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Author   Topic : "question about drawing from life"
Stefan C
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:54 am     Reply with quote
Hi! I'm drawing a lot these days (pen and paper from facebook photos) but I'm a bit confused. I have found that I draw in 2 different ways from time to time:
1. I just "trace" the lines with my eyes. This makes the drawings detailed but sometimes the proportions are off.
2. I try to identify and draw distinct shapes. This makes the images undetailed but with good proportions.

So which way is right?
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balistic
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:11 pm     Reply with quote
Start with number 2, then do number 1 Smile

But seriously, that's actually pretty close to standard practice:

"Work from the general to the specific"

Don't start drawing fingernails before you've nailed down the proportions of the hand, et cetera.
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octavian
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:53 pm     Reply with quote
Hey Stefan, Interesting that you draw like that.... Balistic is right.... your first way is akin to "contour" drawing and the second is like drawing by using positive and negative shapes.

My favorite, is the first way... I especially like blind contours.... or about 90 percent blind.... where I only trace the lines with my eyes and rarely look at the paper. I love the melted quality it gives to work. you end up with a surprise everytime if you don't look until you're finished. it's a great feeling.

I guess in an ideal world, you will practice both, and become adept with both so that you make great drawings. The first hones your hand eye coordination really well, the second hones your skill in proportion. Both are very valuable.

have fun!
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Stefan C
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:37 am     Reply with quote
Thanks for the answers! Hopefully some day I will draw what I actually see effortlessly...
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The Insane Lemur
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:03 am     Reply with quote
Also something you should try is to tackle "form". Internalize and understand the structure of the image, not just flat shapes- also draw from life first, and photos later- even drawing little still lifes of stuff around your desk can help you understand structure much better, which is essentially what realistic drawing is. (like spooge would say, not lines! structure)

I agree with octavian that blind contour drawing is fun and produces a cool effect, I'd like to add its a good idea to put thought into what you are contouring. Recently I would draw blind for about and hour on a page and would always contour little details and treat everything in a very 2 dimensional way (it would fall apart and end up pretty disjointed, the focus of the image comes out large and misplacement galore), but now I have been practicing it but aiming for the structural effect of the forms. It helps alot!

Hopefully you understand my bad writing, but basically think and draw in the illusion of "3d" instead of 2d shapes.
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Stefan C
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:36 pm     Reply with quote
Insane Lemur: I think I understand... I've been thinking that I should draw from "real" life, but my room is so uninteresting and it's cold outside, hehe... Althogh I think I will start doing it now.
The structure thing, is it like "touching" the object? Recently I've started drawing in a new sort of way when drawing from fantasy, it feels like I'm touching the objects I draw, they feel "real" and 3d in a new way, at least in the moment when I'm drawing them. Or maybe I'm just going crazy.
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The Insane Lemur
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:11 pm     Reply with quote
Thats the ticket! Going crazy is a skill not many have Very Happy
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Max
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:26 am     Reply with quote
recently we had a life drawing session here at the studio and i tried a totally new approach. i drew without looking at the paper. i did many 2 minute drawings and one 15 minute drawing that way. sure it looked crappy as hell. but after a while you get into it and start not to care about skill. eye and hand become one. if i looked away from the model i still was drawing what i saw, floor, door, other people around me. total flow. after that i did another drawing with looking at the paper, combine these two ways. and i achieved a style i have never seen from me before. it was a release. no skill, no awesomeness, just drawing. i think this way you can break bad habits. also because you are sourounded by people who will think: wtf is he doing? looks like crap. that way you stop worrying tho and really concentrate on what you see, not what you draw, or what other people will think about you. and if I achieve a wonderful drawing, i might aswell burn it, because it's just adrawing i could do again, better. yeah, i am going all crazy Very Happy
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Jabo
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:36 am     Reply with quote
Burning drawings is awesome as hell (and about as hot).
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Max
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:05 am     Reply with quote
The next extreme would be to do this with your harddrive. It's just a stupid pice of,..metal...right? But I am sure some poeple would give their left,..maybe even right hand to save their data...ergh, no, I amnot ready for this. Maybe in some years, it will only get harder tho Very Happy
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Jabo
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:39 am     Reply with quote
I lost three generations of data before I managed to eventually use a backup-system. It never hurts as much as one would think, at least after some months. But make sure to have your best pieces online in low-resolution so you can tell people "You know, this was looking a lot better in hi-rez!" Very Happy Of course, this is concerning personal data, not your professional work Wink

actually I'm still close to tears when I remember the nice hollow tree I made in 3ds max some years ago Sad
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watmough
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:54 pm     Reply with quote
OK, since no one else covered this.

Measure!

Draw from life in a precise manner, draw things the same size you see them and measure with a straight edge or your drawing implement.

Do this, A LOT.

Eventually the drawing will be more in your hand than your eye, then you will be getting somewhere.
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Returner
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:48 am     Reply with quote
Quote:
it was a release. no skill, no awesomeness, just drawing. i think this way you can break bad habits. also because you are sourounded by people who will think: wtf is he doing? looks like crap. that way you stop worrying tho and really concentrate on what you see, not what you draw, or what other people will think about you. and if I achieve a wonderful drawing, i might aswell burn it, because it's just adrawing i could do again, better. yeah, i am going all crazy


It's a rare state the Renneseance (sp?) master Leonardo used to refer to as Flowus Totalus. It has horrible side effects though that occurs if practiced to often. You might get locked in that state forever, (when no pen is around your index finger will wave uncontrollable in your ear as a substitute)
A more commonly seen side effect when you reach the highest levels of Flowus Totalus is you start to make sounds that capture the "inner being" of your subject at hand(index finger still wawing). To the disdain to any present gentleman or lady the sounds are mainly not of oral origin. This is the main reason why Leonardo did so few paintings, the price of Flowus Totalus was simply unbearable.

No but on a serious note Max that is the mental state you want to get to every time, sometimes you get there fast sometimes not so fast. Gotta go to some life drawing sessions again...(sorry for the low humour, couldn't help myselve.)
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octavian
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:46 am     Reply with quote
Insane, Max, and watmough all make really good points.

I remember one of my crazy old art teachers who always grumbled on in mysterious ways.... kind of like if Yoda on crack..... One thing he always emphasized, was that you need to get into the drawing so much, that you FEEL your hand breaking the two dimensional plane and wrapping around the form as you draw. Of course I knew everything as a student so I thought he was as crazy as a box of frogs.... but sure enough, I was drawing very intently one day and suddenly my hand burst through the two dimensional plane and the pencil tip was wrapping around the models shoulder, flowing over the form... I could literally FEEL like I was sculpting or tracing the form in 3 dimensions.

As returner says, getting into that state is the key, but not always so quick to achieve. With practice I think it gets easier and easier to gain though.

Watmough also has a very good point too.... measuring is another crucial skill to developing your accuracy.... balancing that while tripping out on the form is a tough state to master.

So grab your crayons and a plumbline, drop some acid, and go at it!

good luck.
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skwid
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:27 pm     Reply with quote
hey, the first way is actually a classic way of learning to draw, like some other guy said just look at the form and trace the contour with your eyes. imagine your pen point touching the object and take it super slow, after awhile the proportions will seem natural since your eye can recognize and understand the forms.

there's always a contour line between two points. just remember that! always a single line between two points, they never lie.

shape and form can be fleshed out once you understand contours.
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