Critique on Figure Drawings

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This topic contains 42 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Joshua 3 years ago.

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    I saw the way the person does gestures in the videos, and I think that's a bit of a step forward from where you're at now. Possibly the reason why you struggled so much with your attempt. Remember that teachers usually already know how to and have developed their own style, so trying to copy their techniques too closely might lead to missing out on some of the learning process.

    The gestures you've been doing so far look good. :) I recommend to continue practicing that way until you're comfortable and not trying other methods or styles until then.

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    Thanks Sanne. I'll stick to how I've been doing it so far.

    Here's today's attempt.


    Here's today's attempt.

    I think from now on I'm going to try to fit in another 5-minute exercise or two if I have the time.

    Edit: I can see the link when I edit the post, but when viewed in the forum neither the text nor the link can be seen (the rest of the line is blank after "Here's"). Here's the url in text:


    Here's today's attempt.

    I did a few more longer drawings today.



    Having a lot of fun watching your progress! :)


    Hey Joshua,
    Your consistency and dedication is admirable! After looking through your drawings on deviantart I can say that you are definitely practicing the right things. So WHAT you’re are practicing is right. To reach the next level, however, you’ll have to pay more attention on the execution of these exercises.

    The most important aspect of drawing to pay attention to is line. Since line is what you’re going to use to create everything else in drawing, your ability to control your line work will affect everything else. So it is important to spend time practicing line control. You should be able to draw both straight and curved lines quite well without the aid of any kind of ruler. You should lock your wrist and draw from the shoulder using your whole arm. This is especially crucial for drawing straight lines, otherwise they will end up looking wobbly. (You can watch a demonstration of this in this video, starting around the 7th minute:

    On the most basic level you should practice drawing straight lines, curves and ellipses and be able to draw them well! Your circles for examples should actually look like circles, and drawing from the shoulder making a circular motion with your pencil will help you get them right.

    For the cubes, the lines need to be straight and executed with one stroke instead of little scratchy ones. Also watch out for distortion. The lines need to converge properly according to their vanishing points. The cubes should really be drawn as tight as what you would see in reality.
    Mastering line control and drawing basic geometric forms in perspective will in turn improve your figure drawings. The figure is a complex form existing in a 3D space after all.


    Thanks Swen. I practised trying to draw straight lines that way here. "Trying" is the key word here!

    Here are the figures I drew today.


    I drew these figures today.
    The last figure was facing the camera, with an arm stretched towards it. In my drawing, it looks like the shoulders are on backwards and the viewer is looking at the back of the head and shoulders. I tried fixing it by changing how the arms connect to the body, but that didn't change anything.



    Hey Joshua! Your gestures are looking good, keep it up. :)

    For the one where you have trouble with the foreshortening, I think that is largely something you can solve by gaining a better understanding of how perspective works. Does this tutorial help you out at all? If you can better understand this, you can use gesture shapes to recreate a foreshortening effect as well. Let us know if this is helpful, and if not we can look further for more resources and maybe some redlines to help you out. :)


    Thanks for the link Sanne!

    One thing I'm noticing looking at the examples (particularly at the rectangles in the "Receding Plane Technique" section) in that link is that the sharper the angle of a long 3D object (e.g. an arm) towards the paper, the closer the vanishing point is to the end of the object. I know from perspective that lines that are parallel to each other but not to the paper converge on a vanishing point (although I've never thought to apply this to my figure drawings). One thing that struck me looking at the examples is that the vanishing point for a limb is only a little above or below the end of the limb when the limb is at a sharp angle to the viewer, while the vanishing point is further from the end of the limb when the limb is viewed from straight on. I've also noticed that vanishing point is also 'behind' the object (if the artist is in 'front' of the page) regardless of the orientation of the object.

    In my next figure drawings I'm going to try to locate and mark the vanishing point of each limb. This might be difficult because, looking at the examples on that page, the edges of the limb can appear to converge an a vanishing point when in reality the end of the limb really is thinner than the other end due to the shape of that limb e.g. if you look at the arm in the "Receding Plane Technique" section or the upper legs of the figure at the end of the "Size, Overlapping Shapes, and Surfaces" section, the ends of those limbs appear to converge in the opposite direction of where the vanishing point really is due to the shape of the arm/leg.

    I just realise that this is essentially the receding plane technique in reverse - instead of finding where the vanishing point is by first sketching a trapezoid, this is finding where the trapezoid would be by first locating the vanishing point.



    That sounds like a good project. Keep in mind this may be a challenge you need to work on for some weeks or months or years -- you are correct in the difficulties you've identified to mastering it, and try to continue being patient with your learning process. :) (Foreshortening STILL throws me for a loop)


    I separated the foreshortening exercise and the figure-drawing exercise into two different pages.

    On this page I drew the rough shape of a forearm in a rectangle in the top-left, and then tried to draw the same shape at various angles (either going into the page or coming out of it). Unfortunately it didn't turn out as I'd hoped.

    Here are today's figure-drawing exercises.

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