Figure Drawing For Artists

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Figure Drawing For Artists: Making Every Mark Count

by Steve Huston

The two most fundamental concepts in Steve Huston’s approach to figure drawing are structure and gesture—the parts and the relationship between the parts.

“To understand and use the idea of structure well, it’s best to think like a sculptor, meaning we build our drawing and painting (as in sculpture) through a series of constructed forms… Think of it as the scaffold on which to hang your designs and rendering techniques.”

“Constructed forms automatically feel three dimensional when done well because the lines move over the form. Another way to think of it is that every mark we make, whether carefully rendered or loosely sketched, should act as a visual arrow.”

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“Gesture is the connection, the relationship between the shapes… Gesture is the lifeline embedded inside any living form… This gestural idea makes your art look natural… It keeps our drawings from looking stiff, mechanical, and pieced together. It’s what gives the subject a lively and organic quality.”

Gesture is the long axis curve of the structure. “Gesture is defined by the long axis because all body parts connect end to end… Any artist who just focuses on the pieces ends up with pieced-together results. Art’s job is to orchestrate life into something powerful, effecting, and meaningful—something greater than the individual parts… Gesture is the chef’s secret sauce.”

“The longer and more graceful the gestural curve, the more smoothly the eye moves over the various forms… Always err on the side of the more dynamic. That means, if the gesture is curved, make it more curved. If the shadow is dark, make it a little darker.”

Continue reading “Figure Drawing For Artists”

Drawing From Observation

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Drawing From Observation

by Brian Curtis

This is a highly informative book about observational drawing. One of the recurring themes is the distinction between what you see (percepts) and what you know (concepts). “There is meaningful conflict between what is perceived (convergence of parallel tracks) and our traditional rational understanding (Euclid’s theorem that parallel lines never meet)… To prevent your concepts from distorting your perceptions you must record the proportion you see, not the proportion you know.” Continue reading “Drawing From Observation”