvis. Noting their locations should take you 5 to 10 seconds. When viewed from the outside, it's harder to see the underlying skeletal structure, and beginners are often tricked into thinking of the human trunk as being one shape like so: But... Continue reading

Improving technique: Gesture basics #1: Line of action

Whether from life or from imagination, the first mark made in most figure drawings is the line of action. You can think of the line of action as an imaginary line that runs down the spine. The more curve you put into that line, the more attitude, force and/or movement the image will communicate to your viewers. When drawing from life, begin by finding the line of action and noting it down. If you wish,... Continue reading