AuthorTopic: Official Anatomy Thread  (Read 346281 times)

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #330 on: December 02, 2012, 02:05:19 am

The main thing I would recommend trying to get better at is seeing abstract, 2D shapes that every drawing is made of. The book "Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain" has a lot of techniques for this, such as flipping the canvas and using a grid system to determine placement. I made a short gif with tips on how to draw from an image.

Working wih a 2D grid is quite a nice crutch as long as you are doing photorealism. It definitely sets the placement for stuff and for "copying" from photos or even "copying" from live, although it only works with one perspective and it's also quite easy to mess things up with a grid if you are just copying tonal values and don't understand the underlying structure and form. Maybe some artists are doing it in this simple way, but there are lots of ways to use a photo reference.

Working with a simple grid would be a big step backwards for Dennis because he is reproducing his knowledge in the third dimension.

Maybe the end result would look better if he'd draw exactly from photos, but I think it won't help his vision and it's not the thing he is aiming for.
If we draw a head out of mind our own mistakes are pretty visible. The human sight is especially trained to see the face and even the slightest differences in mimic of a face (not at least because of surviving, imagine your perception of a face would be weaker - you won't be able to differ 2 persons or to predict their mood) and because of this the face - or the head are the ideal object to improve oneself - because the issues are pretty obvious. If you draw an apple nobody will see a big difference to a photo, even if there is ( I already checked this out...). But if a single angle is different in a face it's changing the whole impression drastically.
Photos are good to study how something looks - but after all it doesn't help the same if you have to draw the object in a different angle or with a different lighting angle or different lighting scenario.

I admire Dennis for what he is doing, because he trains his skill of forms and he also keeps me motivated to study. I also see that he also makes a lot of big improvements - because if you compare the newest stuff with the drawings from some weeks ago I can already see a huge difference in skill and experience.

I hope you keep the good work up Dennis  :y:

Edit: Flipping is good, because it makes the image fresh to look at - especially if the imaginary picture is only from one side, this helps a lot to get the forms right.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 02:20:54 am by Cyangmou »
"Because the beauty of the human body is that it hasn't a single muscle which doesn't serve its purpose; that there's not a line wasted; that every detail of it fits one idea, the idea of a man and the life of a man."

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Offline jengy

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #331 on: December 02, 2012, 04:33:57 am
Working with a simple grid would be a big step backwards for Dennis because he is reproducing his knowledge in the third dimension.

It's definitely important to understand the underlying structure of the thing you are drawing. This technique specifically targets errors in proportion, which I think is very important when understanding the figure straight on, but doubly hard if you are trying to translate those proportions into space. I mostly want to recommend that it might be good to tackle one issue first (proportion), instead of two (proportion and perspective).

Proportion in itself is tricky, and using certain mechanics can help you build your eye for it (like drawing from life, photos, ect).

I do agree with a lot of your points Cyangmou, but I would only say that you should always try out a technique to see if it may help before not trying it at all.

We can say certain techniques are crutches, but anything can be used as a tool for learning if we can adapt past their limitations and integrate the technical abilities of exercises into our own workflow.

Iíll use myself as an example:



The drawing on the left is from April, and the drawing on the right is from June. These are drawn from life/observation.

I hated drawing from life or images. It bored me to tears. I never did it until this year, and now I see its worth.

After drawing from photos for a couple months, I found improvement even in my non-photo based drawings.

It may not work for everyone, but just trying out a technique canít hurt. Iíve been doing an art challenge (one drawing a day) since April and doing a mixture of imagination, life and drawing from photos, and all three have shown me something worthwhile.

And yes, kudos for throwing down so many posts! I agree with Cyangmou that it's inspiring. :] I guess what I want to convey is--try everything! At least once! One drawing can convince you of something or tell you that something doesn't work for you. Perception of technique is one thing, but doing it is another. And good luck to you!

Offline 0xDB

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #332 on: December 02, 2012, 12:25:55 pm
That's some good progress in those portraits jengy. I think your portraits might benefit from some real life pencils or charcoal next to add more character to them.


Thanks for all the positive, constructive and kind words everyone.

Even though I don't currently have any new studies to show, I feel like I should respond to what has been written so far before the backlog of text becomes too long and before there'll be too much stuff to respond to.

Thank you jengy for putting in the time to prepare that summary of some of the techniques presented in Betty Edwards' book (I hope you didn't specifically prepare those only for me though, because I already worked with that book back in 2001/2002, so that would have been a waste of your time. Still a useful picture for everyone trying to improve their life studies). It's really a good book and I think I've recommended it to others myself a few times over the years. I even keep meaning to read it again. :)

Personally I'm not a friend of the grid and never used it because I want to train my eyes/mind to be able to do stuff mostly without additional tools. Also, I'm too lazy to build a good physical grid, heh.

Cyangmou is right that simply "copying from life", trying to be a human camera, isn't enough and he's also right in that this is not where my main focus is on right now.

My current goal is to be able to construct any pose/angle from scratch with believable anatomy and volumes in a somewhat realistic appearance and without relying on any references (imagine being stuck on a lonely island where you have to invent & draw your own new friends from imagination to stay sane).
I see how I'm hitting a road block here again though, because I don't know enough about how the human features look from all angles yet and which basic volumes they're best constructed from, so life studies as recommended by Ryumaru and jengy are very important indeed and I should really do them more often.

That mental library of things which Ryumaru mentioned, combined with the constructive approach by Loomis, an understanding of volume and maybe even using photo references and being an observant creeper in real life (without copying 1:1) for getting features right should eventually end up giving the best results.

To make this post worthwile, I'll post some real life studies I made in the past over the years (in fact, I do these so rarely (because I find inventing more interesting than copying), those are all I could find) (anything pre 2002 I never got around to scanning it and I don't even know which box or drawer it's currently hidden in)).

2002 seems to have been a productive period. Then there's a long stretch of nothing until a single drawing from 2007, following by more nothing until two drawings from 2009, followed by nothing again until now 2012.

Another goal of mine is to first get back to and then surpass my skill level as it was 10 years ago. :)

2002:


















2007:


2009:









Offline 0xDB

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #333 on: December 02, 2012, 11:14:52 pm


I intended to draw a full portrait of her but I felt intimidated by her beauty and thought there was no way I could be able to capture that with my rusty and crude pencil-fu, so I just drew an eye. Even in that little portion I made a few mistakes and got some angles and stroke lengths wrong. The most obvious error is the fold which covers the upper eyelid, it seems a little swollen in my drawing thus already destroying the perfection found in the original. Also, it does not seem to wrap as softly around the bone as it does in reality and just ends abruptly on the left with a sharp edge.

Furthermore, I misinterpreted the dark stuff on the lower left as lashes from the lower lid where now after comparing my drawing side by side with the reference I think those dark lines are actually shadows cast by the lashes from her upper eyelid. Also, the dark lines inside the colored part of the eye are probably reflections of the lashes (got that wrong too while drawing and assumed seemingly random pigmentation).

Offline wishie

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #334 on: December 02, 2012, 11:33:30 pm
The lines on the eyelashes are a little thick. I would practice on a scrap sheet of paper with pencil strokes. Just make a bunch of strokes until you can get a thin, wispy(?), eyelash look. It'll help train your hand on knowing how the strokes for eyelashes are supposed to feel. (same with eyebrows too)
Your lashes are a little to even as well, especially the longer ones.

Also, on the upper eyelid, that dark spot is a little to dark and cuts off as a corner instead of blending in with the rest of the skin like in the photo.
She does have eyeshadow on, so the part on the lower lid is probably some blending of the eyeshadow.

Offline 0xDB

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #335 on: December 03, 2012, 12:40:37 am
Good observation on the lashes, I'll try making them more irregular in the future.

I tried making a few corrections, first to the original which soon became impossible to further fix further because of the limitation of non-digital erasers, graphite pigments and paper and then some additional digital ones. I'll abandon it now.

Offline wishie

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #336 on: December 03, 2012, 02:41:29 am
Nice edits. You could draw the eye again? sometimes it takes more than one sketch to get something to look like how you want it.

Here's some stuff I've done recently:



(I know that face is out of place)

muscle study using posemaniacs.com


Below are two muscle study sketches that I did a year or so ago for a life drawing class:

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #337 on: December 04, 2012, 02:45:31 am
"That mental library of things which Ryumaru mentioned, combined with the constructive approach by Loomis, an understanding of volume and maybe even using photo references and being an observant creeper in real life (without copying 1:1) for getting features right should eventually end up giving the best results."

Yes, this assortment of studying is pretty common/ popular and should give results.

When trying to invent human features, it simply cannot be done convincingly until you have a pretty good idea of how you want it to look; and this comes from the mental library. This is the real grinding part of the studies, even if it's not fun for you it still has to be done.

The life drawings are nice, especially the hands. it would be nice to see you do more. When doing studies from life, you should still construct as opposed to copy. this will allow you go back and learn from your drawings, even have them be future reference.

wish: nice drawings, keep it up :]

Offline 0xDB

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #338 on: December 04, 2012, 06:29:27 pm
I tried to make a construction based on the photo but then quickly caught myself alternating between constructing and copying. My construction however wasn't perfectly true to the angles of the head in the photo, so the result ended up falling apart with random features placed based on my construction and others being placed and drawn as referenced from the photo.

Also, the end result does not look like her at all and while drawing I often found that even very minor differences of less than an estimated two degrees in an angle already made a huge difference in the overall appearance. Same seems to be true for line thickness: e.g. That one thick line almost seems to make the lower lip appear 1.5 times as high as it really is.

I could probably digitally keep adjusting it until perfection (or directly draw on top of the photo) but that seems pointless, so yay, another abandoned study which once again proves that a flawed construction is the root of all evil. So I think I should really practice construction more than drawing from life. Or perhaps the simplified head (ball and plane) construction is flawed in itself because it's not an accurate simplification of the skull?





Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Official Anatomy Thread

Reply #339 on: December 04, 2012, 08:06:42 pm
Why separate the construction from drawing from reference? The basic sphere/ plane is good enough at what it aims to do, but as you should have noticed from the reference is that there are a myriad of forms that you just don't think of when working from imagination. Learning to decipher these into more basic forms will allow you to catalogue them in your mind and help populate the library I'm talking about. Work from life is necessary to work from imagination, otherwise you are drawing from a void.