Resources on drawing the figure from imagination

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Egusi Soup 7 months ago.

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    A common line of advice I have heard for being able to draw figures in dynamic poses from imagination is to (1) become competent in manipulating simple primitives in 3D space, (2) practice drawing the simplified mannequin of the human body, and (3) build up visual library through gesture drawing.

    Do you believe this is accurate advice? If so, are there any good books/courses/resources that can walk a person through this process (i.e. constructing the figure from imagination)? If not, what would you recommend?

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    I am admittedly treading on a bit of thin ice here, as I myself haven't found the impetus to dedicate myself to drawing from imagination in a structured manner. I have been wanting to get there eventually, but for now I kind of always get stuck on yet another problem I want to overcome in drawing from observation first. I at least bought a mannequin, now.

    But the general plan looks sound.

    For step 1 I think the source numero uno that has to be mentioned is Great introduction to the concept of line quality, short and crisp, and then goes straight into explaining how to solve the most important problems in perpective drawing. I also love the pedagogical approach, as they provide a good experience of how important structured training for art development is, and how fulfilling it is to watch your own fast progress.

    Been there, done that, can recommend, would do it again, 10/10!

    Step 3 I would recommend doing a course first. I personally did the Figure Drawing Fundamentals on Stan Prokopenko offers free courses and paid courses, but the free courses pretty much include all the essential stuff. I think the idea behind his paid courses is rather, that if you found his teachings valuable enough, you can send him some money, and get some extra freebies as a sign of gratitude.

    The human figure course on starts first and foremost by explaining what basically the torso does, "the masses", before he adds a more detailed explanation about the joints and limbs. I found his lessons and assignments convincing, easy to follow, and feel confident in applying what I learned from the course. I am pretty certain the principles taught apply equally to drawing both form observation and imagination, just I personally have been glued to one side so far.

    There are probably other good tutorials on the topic, too, but is at least extremely solid, 9/10, I would say.

    For gesture drawing from observation, you need stuff to observe. You are already on, but I feel also deserves a recommendation. Very similar concept, just without the forum and critique aspect, but a different set of photographers and models, which actually makes more of a difference, than I would have expected.

    The step 2, the mannequin... all I can say, quite a while back I experimented with just trying to draw a model that I could observe from one side also from all the other sides, and the attempt drove me nuts. Which is why I decided to get the mannequin, so I could solve the 99 problems with perspective, that immediately appeared. Now I just need the drive to rate drawing from imagination higher on my to do list, and to find the energy to finish my other projects quicker to get to it.

    A quite popular author for gesture drawing seems to be Mike Matessi, who is associated with the Force method. I personally must say, he is certainly a heck of an artist, his style is amazing, and the results he and people who studied his method produce are top notch. But to be heretical, I personally just don't understand, what he is talking about, when he explains his stuff. Clearly a lot of the words he uses are quite metaphorical, and when I can watch him or an accomplished pupil perform their drawings on video, while rapping Matessi's explanations in an inner monologue style, I kinda start to understand, what the words are meant to convey, but to me, his private language just ain't simple english.


    Wow. I appreciate you immensely for such a thorough, and detailed response. Glad to hear this structure seems to be on the right path for trying to improve in imaginative figure drawing.

    I have also heard great things about some of the sources you have recommended (DrawABox, Proko, Force Drawing), so I'll make sure to try them out in full. I definitely agree about the concept of "force" seeming a bit abstract. I watched one of Mike's videos awhile back and was completely lost, but perhaps going through his book sequentially will help elucidate his process. So many people swear by it so there must be some nuggets of artist wisdom that can be gained from it, but of course, I imagine even great courses/books don't connect for everyone.

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