Need Help with figure drawing. (College)

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  10 October 2010
Need Help with figure drawing. (College)

I'm currently talking a figure drawing class at my college. I really want to get better at it; Therefore, I came here searching for help on things I need to improve.

I know this is not a contest. However, I want my drawings to be at least seen in class.

There are a few talented artist my class who are fairly good at it. I'm honestly taking this class so I can get better with my digital art and sculpting in Zbrush.

This is why I think figure drawing will improve my cg art because it's the real thing, and real tools which I love.

I want to get my foundation correct first before I step any further. I want to be an all around artist.

Here are a couple of drawings I've done:

Uploaded with

Comments are much appreciated, lets help each other reach the next level.
-Ambrose Mcduffy

Last edited by AmbroseMcduffy : 10 October 2010 at 06:07 PM.
  10 October 2010
Smile I forgot to add this.

Here's a side sketch I did.

-Ambrose Mcduffy
  10 October 2010
Figure Drawing critique

First Drawing: Great sense of outline and proportion. Lines have a good sense of confidence and form the contours of the torso quite well.

Fifth Drawing: Very good form, however, the body does not look relaxed. the back is too straight. I'd suggest next time to draw a liine that goes right down the body and shows the way the spine is curved in the position, even right down to the legs. It would give you a good sense of how the rest of the body (the neck, the torso, the belly, legs) all settle along that line. I'd suggest you take a good look at a book called "Drawing Force" by Mike Mattesi. The book, though it may not discuss the finer points of figure drawing, does display how looking more into how force is applied to the position of the body gives a bit more life into the drawing.
  10 October 2010
Talking thanks

Yea, for the last drawing. She kind of moved so I had to pretty much guess the position that she was in but definitely good reference. Thanks!

Comments are always welcome keep em coming.
-Ambrose Mcduffy
  10 October 2010
I want to see more like the 6th drawing. More quick sketches capturing the overall gesture and form. Keep going at it! Youll get better and better with every session.
Previously "Aryafx"

Website and Demo Reel:
  10 October 2010
Talking The charcoal drawings?

Sanjay! Thanks for posting. Yea, I will do more of those. I noticed a lot of really good character modelers has a strong art background. is this the same for you?

Also, ( I been burning to ask this question) how can one integrate the traditional art withing Cg. For example proportion, Weight, and things of that nature. I remember talking to you about this via pm a while back.
-Ambrose Mcduffy
  10 October 2010
Originally Posted by bboyambrose: Also, ( I been burning to ask this question) how can one integrate the traditional art withing Cg. For example proportion, Weight, and things of that nature. I remember talking to you about this via pm a while back.

You said it, if got the proportions and form right in drawing, you'll have better looking models, i wouldnt know what else to tell you... xD, if your good at drawing you'll be good at modeling, if you have crappy drawing abilities, you cant expect to have good models. ( now im not saying that you are bad or something, im just making a point. )
  10 October 2010
I got your pm requesting a critique.

In general, as a teacher, I do not condone the often regurgitated saying that anyone must draw figures from life and do gesture drawings right away, because most people who regurgitate that saying do not take into consideration the fact that beginners do not have the proper observational and analytical skills, nor do they have the required eye-to-hand coordination, or basic understanding of anatomy and figure structure, and worse yet, they don't even have the ability to simply reproduce what they see in front of them with competent accuracy.

When beginners are told to just do as much life drawing and gesture sketches as possible, they are getting really bad and uninformed advice IMO. It's like telling someone who's trying to learn how to swim to just jump off the boat into the deep ocean and have a go at it. It's completely counterproductive and will in fact hurt the beginner because it'll create unnecessary frustration, a feeling of helplessness, confusion, discouragement, and self-loathing. It feels a lot like shoving a martial arts beginner into the ring for full-contact competition and then seeing that beginner get pummeled into a bloody pulp. Anyone who is dishing out this kind of advice has not taken the time to fully consider the psychological aspects of learning and teaching.

Looking at your drawings, it seems to me you're one of those people who was told to just go for it, even if you didn't have the proper preparation in place. What I would suggest, is that you take it down a notch and start at the beginning. First you have to actually train your observational and analytical skills, as well as build up your eye-to-hand coordination as well as muscle memory. You need to first be able to reproduce 2D images to a high precision before you attempt to work from life. It's sort of like first training in flight simulators for a certain amount of time before you actually fly in a real airplane.

If you currently do not have the ability to reproduce 2D images with high precision, then you are not yet ready to take on working from life. I strongly suggest you first be able to take any 2D drawing, painting, or photograph, and then be able to copy them so that your copy looks so much like the original that most people will have to do a double take to see the differences. This is basic technical skill that all competent artists must acquire, and it's the most basic skill that you must master before you move on to any of the foundations of visual art such as composition, perspective, values/lighting, colors, anatomy/figure, surface treatment, and so on. This basic skill will teach you now to observe and analyze proportions, distances, angles, curvatures, values, color shifts, and so on. You cannot do competent life drawing if you have not mastered those skills.

After you acquire those skills, you should then spend some time studying anatomy and figure from books or websites dedicated to anatomy/figure. Learn the basic overview of the main skeletal structure and range of motions, the main muscles and how they look in both tense and relaxed situations, and how a layer of fat and skin changes the way these muscles look in various situations. Also learn the general proportions of the average human being--things like how many heads tall the average person is, the length of the limbs relative to the length of hands and feet, the length of the torso relative to the legs, and so on, as well as the general proportions of the facial features such as the distance of the spacing between the eyes, how the head is divided and where the features are in relation to the divisions.

You should be ready to start working with life models by then, but I would actually recommend you to add one more step before you do it. That step is still life. Get used to achieving the same level of competency you have acquired with reproducing 2D images, but now with real life objects. Plaster sculptures of head busts or entire figures are a great way to train, because they do not contain local color and value variations--it's just one uniform local color/value, with lighting. If that is too hard, start with simple objects like bowls and mugs. Once you can reproduce a pretty realistic looking head bust or figure sculpture, that's when you have acquired competent drawing skills.

Only after you have done all that, should you start working from life models, because by then you actually have some idea of what the hell you're really looking at in front of you, and have the proper technical skill to capture what you see with any sense of competence. Once you start working from life, the rabbit hole goes much deeper, because once you get past simply trying to capture what you see with technical accuracy, you'll be dealing with artistic interpretation and trying to be more expressive with your work. That's when you start to become authoritative in your creative vision and artistic voice.
  10 October 2010
Smile Taking it all in. Thanks everyone.

Firstly thank you Mr. Chang and anyone else who has given me critiques.

Mr. Chang, I totally agree with most or everything your saying. However, I'm taking a college course on this for an actual grade. Therefore, I cannot stop and drop the class to draw cups and mugs. I'm taking the class only to get a better understanding of the body.

The process that you are saying is great. On the other hand, I think everyone learns differently. Compared to my previous drawing I know I have gotten better at drawing the human figure and drawing in general.

When I'm done with the class I will try what you said, and I really appreciate you taking the time and writing that.

Oh also, I was considering on taking you online class when I'm done with the semester.

Here's a homework assignment. It's a self portrait: 2 hours in the mirror just staring at myself.

-Ambrose Mcduffy
  10 October 2010
Talking I have this model.

You also said something about still life. I have this model from freedom of teach. It helps with my anatomy when sculpting in zbrush and drawing. I can use this for anatomy studies.

The model:
-Ambrose Mcduffy
  12 December 2010
Here's an update

I apologies for not updating this. It's finals week at my school and I'm high stressed lol. Here's a couple of new drawing.
I having troubles with the face of all of my models. I rarely touch the hands because I do not know how to draw them. Can anyone give me some advice on this?

-Ambrose Mcduffy
  12 December 2010
Have you been doing what I suggested--the actual steps of first mastering the ability to reproduce 2D images with high precision, then each of the subsequent steps I described?

It does look like you are improving thought--these are definitely better than the previous examples you showed.

Last edited by Lunatique : 12 December 2010 at 05:19 AM.
  12 December 2010
Nike slogan " JUST DO IT" that's all I've been doing. However I did take everything you said to me to heart that's why I choose most of my next semester classes around that.

Next semester I'm taking a 2d design course, also an advance figure drawing course. These are going toward my degree so I can't really slow down.

However, in my opinion I think I've gotten better. I can be stubborn; Although their are no rules to learning only techniques.

I do have a question though. I can't draw in the computer as well as I can on paper.

Also if you can ( even though you already did ) give me some advice for the drawings you see now it would really help.

My finals is Monday and I'm trying sniggity snap. =]

And thank you for the advice and help anyway. I have a lot of your posts bookmarked.

I remember this one especially. " My animation sucks. why? idk so I should read the animation survival kit and study that shit!" Not your exact words, but pretty much what you said. Therefore, that's actually what i did. haha.
-Ambrose Mcduffy

Last edited by AmbroseMcduffy : 12 December 2010 at 06:35 AM.
  12 December 2010
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