How To Practice After Studying
Heya, For the past few weeks I have been studying alot on the basics of figure drawing, such as the fundamentals (proportion, gesture), the simplified skeleton and some muscle anatomy here and there. However, I may have made the mistake of studying too much and barely practicing at all. Now I'm struggeling with the problem of what/how to practice what I've learned. I discovered this when I tried to draw a figure from a reference and it became way to overwhelming to keep track of putting down everything I had learned. Even as simple as only drawing the torso is a bit too much. I know it's stupid of me to have almost ignored practicing, but I was wondering if anyone has advice for me as to how to approach this problem. I was thinking of focussing on individual parts of the body (ribcage, pelvis, arms, etc) first and get the hang on drawing that before putting it all together.
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Hello gunter, you're question is a little vague, but I'll answer my interpretation. First off, I don't understand what "no practice" means. My assumption is means you've drawn nothing, and have only been taking notes. If this is the case, I'd recommend doing timed gesture practice such as Gesture is so so so important, and will make or break your figure drawings. These timed drawings should ignore anatomy, and only focus on what the body is doing. Your mental hierarchy should be gesture, proportion, then smaller gesture. Allow me to explain. Gesture means 1D/2D shapes to describe the motion. At this point, your drawing should be only a handful of lines. Next, proportion refers to the relative size of one body part compared to another. This is not as important at first, especially if this exercise is your starting point. Still, it's something to be aware of. Lastly, as you hone the first two skills, you should be able to start putting smaller gestures into your larger gesture forms, such as the Traps or Lats. These still 2D shapes can cut into or bulge out of your larger whole body gestures, but when viewed from afar, still keep the silhouette of your gesture the same. I'd only use anatomy if you're 1. Practicing to remember the form of the anatomy. 2. Making a finished piece. 3. Are satisfied with your gesture practice for now. I'm curious to see you're drawings, and to figure out where you are right now. None of what I put above is really my idea, just my personal summary of Stan's figure drawing course. He, of course, adds mannequinization and shading, but I think 2D is where to start. If I underestimated your skills or would like to know more of my opinion, feel free to ask some questions. - Dwight
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I also don't quite get what you're talking about but I understand a little but I've had to assume a lot. I recognize that a lot of what I said may not apply to you. To put it another way most of this are shots in the dark with the intention of helping you. essentially only you can help you. And the gist is just keep drawing, reading, and trying. Even if you give up for months always try again. If you're learning by your own drive to learn, this can be a blessing but it sure doesn't make it easier, if anything it's going to be harder for more reasons then I care to list. This was already long enough to write but I wanted to try to cover everything. 1)Most important message here is take Dwight's suggestion and work on gestures. 2)Some artists have high expectations from themselves. If you're one of these people just keep that in mind and remind yourself to be easy on yourself. Not just because you should be kind to yourself. Don't believe being easy on yourself will make you lazy. If you hold high expectations for yourself then you're being unrealistic and going easy on yourself is a way to bring you back to accepting limitations. You wont loose your drive, especially when you see progress. But it will take time and you're better off accepting that now. As a beginner it will seem like it's taking for ever, but 2 years from now if you keep it up you'll be amazed at your progress. Just be realistic about where you're at and that a slow steady pace will foster real lasting progress. 3) Whatever you learned is not a waste of time. People starting out don't really understand how complex art is. How much is involved. People just look at art without realizing what's involved. Master artists can be appreciated by all but only artists with some first hand knowledge of what it takes to create that level of work can truly understand the craftsmanship involved. 4) you're going through what all artists go through. Its a struggle you just gotta go through it. Skilled art is not finger painting. it's work, but consistent work and practice will provide you with the skills to have fun with what you learned. Learning itself can be fun but it's mostly work. 5)The books you're using should have exercises, Do them. and do them again and again until it becomes second nature. If you're bored of that book or video, try a different one. There are mountains of books for beginners, and few books for advanced artists. 6)There is no one single type of artists or style, Don't forget to find yours. But get the fundamentals down to a science first. 7)Drawing a figure will be overwhelming if your mindset is that the figure is made up of details. Art has an order of operations. It generally starts out from big shapes and works down to small shapes (details) Anatomy is not something you need to learn if you don't know the fundamentals of drawing. 8) Art should not be approached like what you would find in a "how to draw a horse" book. If you want to be an artist you need to understand what it means to draw, not how to draw a thing but how to draw anything. You may be drawing something but what your focus should be is how to draw, not what you're drawing. The object doesn't matter. it could be an arm it could be a head or the whole body or a landscape. If you get the drawing fundamentals down you'll be prepared to tackle any of them. But if your focus is trying to draw a person from the very beginning without knowing what drawing actually means, you're just going to be fighting yourself. 9)You'll do fine if you start with Gesture because that's working on the big, the whole, before you get to to anything else. But Details will always be the last part of the drawing. Never start with details, you'll just be left with a mess. 10)You may want to consider ditching figure drawing for now and focus on drawing shapes in 3d and lighting and values. Then learning how shapes are what all art is built out of. When you're drawing something you want to see the thing as abstract shapes that your mind interprets as objects. There's still so much you have to learn if you want to see real progress. 11) you need better books. I do hope this helps. I wish you the best in your journey.
Hey Dwight, Thank you for replying to my post and I understand that my question may be a little confusing. I would like to show you my work, but unfortunately I don't have much to show to represent where I am at with my drawing skills. However, I can explain what I have done so far to add more context to my question: I started studying figure drawing because I wanted to be able to know what it is i'm drawing. Basically I wanted to draw with less guessing work by understanding more about the human body. So I bought two books: Figure It Out by Christopher Hart and How To Draw People by Jeff Mellem. Figure It Out teaches a lot about the proportions of the body, but very little about how to draw any of it. How To Draw People on the other hand does teach a lot about how to draw the body. Although both books are great, there are some things they don't really mention. Such as the importance of the spine and it's connection to the pelvis and ribcage. So what I did was I searched on the internet for more detail about what I was reading about in the books. I kept doing this to make sure I wasn't missing on anything important regarding the basics. So the routine I ended up with was: A chapter from the How To Draw People book first, then Proko's videos on more information about the basics of the anatomy and then the videos of an arist called Akihito Yoshitomi about some simple drawing techniques. But the stupid thing of me is that I didnt took the time to practice first. For example, when I learned things about the ribcage, I made a sort of summary of it and then moved on to the next subject. I'll add one of these to this post. So the problem I'm struggeling with now, is that it becomes way to overwhelming to draw a figure while trying to make sure I'm keeping everything in mind that I have learned. It's like doing a math test without practicing what you had to study beforehand... So my question is: how do I practice what I have learned? Because practicing everything I have learned at once is a nightmare. (Sorry for such a long reply)
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