First time figure drawing!

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Line 5 years ago.

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  • #2825

    Hey all,

    I'm looking to spend the next few months beefing up my portfolio for art school (I'd like to pursue animation), and I started figure drawing a few days ago to get a feel for it. Since then, I've been practicing with the 30-minute class mode every single day!

    Overall, I'd love any and all critique on my anatomy/construction to help further jump-start my improvement leading up to December admission deadlines

    Drawings here!

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    Hey Rocket Jumper64,

    Just want to say "good job!" on the the past few days daily practice, maintaining a daily drawing routine can be tough, but it can pay dividends over time if you keep it up, it up!

    I'm no pro when it comes to drawing, but since you are ultimately interested in animation and having completed a 2 year 3d animation course myself... awhile ago... I figure I can offer up some bits I learned as a student :)

    When it comes to drawing figures, or animated characters for that matter, the greatest factor in how "sucessful" a drawing looks is in the "read-ability" of a pose. This really comes from laying down a good "flowing" gesture drawing. If you can then build good structure (anatomy) over that gesture you'll end up with a figure drawing (or key frame of animation) that really "sings" and sells the whole thing.

    Rather than just suggest working of gesture and anatomy (which is the generic advice you usually see) I'd like to offer up a couple strategies I've found helpful and maybe you can use them.

    Firstly though, here's what I think is working for you, from the images you've linked, I can see what looks like a pretty good sense of proportion and a decent sence of perspective, you've included some anatomical markers like nipples, navels, scapula and ribs. The ocassional inclusion of hair is also a plus!

    Looking at your linked pics, I see a couple things I'd like to address. Since you are drawing in a sketchbook, I'm guessing that you are drawing with you wrist planted on the page? Looking at some of the outlines I can see that some of them are made up of several small lines compounded together. So my first suggestion is to try lifting your wrist from the page and try drawing from the shoulder. The reason being that it will allow you to draw longer smoother lines.

    Ok, let's cut to the quick here, some strategies and suggestions you might like to try!

    1) Try to draw the gesture of the whole pose in 10 seconds, regardless of the pose time. Basically if you can get the gist of a pose down (even if it only makes sense to you) in 10 seconds, that leaves you the rest of the time to develop structure and detail, the longer the pose, the more time you'll have.

    2) Don't be afraid to "draw through" your drawing. Basically I mean, it's ok to drawn the hidden parts of a pose, like a arm behind the back, or a crossed leg for example. It will help you get a sense of the whole form without just relying on the "outline" you can see. If you are drawing an animated character in a pose without reference, you'll need to understand how the bits you can't see are working.

    3) Try "skating" the page, or in otherwords, try drawing some poses without lifting your drawing implement. Move your pencil quickly in straighter lines and really bear down darkly on those hard curves. The difference in line weight can sell the feeling or tension of parts in a drawing.

    4) Draw cross contours. Cross contours are lines that wrap around a form to describe it's shape. So if you draw a curved line around a leg (a quad say) from the outside to the inside, it helps to show the form is rounded, good forshortening and overlap help tons as well.

    5) Try to "feel" the pose with your own muscles as you draw, it may seem silly but it can give you a sense of where the tension, weight and "force" lies in a pose

    6) Try drawing with different mediums, I recomend a sharpie marker, it forces you to commit to your lines, be bold!

    7) Try drawing in long lines, commit, make one line even if it curves back and forth like an S, in one stroke. One idea, one line! So for example, if you are drawing the underside of the arm, try not to make several small lines along the form, but create it in one foul swoop. Even if you have to adjust it by putting in other single lines, it will create a form that both reads and looks better!

    Alright, well sorry if I rambeled there, just hope this will help in some small way.

    PS: Good job on seeking critiques, it's scary as hell, not everyone has the guts! :)

    4 1

    Thank you so much!! These are super helpful, and I'll definitely follow them in my practice later today. If you have any other tips, I'd be more than happy to hear them as well.


    Flarebrush needs extra cred for this indepth critique. Props dood!


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