I'm taking figure drawing class and I have a question..

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  08 August 2007
I'm taking figure drawing class and I have a question..

I'm taking a figure drawing class and I have a quick question.

My professor has instructed us to draw the nude model in one continuous line without looking at the paper. I followed these instructions but I don't really understand what the practicality of exercises are. Is it supposed to improve hand-eye cordination?

I don't understand the general theory behind these exercises. Could someone explain this to me?

"Good taste is the enemy of creativity" - Pablo Picasso
  08 August 2007
It might be to help you see more of the actual contours of the shapes you are drawing rather than looking at the paper and thinking "that doesn't look right" and try to draw it how you think it's supposed to look. It doesn't matter how the drawing comes out, but you are supposed to be learning to draw what you see, not what you think you see.
  08 August 2007
One Line


I would take it that they are trying to get you to learn about body flow. Many beginners get bogged down in trying to put too many details into their work, by that I mean they portray the body almost as a stactic frame. You practice drawing the quick line without looking forces you to define your body shape as a flowing line of the motion formed by pose.

I'm certain you've seen artwork where someone was swinging a bat or running, and it looked alright but you got no feeling that the person was actually running; but that they just struck a pose as if they were.
Understanding to replresent how the body is flowing will help your art avoid that stiff feel.

They may also be using this as a means of 'loosen' up your drawing style, get you to think free drawing rather than say technical illustration.

Also drawing the quick line can teach you not only about flow and motion, but train you how to see things like center of mass in a pose, or distribution of weight. Forcing you to draw the quick line making you percieve not the body as a whole, but how that body's mass is postioned for the pose.

Mr. D
  08 August 2007
thanks for the response guys. I have no trouble following the directions but I wanted some clarification as to what I was doing. I appreciate the responses.

I'm actually taking this class at a community college because it was cheap ($42 for 6 week, 2 day sessions with nude models is a deal). I am a lot more advanced than almost all the students there but I thought it was good to get some practice.
"Good taste is the enemy of creativity" - Pablo Picasso
  09 September 2007
in addition to what the others said...

you can try those exercises with any subject (I did many of them with boxes placed together randomly)

they really help to improve your sense of direction

oh and don't be afraid to ask your tutor at class... that's what he/she is paid for
  10 October 2007
It sounds like your teacher is trying a variation on the standard technique of drawing the wrinkles in your palm by staring at your palm, start at a wrinkle, and draw the wrinkle cm by cm as your eye follows the wrinkles' path without looking at the paper. The method is supposed to get you to forget about the subject that you are drawing and focus only on the lines describing the subject. Betty Edwards (in her book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain) says that this equates to drawing on the right side of the brain. It is supposed to be an exercise that gets you to stop using your left brain to see things. The left brain likes to categorize things in a logical manner. This in turn causes a person to fall back on adolescent perspectives of things (i.e. drawing a head with one big circle for the head, two small circles for the eyes, a triangle nose in the center, and heart shaped lips). Instead, by forcing yourself to use the right brain (which perceives things as the actually are .. in theory) you get in a mode of drawing that sees things as they actually are. I can't vouch for these exercises actually working. I think you are definitely on the right track trying to find out what your instructor is trying to do though. If she were a good instructor she would tell you what her intentions. Good on you trying to figure it out. I'd ask her. Your whole class could probably benefit.
  10 October 2007
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