A few questions


I want to be able to draw the human figure a lot better than I can right now and I was wondering if this DVDhttp://the-structure-of-man.blogspot.com/ is worth the money. Also, what are some good daily routines I can do to get better at drawing the figure. I draw a few 30 second poses at pose-maniacs.com but I don’t know if that’s enough. Any information on how I can get better at drawing the human figure in general would be much appreciated. Thanks


Hi there, I think you’re better off with Glenn Vilppu’s Gesture DVD. Anything can be useful, but I think the structure of man stuff has a lot of flaws and Vilppu’s info. is gold.

posemaniacs is ok, but you might do timed poses from characterdesigns.com as well. Bear in mind that the photography adds distortion, but it’s better than nothing.

The best is to take a life drawing course and to draw from the live model if at all possible. If you can take a course at a community college or local art school, that is your best bet. Of course, teachers aren’t always good but you’ll get the most from drawing from a live model. I also encourage you to keep a sketchbook and to do anatomy studies using reference. I’d encourage you to get the book “Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters” and to do master studies. If you want to get feedback on your work, feel free to start up a thread here.

If you want inspiration for seeing someone who is on this path, check out the sketchbook thread of razz, as well as the threads of others in the Sketchbook area.

Edit - also if you live in the Washington area, you might check out the Gage Academy in Seattle:


Juliette Aristides also has her own atelier I believe.


Thanks for all the tips. Fortunately, starting in September, I’m going to a community college were I’m going to finish my last two years of high school and also get college credit. I’m going to take as many art classes as I can and hopefully take a class with a live model. I have the book Artistic Anatomy for basic anatomy, how is Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters different? One more question, I want to go to an Art School but my Dad and a bunch of other people say that I should go to a liberal arts college instead. If I do end up going to a liberal arts college, will I still get a good education art wise vs an art school?


Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters has master drawings that you can use as reference. Alternately, you can draw from online references (though it can be a little hard on the eyes), or you can purchase individual books of master drawings - this is a great collection and very cheap. I like the Master Draughtsman series because you can easily fold back the book and use the images as reference to draw from. I recommend looking at the books of drawings of Michelangelo, Rubens, DaVinci, etc., but also check out Harry Carmean and Pontormo and whomever else you might happen to have an interest in - I think you’ll always learn the most from Renaissance artists and those that work in that tradition.

One more question, I want to go to an Art School but my Dad and a bunch of other people say that I should go to a liberal arts college instead. If I do end up going to a liberal arts college, will I still get a good education art wise vs an art school?
It utterly depends on the school and of course on the type of art you are interested in - and also, of course, it highly depends on they type of student you are.

    I had a similar kind of father and mother who greatly encouraged me to go the liberal arts route, which I did for a year and a half, and it had great positives and great negatives, which were purely personal to my experience and may be entirely different for you. I attended Washington University in St. Louis, which was a wonderful liberal arts school, and majored in Fine Art for my freshman year and half of my sophomore year. What I got there in terms of intellectual stimulation, dorm experience, friendships, social life, etc. was stellar - and few purely art schools can offer you that. Having said that, I knew at my core that I wanted to be an artist and the fine arts department at Wash. U. was more conceptual and less skills based, and so I ended up transferring, somewhat to my parents' chagrin, to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. That experience had great positives and negatives, which were the opposite of those from Wash. U. What I loved about Art Center were the great foundation classes and skills that I learned. What I did not love was the lack of intellectual stimulation from classes and peers, lack of a social life (due to their not being dorms and the fact that ACCD is more of a finishing school, not a university) and lack of diversity in terms of the interests of the student population. 

To be perfectly frank, I had great regrets about leaving Wash. U. in some regards for years, but ultimately I would have not been able to afford both Wash. U. and Art Center in their entirety. At bottom I personally would have been unhappy without the skills based education at Art Center, but unfortunately no one school can give you everything you need, on an educational or a personal level. This is why it is essential to choose a school wisely so that you can get the most that you can.
    It's a tough time to be an art student (or a college student of any kind) because there are so many things to learn - traditional and digital, 2D and 3D - and you have to be mindful of the costs that you will incur. Any private university or private art college (and there is no such thing as a public art college, though there are public universities) will cost a lot of money, so it is wise to spend time at a community college, sorting out what you want before committing to a university or art school - you'll save a lot of money, and gain maturity in the process. I've posted to my blog several articles about the [trappings of college debt](http://mirrorbooks.blogspot.com/2009/04/debt-trap-college-borrowing-catches-up.html) which I think you'd be smart to take a look at. Don't let these articles prevent you from investing in college - just use them to be a smarter student. In this day and age, you may discover that you need the equivalent of multiple college degrees, so the farther you can stretch your dollar, the better. 
   Some universities have better art programs than others. Assuming you are interested in realism, the ones that I can think of off the top of my head that have decent art programs are:
   [b]Boston University[/b]
   [b]Washington Univ. in St. Louis[/b] - decent program, but not hard core skills based, still worth looking into
   [b]lots of universities in Ohio[/b], weirdly, have good art programs - there's nothing else to do there
   [b]Carnegie Mellon University[/b] in PA
  [b]Stanford [/b]- I've always heard good things about their art program but have no firsthand information on them

University of Michigan (not a great 3D program but I think they have a decent traditional art program)

There are others but like I say, many university art programs are conceptual, and my knowledge of any of these programs in anecdotal, you will have to do your own research.

 The main thing to be aware of is that most university art programs are conceptually based - meaning that traditional, representational drawing and painting will not receive a lot of support. You must carefully research any college art program to make sure the majority of your art education will not be making sculpture out of string.
   The best thing to do is to attend [National Portfolio Day](http://www.portfolioday.net/component/option,com_eventlist/Itemid,47/), where you can take your portfolio to be reviewed by college reps from both Art schools and art programs within universities. The other best thing is to VISIT any school that you are considering and spend time there. Talk to the students there, not the reps.
   I know this is a lot of information, but maybe share this post with your parents and discuss with them in a mature way what the various options are. When I was a high school student, I was dead set on going to Art Center straight away, and thank god I didn't, I would have missed out on an invaluable experience of undergraduate liberal arts education. In a perfect world I could do both. :)

Edit - here is the Natl Portfolio day event in Seattle in Jan. 2010:

A final thought - go to a great public university to save money but still get a great education and build up a good traditional art portfolio, then work for a bit, then go to a private art school or place to build up more traditional or digital art skills.


Thanks again, that was really helpful. I have one last question for now, I sort of inherited a Wacom Intuos tablet from a friend and I’ve been playing around with it on painter and photoshop and really like drawing on the computer but I was just wondering if I should be learning on real paper rather than computer, or both.


No problem. Art schools and universities will want to almost exclusively see traditional drawing and painting (and sculpture, if you have it) in your portfolio. They will be far less interested in digital art since they will want to teach you that themselves after training you traditionally. Trust me on this - I teach high school portfolio preparation and have been through the college art application process and taken others through it (one of my privately trained students recently received an 18 K / year scholarship from a private art college), and the standards are the same - they want to see tons of traditional life drawing, still life drawing, and work in a variety of media - pastel, oil and/or acrylic painting, etc. - but with the focus solidly on figure drawing and figure painting. Each school has its specific requirements (some schools like RISD are highly specific, so you have to read each school’s requirements carefully) - but mainly the common thread is they want to see traditional art. I highly recommend attending one of the portfolio days just to see the students you’re up against - I went in my junior and senior years of high school and it was invaluable. I have since taken my own high school students and it was invaluable for them to see their competition.

      It's still valuable on a personal level to learn the digital side of things - but in terms of portfolio preparation, if you have a limited amount of time, budget most of it toward traditional art.
 Edit - a final thought, many art colleges offer "Summer of Art" experiences, where you can attend intensive classes taught by the college's art professors. The art college where I teach, Otis College of Art, [offers one such program](http://www.otis.edu/continuing_education/summer_of_art/index.html). Beverly Bledsoe, a fellow professor and an AMAZING teacher, teaching life drawing in the Summer of Art program as well as in the undergraduate program. Otis has a particularly strong foundation life drawing program in which I have taught. But any art school has summer of art like experiences, so that's something you might consider checking into - specifically for life drawing. Bev's class would seriously change your life.

One final thought with respect to your original question about a university vs. an art school - you can always take art classes - ateliers and private art classes abound, and very good ones at that. What you won’t be able to ever replicate is a first year dorm experience at a university.


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