Figure Analysis in Boxes and Cylinders Exercise
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
@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/
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.