Working on Life Drawing
I was thrilled to see that Katherine Tyrell had linked to some of my life drawing posts on her incredible blog Making a Mark, which is essential reading for anyone interested in making art. She herself is a wonderful artist, and she somhow finds the time to write about lots of other artists, plus many other art-related topics.
This has inspired me to write a bit about some things I’ve been doing which I think are helping me improve my technique faced with a model. Progress is excruciatingly slow, but when I look back on the work I did last year, I can definitely see an improvement, small as it is.
First, I recommend that anyone who’s remotely interested in the subject should absolutely check out Katherine’s article, (which also features Laura Frankstone’s beautiful work and links to Felicity and Dee Farnsworth ) as well as her new tutorial on life drawing classes which are just loaded with information and some really great links.
My life drawing group hasn’t met for the last 2 weeks, as it’s school vacation time here in France (everything pretty much stops during school vacations here), but I’ve recently completed a 5 dvd anatomy course by Riven Phoenix, which has been very helpful. I blogged about it in a previous post, and I can now confirm that I really found it worthwhile. It’s drudgery in some ways, and aimed mostly at people who hope to work from their imagination, but there’s some extremely concrete information, and I found my drawing technique improving for all subjects, thanks to small tricks such as drawing a square or rectangle on which to plot a circle or ellipse, which gives you a more accurate shape. While going through these dvds, I often used Sarah Simblet’s incredible Anatomy for the Artist. Anyone interested in drawing the human figure should own this book. There are “drawing classes” in the last chapter which I haven’t had time to go through yet, but which look extremely helpful.
Having realized that drawing characters for animation isn’t that different from classical figure drawing in that you need a good understanding of anatomy, I pulled out Burne Hogarths’s Dynamic Figure Drawing, which I’ve owned for a while, but I never quite knew how to use. Just going through it and really reading his explanations and copying his examples is turning on some lights for me, especially concerning those horrendously difficult (for me anyway) hands and feet.
I followed a link from Katherine’s article to an animation artist named Dan Szilagyl’s blog, and he, in a return comment, suggested I have a look at work by Seo Kim, Adam Rogers and Alan Cook, all of whom work in more imaginative drawing styles and have an incredible understanding of the human form.
So, what resources have you found and how have they helped you?
Update : I forgot to mention Martin’s blog. He helps teach a life drawing class and experiments with many styles and media – he’s a constant source of inspiration.