Before previously, my understanding of life drawing was that the objective was to learn the anatomy of the human body and how to replicate it perfectly in a drawing, however what I did not expect was the heavy emphasis on form, perspective and gesture. I had never taken a life drawing class before my first day and was previously not fond of the idea of drawing what I observed as I felt it was too limiting. In this brief reflection, I will look at some of my work and evaluate any improvements I have made as well as any I feel I should make in order to better my understanding of drawing the human form.
Human form used to be a very hit and miss area for me, and any time I felt like I was improving I would discover something else I was inexperienced in drawing. The key word there is ‘inexperienced’ as I feel that enough informed practice in these areas will help me overcome my weaknesses in them. I have taken a preference in drawing digitally for the past three years and as a means of convenience most of my learning has been done online also.
Looking back at the first week I can already see my earlier style of approach to drawing the human figure (fig.1) and how flawed it was. In the lessons I have learned to indicate things like the ribcage and pelvis that are anchors to the rest of the drawing. Something I particularly enjoy when sketching in class is imagining the curvature of the spine as it connects the nape of the neck to the pelvis. The ways it can twist and bend can do a lot to influence an emotion or gesture within a pose; especially when exaggerated. Looking below at the image of one of my first stabs at drawing in class compared to my digital art of around the same time I can see a similar, unrealistic structure of the body. While yes I understood the idea behind drawing shapes to construct the body, I was unsure of proportion and how to connect those shapes.
Heads are an area I have ALWAYS struggled with, and while I would say I have a slightly better understanding to their structure I would practice them a lot more so as to be able to draw them more fluidly. Similarly, drawing my poses in boxes to mark perspective needs more practice. I can visualise the planes that the body falls across, but I have trouble drawing them as my eye perceives and instead tend to draw what I imagine.
As I go on, I want to practice drawing heads from various angles, as well as get better at drawing more dynamic poses with gesture curves. A level I’d like to aim for is the ability of ‘dCTb’; an online artist I’ve followed for a few years now.
Life Drawing has taught me to make my sketches more sketchy; something I’ve been struggling to overcome. Now to find a café to sit in to sketch those who wander in.
Some of my personal favourite life drawing outcomes.