Critique: 5 min sketch

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Polyvios Animations 2 weeks ago.

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  • #31819

    Haven't drawn in over 3 months, trying to improve proportion + work on shape language

    • joiy edited this post on June 22, 2024 12:01am. Reason: Forgot to include image
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    Hi joiy.

    Good that you found back to the drawing board. I like the simple shapes you settled on. Your focus on proportions works, the relation between head, torso and legs is natural.

    One thing, that I am just not sure about: did you draw the figure diagonally on purpose? It could kind of make sense, but there is a bit of a doubt, as the diagonal tilt could also be caused by starting boldly with the tilted shoulderline, and then being tempted to stiffen the pose by "adjusting" the central axis to reduce the impact of your initial decision.

    There would be two tips that would derive from that:

    a) work with a "plumbline", that is, make sure, that points on the figure that are directly vertically aligned on the reference stay directly vertically aligned on the drawing.

    Typical points to look out for on an upright figure are, for the head, the tips of the jaw and the nose, to find the center line for the face, for the upper torso the jugular and solar plexus, which determine the orientation of the ribcage, for the lower torso the belly button and the crotch, which indicate the position of the hip. Imagine a vertical straight line through the figure and observe how much these points are to the left or right of it.


    b) try to understand to how much of a degree the shoulder joints are independent of the upper torso and their range of motion.

    Your base construction for the upper torso at the moment seems more or less a flat rectangle, which is a bit the worst of two approaches.

    For basic underlying shapes, I would recommend mentally separating the upper toso into ribcage and shoulders. The best form for the upper end of the ribcage is the top of an egg. The very top of the egg connects to the neck exactly at the jugular, where also the collar bones start, that connect to the shoulder joints. Off course the shoulders obscure most of the eggform of the ribcage, but keeping it in your mind's eye makes the analysis of that body part much easier.

    There is an idea to reduce most of the body forms into boxes, to get more into a perspective view, but the thing about boxes is, that they are there to indicate three dimensionality, and even if you had that in mind, the rectangle you chose is still flat, and also, perspective drawing does not change that the shoulders have a degree of individual freedom from the ribcage.

    On another note, I think you should spend a bit of warm up time practicing long straight lines and clean curves. Just put two points on the paper, not too close to each other, hold your pen just above the paper and repeatedly move your hand like you were drawing (make sure, neither your wrist nor your elbow is resting on a surface, so you initiate the movement from the shoulder) until you see a shadow of the line appear, then draw the line in one motion exactly straight and exactly from point to point. The focus should be completely on the fine coordination of all your muscles involved in that movement.

    For practicing curves, just draw clean circles freehand. Repeat every circle twice without stopping. Draw circles in both directions. When your circles over time become cleaner, and you want to spice it up, draw random uneven crosses, and start matching them with ellipses.

    It's not that your line quality is absolutely horrible, but it isn't great either, and the earlier you start practicing line quality, the less you have to retrain later.

    Just a few minutes of this stuff before the start of every drawing practice will make a world of difference in how you move your pen in a relatively short time.

    1 1

    Congrats on getting back into drawing after a little bit of hiatus. It is always difficult getting back into it after a break!

    I think that if your goal is to improve proportions and shape language I would say to slow down and focus on the construction of the figure. Practice simple poses and measure out your forms so that things are in the right place. Gaining an eye for proportion takes a lot of practice I think, so getting in as much focused practice to train yourself to notice when the proportions are looking off will get you to where you want to be. Breaking down the figure into basic shapes can be really helpful.

    All the best of luck!


    Hello, joiy.

    Nicest job on your range of life and pizzazz to your roughest and sketchiest figure sketch. I absolutely admire your rhythm, lines of action, flow, and fluidity of your pose above in that link, but I think you're really catching up and on. I feel that the gestures are getting too shakiest against your silhouette and relationships yet. How would you like to make your figure drawings most alive with 9 drawings of bodies with 2 minutes for each?

    The reason why you could and should be on board with this is because, your lines of action, rhythm and pose shapes can and will become the most alive and most internally motivated in your storytelling poses. As Glen Keane puts and put it:

    Animate drawings from the heart.

    Normally it's associated with drawn animation, but it can and will be specifically and generally useful for anything. So for most details, please pick up a copy of Daniel Coyle's The Little Book of Talent. Thank you.


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