Advice needed on clarity and whether if i am ready to move on to studying anatomy

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Zhaoxiong 2 years ago.

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    Any advice on drawing the torso? i seem to struggle with it a lot since i dont really know how to draw the connection between the torso and the pelvis, i tend to elongate it a lot. Additionally, i struggle with drawing twisting forms as everytime i draw it, im liable to making it not twisted.

    By the way, if you spot more mistakes that i missed, feel free to tell me.

    Finally, may i know whether studying anatomy will help me with my gesture drawings? How in depth should i study it? I appreciate you taking your time to read this. :)

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    Hi! Lovely work first of all, big fan of the 2nd drawing (the one from the back) - great sense of movement in the spine and the limbs.

    I'll address each of your points in turn - this ended up long, please bear with me.

    - If you're struggling with the size of a body part, you have to measure it more closely! This doesn't mean pull out a ruler, but you should study the bones/muscles in that section of the body, and then find something consistent on the rest of the body to measure them against.

    Using the head as a measurement for the height of the figure is a pretty common refrain for beginners (you probably know that people are around 7/8 heads tall, depending on how stylised you want to be). But this trick actually applies to a lot of body part measurements.

    These are sometimes called 'figure landmarks', and are what you can use to measure proportions quickly. Small things like how the crook of the elbow is close to the navel, or how your feet are about the same length as your forearm. These sorts of checks can take a long time at first, but you'll speed up.

    If you're struggling with the pelvis, maybe see how the height/width of the pelvis compares to the height of the head?

    - In terms of twisting forms, consider thinking of the torso and pelvis as 3d boxes rather than outlines or ovals. If you draw a long box facing one way, and a smaller cube facing a different way, and then put a single line of action through the middle of both boxes; you can use that as a ribcage, pelvis, and spine.

    - RE 'mistakes', I note that on your shaded drawing, the head is remarkably small? This ties back to the above measurement and proportions, but: on longer drawings, since you're less focused on capturing the gesture and more on the detail, you could use the additional time to measure more accurately instead of shading.

    (Although, I while I think you should de-emphasise shading for now, I don't think it's good to ignore it entirely... make sure to return to it once in a while. Since your anatomy studies won't be timed warmups, you can have fun doing shading there!)

    - So yes - anatomy will absolutely help your gesture drawings! There's no real 'point' in which you should 'move on' to anatomy, as the two work in tandem.

    Most anatomy books specifically designed for artists will be where you need to stop in terms of depth. I like the book 'Anatomy for Sculptors' as it uses photographs instead of drawings, which show which muscles and bones are actually visible from the outside of the body.

    - And also, regarding overall visual clarity: I find that clarity in quick gesture/figure drawings can often be boiled down to 'using less lines, but with more careful intent'. You've already got good, confident lines down, especially on your limbs and torsos, and I think you'll benefit from further focus on that.

    Try to reduce the amount of lines you use. I think the circles/half-circles you're using to mark joints and indicate cylindrical shapes are confusing the overall shape a bit? Maybe try to draw those construction lines smaller or lighter - or don't draw them at all!

    Hopefully this helps! Let me know if you need anything clarified! :)


    So, eevee, I see where you're going with these sketches of the bodies. I really love how quick and nearly recognizable your quick torsos are so much.

    And as for your torso problems,- they're gonna sound a bit too long, so please bear with me

    -The ribcage section of that is a bit too stretched out to me, cause you really did pay attention to the relationships of the torso, as connected to the rest of the body.

    Solution: Work out the torso warm-ups with 1 hour of 29 second bodies from photos, life classes (Zoom or otherwise), and this link on some drawing torso tips and tricks, if you can learn and use it, then apply it to the formed finished drawing.

    The arguement behind this is the question: Anatomy, how indepth can you study it?- Well, my suggestion is that you can and shall be able to do the quick roughs that have a sense of give and life to them, especially when it comes to the elaborate studies of nudes/non-nudes.

    Cheers, and I hope this helps you out even the most.



    I think you may benefit from working with Higher H pencils and work your way up to B pencils. Your hand to surface looks like you may be a naturally hard presser of the pencil when creating searching lines. That's fine. But to aid your drawing skills, don't fight the way you draw the image. Instead, why not try starting with lower value pencils first? Then when you feel you understand your searching lines, take more confidence and move in with a softer, richer graphite pencil.

    I think you will see a real difference in your gesture drawings if you make this small change. This drawing style works best for graphics 1 minute or more. Unless you have spent 15 minutes on 5-second pictures, then switch to 30-second drawings. Then you will find that it is relatively easy to change pencils in that small time frame.

    If you are still keen to stay with your same pencil value, I suggest doing some pencil control exercises before you start your gesture drawing. I know most times gestures are study drawings. But if you work on your pressure to penmanship skills, your gestures will be more expressive because you will have better control over your hand-eye coordination.

    If you would like a terrific resource full of drawing exercises, try Drawing, A Contemporary Approach by Claudia Betti and Teel Sale. I have the 5th edition; there may be more updated ones than my version of the textbook. I always turn to it when I need to get back to the basics.

    Enjoy your pigment pushing.

    All the best

    JCML Fine Art


    Hi Eevee, great drawings! Your drawings are stylized and fun! I especially like how you "draw through", aka how you draw not just what is visible, but also the forms that are not visible but lead to what is visible. For example, you pencil in the hidden parts of the pelvis or the left leg.

    Regarding the torso, I've seen broadly 2 basic approaches. The two box method that others have mentioned (1 for the ribcage and 1 for the pelvis). To me, this method usually produces a more masculine figure. The egg and cradle method (I just made the name up) uses an egg shape for the ribcage and a bowl or cradle or saddle for the pelvis. This usually produces a more feminine figure.

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