figuring out figure drawing - how does one improve in anatomy, anyway?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Rongogh_Art 4 years ago.

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    Deleted user

    link on imgur (hopefully it works)

    hello hello! i am a beginner in figure drawing, and i would like you to tell me which areas i need to improve in!

    i also have a few questions:

    (1) how do you show that the model is 3d? more specifically, when you break the figure down into 3d shapes, how do you translate that illusion of depth into the final refined image?

    (2) how do i use cross contour in a figure drawing? if i try to draw a line that transitions from contour to cross contour, i get really confused.

    please give me your opinions, and if you have any resources that you think could help, i'd love to see them!

    p.s. i know, the sketches are messy; i hope it doesn't interfere too much!


    • Deleted user edited this post on April 27, 2020 10:50pm. Reason: (critique please!)
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    Good foundation, I would work on line quality and anatomy.

    Line quality: don't use such short, sketchy lines. Try moving your arm around with your shoulder. Notice how the movement is a lot more smooth and wide than wrist movement? If you lock your wrist and elbow and move with your shoulder as you draw, you'll get more control over your lines. Practice that by doing a bunch of straight lines and circles.

    Anatomy: Proko on YouTube has great free videos. I've had a lot of improvement by watching his videos on a muscle group and then using Line of Action to practice it. Make sure to think of the forms in 3d, and observe your own body.

    If you start off with a solid foundation, the 3d should come pretty naturally. Obviously shading will help, but it's more like icing. The big thing is probably overlapping forms. Don't just draw solid contours, make the lines overlap a little. Study other artists to figure out how they do it.


    Aaron Blaise has a full course on anatomy on his website, and is currently selling it at 1$ (instead of 60$) because of the recent events, there's like 9 hours of videos/demos for proportions/body part etc, for 1$ it's absolutely worth it !

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    One book that is very good for beginners is Nicolaides The Naural Way to Draw. It is old but the methods are still used all over. You can get a copy on ebay or Amazon for very little.

    Good luck!

    Deleted user

    thanks for helping me out! i usually don't ask for critique that often, so this experience was really encouraging. thank you so much!


    What I did is import the image in in clip art studio or you can use any other digital drawing or even print it out and trace it on the paper. I trace over the muscles to get a feel of the muscle then I draw the bones on the side and fill out the muscles on it. Proko on youtube and Aaron Blaise on his website are great but I found it hard to get into when you are an absolute beginner. After you get the feel of the muscles go study each individual muscle to know the smalls details, the small bumps etc. You can do that by watching proko's muscle series or take Aaron Blaise's course. Get the Blaise quick though because it is only 1 dollar right now.


    1) Try using shapes that are already 3D, like cubes intead of squares, that will help with the end result. You could use some x-ray pictures to give you more of an idea and study anatomy before drawing the human form.

    I hope I could help. :)


    Exceptional job on your first time, multimediamouse. To answer your question: If you wanna show the model in 3d, why don't your economize it with as fewer lines as possible in a 30 second sketch. Why??? Because your dimensions will become the least stiffest, and the most solidest, fluidest, and the liveliest of all.

    I'm not the right person to answer all of your questions, so I'd to pick one of the group, and I hope that helps very, very, very much.

    Polyvios Animations


    I would reccomend to you a book by Andrew Loomis Figure Drawing for All It's Worth. It was written in the early 1940s but it is jam packed about how to portray the human body and easily answers the questions you asked.

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    Judging by the drawings, it appears that you do know how a 3d geometric shape fits into space. Now it's time to figure out how the figure fits into those shapes. Try searching google and youtube for the Reilly method of drawing. It is a great technique that breaks down the form into geomatric shapes. Also, unless you are depicting an exaggerated forshortening/extreme angle, you won't bet depicting depth on a figure very often. Instead, you will be showing or not showing (if out of view), where a given body part is and what direction it is moving in. For example, if you were to draw the head in a 3/4 view that is verging on profile, you would need to understand that the eye sitting further behind is invariably going to be covered or mostly covered by the nose depending on the angle of the view. When you get a handle on the nuances of drawing the figure, you will get better at drawing the figure in space. Long story short, focus on the human anatomy and what each part looks like in any angle, and you will be able to draw a figure in a 3D space.

    As for countours and cross contours, think of the contour as the outline of each shape that is created by the body. Try using the shadows as your cross contours. when carefully observing you will notice that each shadow creates its own shape. A good trick would bet to use bolder lines for your contours and more delicate lighter lines for cross contour. Note: Contour drawing is best practiced by using one continuous line as best as possible, to draw your figure. Try avoid lifting the pencil/pen/brush and try not tracing over the lines multiple times.

    I see a lot of good potential. Keep up your practices and study your anatomy. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!! :)

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