View Full Version : Perspective and Figures

04 April 2005, 10:35 PM
when drawing or painting, having your figures pop out of the picture because the good use of perspective, an image can become a lot more dynamic. The problem comes in with the fact that its rather hard to place figures in their environment in a way that will give the image more depth, considering that figures can be in an endless variety of poses. Simply using perspective lines doesnt always do the trick.

What i have been doing so far is an extension of an excercise that i did back when i took figure drawing. The idea is to make a figure out of boxes. this will help you light the model because you have the main planes to work from. it will help you with the pose obviousely because its already set. and it also gives you a way to simplify the perspective process because cubes/rectangles are easy to draw with perspective to mind. it is hard though, to later convert that back into an actual anatomically correct figure.

heres an old example of the box models.

so, to start things off, i am wondering if anyone has any tips or techniques on adding perspective to figures to have them pop out of the image. how they handle tight images that dont have too much depth, but the character still manages to pop. how you handle multiple figures and perspective.

learning the process in which other artists deal with this issue can be very helpful.

04 April 2005, 10:47 PM
I think youre talking about foreshortening. One example i can think of right now is that poster of Uncle Sam .

Its a very difficult skill to master. Many things are considered when dawing it, one would be the object youre drawing. Whatever ligament/part you want to "pop" out would ofcourse be larger than when it is drawn normally. Thats basically it i think.

04 April 2005, 11:01 PM
One good habit is to alternate sketching your figures from left to right. If you are right or left handed you will tend to draw or favour one side more than the other making things lean. If you do this hold the sketch up against the kitchen window (ha ha) and flip it so you see the mirror image from behind, you may be surprised at how unbalanced it looks. Sketch corrections on the back of the paper and flip it again and draw in your corrections for a well rounded figure.

Old illustrators trick.

If you are 2d lots of sketches. Zoom around the scene in your head.
If you are 3d lots of sketches and rotate around your scene heaps, try different poses don't set your stuff in the composition and think,... well the model is great it will carry the piece. It won't. I have seen very mediocre model proportions that are posed and positioned so well that they make the difference between a masterpiece and rubbish.

You will probably get lots of rules to follow in coming posts and threads but sometimes really taking the time to try out variations can be crucial.

Another thing is (especially in 3d) something will be right and the client or a viewer will come out with 'that's wrong'. When you are deep into a project or a piece you may get blinded by detail. The rule is even when you know something is correct but it looks wrong then it is WRONG! I know, I have made some real fizzers :thumbsup:

One small thing is shilloette. One of the most difficult things to convey is a straight on shot. Try tilting stuff to one side or the other unless you are doing Uncle Sam :) and tilt your comp to the inside of the book binding, magazine spine, webpage etc.

Have fun!

04 April 2005, 11:43 PM
Here's an idea:

Take pictures (or find pictures) that define many views of forshortening. Mostly used in Playboy or Penthouse... Vogue.. Playboy (did I say that twice?). In those examples - it is used to.. lets say - enhance an area such as legs and chest. From there - analyze how you would draw it - what body parts stick out more. What is enlarged and what is forshortened.

04 April 2005, 12:01 AM
I know some people don't like Burne Hogarth much, but in his book Dynamic Figure Drawing I think he at least provides an approach to start thinking about the problem of the figure in perspective.

To begin, he also reduces the figure to more easily understood geometrical shapes, starting with the torso, which determines the placement of all the other body parts, then, in order, the legs, which determine the figures grounding, the arms and lastly the head.

He also outlines techniques for rendering the basic box/barrel/cylinder forms as a proper figure, including how the different forms overlap and the contours they make and using tone to render shapes.

The approach is quite technical and may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it was designed to help an artist draw the figure without the need for reference. The sketches in the book are also quite ugly but work well to demonstrate what he is saying.

Urg, that sounds like a book review - it's not meant to be. Rather an introduction to one possible approach. Maybe there are flaws to it? Maybe there are other ways that are better or could be used together with it? I am here to learn :)

04 April 2005, 10:09 AM
Great thread!

I agree on the Hogarth book. I bought it a while ago, and while I don't agree with most of his anatomic interpretations, I think there's some useful pointers in the book.

While we're on the subject of books.. I can only recommend Andrew Loomis. Especially his "Figure Drawing for all it's worth". It highlights the technique of using boxes for help in perspective/foreshortening - among other techniques and anatomy guidelines.

It's practically impossible to buy his books anymore, but they're available as lowgrade pdf's here:

Hope you find them as useful as I do. :)

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