I already have problems understanding the tutorial.

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Aunt Herbert 6 months ago.

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    Hi, as I mentioned in the title, I don't understand the instructions on how to begin drawing human poses. It first instructs me to draw a line that is not an 'S' in about 10 seconds. Then it presents the most awkward, stiff, and perspective-defying poses known to man, and I really don't know how to apply this method. Honestly, I'm unsure of what kind of line of force I should use if the person is standing perfectly still or hanging from something. Should its line of action be a stick, not a 'C' shape?

    Another thing, why are there so many photos of people in wheelchairs when the tutorial doesn't teach me anything about these mechanical contraptions? I really hope someone can help me understand how to navigate this situation because learning this skill is already difficult for me, despite my best efforts when I was younger. I can't comprehend those artists on YouTube who share their life experiences and somehow reach a professional level in just three years.

    I might sound exhausted, but that's because I am, and I really hate failing despite following the instructions.

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    The tutorial pulls randomly from the entire library of poses. It will be a different set of photos every time you run it, just as with any other drawing tool on the site. There are a relatively small number of wheelchair photos in our library compared to others; if you got more than one, it sounds like you had a strange bit of luck. Luckily, if one pose doesn't work for you, you can skip ahead until one does. Yes, a person standing exactly straight could have a stick shaped line of action.

    You don't need to draw props or seats or indeed wheelchairs to complete the exercises involved in the tutorial.


    I agree with what Kim says, Idon'tknow, from what I understand, you don't have to draw the wheelchair in the pose, if you have to just skip it, but you can draw a wheelchair, if you really want to, couldn't you? But don't take my word for it, some lines of action come in all straights and curves, if you really catch my drift.

    Please make sure you've found these of what we said of greater use to you, and thanks.


    The reason I didn't think to skip those images is that I thought the site would consider them as already completed, and to me, I thought it was cheating. With that being said, if i ever find them again in my lifetime, how is this method used for these kinds of sedentary poses? If I get the solution, I would not even bother to find those wheelchair poses at all. I tried doing them anyway. If you want, you can see them and tell me what you think of it.


    Still, thanks for the time you spent considering my request for help. I am grateful.


    Frankly, I don't focus on the action line myself very much, unless I spot one clearly. It is a bit of a part of theory, related also to Matessi's force drawing method, where if I watch someone do it repeatedly on a video, I start to get what it is all about, but I don't get why they have to describe it in these exact terms. To me it is quite metaphorical language, just not plain english. It kind of makes sense in theory, and it sounds like a very simple concept, but if you try to apply it to a random template, it can turn out to be way more complex then advertised.

    My main reason for having the tutorial on is for getting a warning before the timing for the next image changes. But on the days when I want to focus on being a good student, the idea, as I understood it and practice it, is to find the longest simple curve, that you could fit into the silhouette of the template.

    This is an extremely condensed shortcut of the form, something that would stick in your memory even if you saw a shadow of the template for a blink of an eye and only out of the corners of your vision. One line to describe a pose, I think the concept was originally developed by dance choreographers, who invented a way to note down choreographies in a simplified way.

    To your practical example:

    Your image shows two poses, and you use the word "sedentary" to describe them. I would agree for the girl in the wheelchair, and the action line for her to me would be almost curled up.

    The standing girl I would rather rate as "static", and the action line would be almost a vertical from her head to the foot which supports most of her weight. It wouldn't be completely straight, as she isn't standing completely straight. Her hip is tilted to the side to shift her weight a bit, and I would try to tilt the action line to cross her hip bone orthogonally. If she would be standing in a more dynamic, off-centre way, i might decide to draw the action line from her head towards the extended foot.

    If you don't find any convincing action line, in a pinch, you can still try to just guess where the spine should be, that is usually good enough for most purposes.

    I find the action line a bit easier to understand, once you get better at the second step, allocating the masses: head, ribcage and hip. I mentioned proko.com before, and in comparison this site has an overly simple description (basically you are instructed to just draw two circles), that makes it harder to build on. Proko spends quite some time showing how to develop effective shortcuts for the ribcage and hip, and how they define the torso.

    A typical, typical beginner mistake is to draw the torso too straight, with not enough angling between hip and ribcage, and if you train your eye on finding the action line, you often find more convincing solutions for the placement of the masses. But then, to get a feeling for what that darn action line is supposed to accomplish in the first place, you need some experience of having struggled with placing those masses.

    The problem with the tutorial on this site, it abbreviates very complex concepts into just enough sentences to fit onto a one page description and a few pop up messages between poses. When I showed up here, I knew those (or very similar) concepts, explained to me in way more detail from Stan Prokopenski, and I understood, what they are talking about.

    And it probably makes sense for the concept of this website to keep those descriptions so extremely short, but it feels like an ambitious kids cartoon explaining how the drive shift of a car is assembled. It is all technically correct, but a bit sparse for practical application.

    About the photos on this page: Well, the wild west crazy times of the interwebs are past us, copyrights exist and are stringently enforced, so LoA can only work with photographers and models they can afford. And those are basically fellow artists, who do their best of providing us with useful templates for drawing. And with about as much of a mixed success as our own attempts at drawing. Being a bit heretical, quickposes.com has a very similar set-up to LoA, and frankly a lot of their poses seem to be just easier to draw from. LoA's templates indeed have a tendency to be rather challenging.

    I think the #1 potential LoA has, is that it combines the timed poses mechanic with a forum. But it takes us as a community to learn how to successfully exchange our thoughts about our practice and art in general to grow this forum into a vibrant space.


    Part 2: I actually hadn't done poses for a while, as I was more interested in portraits, so what I wrote above was mostly from memory. And the topic was: This is how I think the tutorial is supposed to be followed.

    I just went and did a 30 minute class, to fresh up my memory about how I actually do it usually. First: Ouch, drawing isn't like cycling, I get rusty quick in solving specific drawing problems, when I don't keep up practicing them.

    But, what I feel is most important about the "action line" part, and how I do practice it, isn't so much about actually studying the human figure, but about finding the balance between composition and details.

    The old beginner's mistake of wanting to focus on all the details first is still in my blood, and the quick poses force me to find big lines first, to get an idea of the overall image sketched out, before touching any details with a 9 foot pole. So the problem I am focused on isn't so much: "Where does the tutorial exactly want me to put down those lines?" or even "Where would Stan Prokopenko put those lines?" but "How can I identify this pose with as few lines as possible?"

    The quick poses are about finding shortcuts for the overall design. LoA, Proko, they offer general solutions for this shortcuts, but in the end, it is me, who has to work from these shortcuts, so I put them, where they help me to understand the pose. Following the advice of smarter people is generally a good idea, but when applying it to a concrete model, I often skip those advices, and just draw the most prominent lines, that I do see.

    Having followed proko and LoA changed what lines my eyes are drawn to, but leaving the ladder you climbed behind you is also a valid move, as long as you don't forget where you are going to.

    Now, when the site switches from quick poses to increasingly longer poses, the problems of the thesis are revealed. Quick lines can be thrown down without much measuring, and give a good impression, but when the time frame increases, all that is left to be done is adding more details.

    And what details allow is to measure with a lot more precision, and suddenly the imprecisions in proportions are revealed. So the skill I am practicing is balancing details and composition.

    If I plop down the base lines for a 10 minute or longer drawing within 30 seconds, the measurements are so far off, that the result starts to look crappy when I start adding in details. So for those longer poses, the initial lines have to be more precise, and measured, and without details finding marks to measure from is hard. Which for me means that during a timed course with increasing time, I actually switch my overall strategy several times, and the learning experience a lot comes from being aware of that juggling act between following a grande design, and using details tactically as a tool to successfully measure, instead of zooming in on a single detail from the start and losing all sense of proportions as a result.

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