Figure Analysis in Boxes and Cylinders Exercise
2yr
Gannon Beck
I have an exercise I’ve been doing with some friends in a private forum that I thought would be useful here.  It’s a kind of simplified masters study, where we break down the work of our favorite artists into boxes and cylinders.  Check out Drawabox.com to get up to speed on the theory that underpins form. Understanding convergence and how circles work in perspective is very important. On the site, when you get to the 250 box challenge, and 250 cylinder challenge, I would suggest doing at least part of the studies in the form of this figure analysis exercise. Doing so will help you apply the procedural knowledge (the how) you learn there, to the contextual knowledge (the when) you’ll need to incorporate the lessons into your own work. If you struggle with drawing simple forms correctly, this exercise can help. They only take a few minutes to do and are good exercises that can help you get the most out of your other studies that assume this knowledge as a foundation. I’ll post a few to get us started. Post any exercises in the replies. Also, feel free to post your own favorite artists for the rest of us to analyze. Different artists have a variety of proportional approaches to the figure, and it’s worth studying the differences. 
Reply or ask for help
Drop images here to attach them to the message
All posts
Newest
Gannon Beck
I hadn't done any figure analysis in a while, and thought it would be a good idea to get some of these going again. Anyone who wants to, feel free to join in. We'll start off with analysis on one of Frank Frazetta's combat paintings.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Adam Davis
Reply
Gannon Beck
Here is my analysis.
Reply
Izak van Langevelde
Good work! Please be aware that the rib cage fits a 2x2x1 box, while the pelvis fits a 1.5x2x1 box (check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJMoplyGboI). Your pelvis is not high enough, by far!
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Leon ter Molen
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Mary Santos
Asked for help
I did this kind of exercises with one of my drawings, but I don't know if I'm doing it well...
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Crystal Blue  (she/her)
Looks great! The pose looks nice and energetic as well, although when you're just doing a form study you don't have to worry about gesture too much. I think you should focus on the structure of the head, that's the only thing that looks a little flat. Watching proko's loomis head videos and then doing studies from photos and imagination helped me alot. Keep up the good work!
Reply
pamo
2yr
you doing great buddy
Reply
Gannon Beck
I generally only revert to forms in my own drawings when I get stuck. If boxes and cylinders are the visual alphabet, reverting to them is the drawing equivalent of sounding out words. It helps to work things out in boxes and cylinders to figure out foreshortening in particular. For instance, look how much more foreshortening you added to the left hand of your figure in your analysis, but that wasn't in your initial drawing.
Reply
andypandi
Today's practice with the robo bean, I'm a bit confused with how big the upper box should be compared to the one for the bottom. Any help would be appreciated.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Gannon Beck
It depends on the proportions of the figure. The box that represents the ribcage is taller, but the width of the box that represents the pelvis can vary, particularly between male and female figures. To complicate it further, when using exaggerated proportions, like we sometimes do here in the figure analysis thread, the proportions vary a lot from figure to figure. One thing I would recommend is paying attention do the convergence on your boxes to make sure they are correct. There are hidden perspectives all over the figure and you want to train your eye to see them, and eventually, find them automatically when drawing.
Reply
Gannon Beck
For analysis today, Lee Weeks!
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Adam Davis
Reply
Gannon Beck
Here is my analysis in simple forms.
Reply
Allan Alexandre Winkler
Great Exercise! I often do masterstudies in this approach, understanding the form concept of the artists. This one if from Titian, a quick study but valuable one. I learned perspective through Drawabox too and helped me a lot in the matter of form.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Gannon Beck
I didn't learn about Drawabox until I came here, but from what I've seen, it looks great. Someone also mentioned Modern Day James on YouTube, which I've delved into a little. What I like about his videos so far is that he teaches the basics of form and then immediately shows how to apply it to the figure. Exercises like the ones in this thread and the ones you do, help build the automaticity of form thinking. The reason I like only using boxes and cylinders is that if there are misconceptions on how to draw them, an exercise like this brings it right to the surface.
Reply
Gannon Beck
I did a one point perspective box tutorial for this thread. For figure analysis, you don't need to know every detail of perspective. You just need to learn enough about how convergence works in order to estimate the convergence of boxes with a little authority. I highly recommend doing the exercise if you have never done it before. Draw them like glass so you understand what is happening all around the box. The first time I did this exercise, the light bulbs really started to go off.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Adam Davis
That's an awesome breakdown, Gannon.
Reply
Gannon Beck
Here are a few I did a couple minutes ago.
Reply
Tómas Halldórsson
Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing. I especially like the way you use boxes and cylinders in similar (analysis) but different (specific vs. organic) ways.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Gannon Beck
Thanks! These are fun to do. Feel free to join in.
Reply
Gannon Beck
Here is a cool variation on the exercise, where you imagine what happens next, as if you were story boarding, doing key animation, or making panels in a comic. If you have trouble drawing things from your imagination, this can help. The Captain America panel for analysis here was drawn by Chris Samnee.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Adam Davis
Reply
iuri anastacio
you should watch moderdayjames vids, it will help alot
Reply
Gannon Beck
And here is my analysis and seven panels of Cap plowing through bad guys.
Reply
John Guy
Great stuff! I can't recommend these studies enough. I used to do these studies drawing people in the park. It really took my understanding of form to the next level. This is a really old idea. Here is a figure study in basic forms from Italian Painter Luca Cambiaso from around 1560.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Adam Davis
That is a very cool looking study, John.
Reply
Gannon Beck
Thanks for posting that! The real challenge for a lot of people is that it looks so simple, but if one doesn't understand how the basic forms work, it can be very hard. Did you have an understanding of how form worked when you did your studies or did you learn it as you went?
Reply
Gannon Beck
@Chris Bodary did an analysis of Vigee Le Brun, Self-Portrait with her Daughter. I really like the painting and thought I'd give it a shot as well. I'm ignorant of a lot of art history, and googled the painting to get up to speed. Apparently Vigee Le Brun was the quintessential working mom. I found this video on the painting: https://smarthistory.org/vigee-le-brun-self-portrait-with-her-daughter/
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Gannon Beck
Here is my analysis. It's tough to make boxes and cylinders tender, but it really is a touching pose.
Reply
Chris Bodary
Wow! This is the type of stuff that makes me want to dive into the history! Not sure if you listen to the Draftsmen Podcast ... But they did an episode on art history and why learn about it. Might seem like it’s not interesting or important learn about relative to mastering your skill, but stories like this are awesome and relatable too. I’ve never heard of her, but I’m a fan now!
Reply
Chris Bodary
Love this idea, seems fun and a good challenge, I’ll give it a go
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Chris Bodary
Here’s a few I had time for this morning. I’m gonna keep doing this!
Reply
Gannon Beck
Great, Chris. Looking forward to seeing your analysis!
Reply
Gannon Beck
For the second analysis, we'll do Mike Wieringo. Mike was not only a great artist, but a great human being. In the early days of social media, there was a site called Drawingboard.org. Mike would frequently come on and offer encouragement to those of us on the forum trying to level up. He set such a great example for those of us on the forum and is greatly missed.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Chris Bodary
Reply
Adam Davis
Reply
Gannon Beck
Here is my Mike Wieringo analysis.
Reply
Gannon Beck
We'll start off with Michelangelo.
Write reply...
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Chris Bodary
Reply
Adam Davis
Reply
Gannon Beck
Here is my analysis.
Reply
Help!
Browse the FAQs or our more detailed Documentation. If you still need help or to contact us for any reason, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
Your name
Email
Message