Visualization and Transposition Help

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Dfish 5 years ago.

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    Hey guys,

    I've been creating art on and off for about the past year and a half, but just started to become more serious about it this past month or so. I've really wanted to hone in on the human form and decided to undertake a gesture drawing study, which has been fun--and painful!--thus far. However, the biggest roadblock for me is how I transpose an image into my sketchbook. Most of the time, I can't visualize how the figure is going to look down in pencil on my sketchpad; sometimes when I make a particularly accurate rendering of the head of some other key body part, I'm able to briefly visualize the rest of the body and try to frantically put it down while it's still fresh in my mind. Most of the time though, I'm left staring at the page willing the figure to magically appear before my eyes so I can put down the lines!

    I think part of the problem is that I'm glancing back and forth between the model and the page too often so I don't have time to think about where to place my next lines in order to keep proportion, etc. It's just really frustrating because sometimes I end up with a good-looking sketch and the other half of my sketches make no sense at all.

    Does anyone else have this problem? Any tips for 'visualization' as I draw? Please and thank you!!

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    You are describing a lack of "mental representations" for anatomy/proportion.
    Think of how you can close your eyes in your bedroom and navigate while generally knowing where objects are even though you can't see anything. That's a mental representation—it's an abstract feeling.

    When you have solid mental representations with regard to anatomy/proportion, and you begin to draw a figure, you can "feel" the rest of the drawing as soon as you draw the head, for instance.

    How do you acquire this? Deliberate practice. You draw, look at your failure, fix it, and repeat over and over and over again. Emphasis on deliberate. Avoid mindless lines—be deliberate and think about what you are specifically trying to get better at before each line you create.

    Also, shrink your goals and lower your bar for what you consider a "win." Work on getting the hips in proportion with the head—if you that closer than what you have before, it's a win. You're filling out a map in your head, 1 subgoal at a time. Eventually, it will be effortless for you, and you'll be able to move on to even more complex things.

    It's a frustrating journey, but it works.



    I think that's the word I was looking for--a mental representation for what I'm trying to transpose onto the page. Great analogy to the bedroom :D.

    My revised plan, based on your insight, is to practice figures without a time limit, but I'm going to try not to get caught too much in the details of the drawing and instead focus on proper proportions, anatomy, etc of the gesture.

    Thank you so much for the feedback! Cheers,



    I'm glad I could help.
    Also, consider the analogy of language. You layer your skills like you layer language skills. Jumping too far ahead of your current skill is like trying to spell difficult words when you struggle with memorizing the alphabet.

    When you're really struggling with some element of drawing, ask yourself: What are the ABC's of this skill? -or- What is the most basic unit of this skill?

    Having a solid mental representation for proper proportion—meaning, you know it like your ABC's—would make learning anatomical forms(muscles, etc.) much easier for you. For example, when trying to learn musculature, having the ability to lay in perfect proportions for a human effortlessly, would allow you to focus more acutely on developing your mental representations for various muscles. Maybe you wouldn't nail the perfect curve to capture the bicep every time or your abdominal muscles might be a bit off, but everything would be proportioned right—the arms wouldn't be too short for the body and the torso wouldn't be too long. Remember, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

    Good Luck.

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