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CoolArtiste
10-24-2004, 09:40 PM
Can anyone here draw realistic figures without a model or photo?
If you use a mannekin, that's OK. If you have any example drawings,
please post them here.

piper2
10-25-2004, 06:24 PM
It is possible to draw a figure without a model, but you really need to have a good knowledge of anatomy or a heck of a lot of practice to do it. Also, sometimes a weird position or trick of perspective is hard to figure out without a model. In that case I usually just google to find something similar and work from that.

Why do you ask?

CoolArtiste
10-25-2004, 10:46 PM
Because I don't have money for models and I want to free myself from photos. When I make a drawing, I want it to be all my own creation. I also want to manipulate figures to make them look more like I want them to. I wanted to see if anyone here is good at drawing figures from imagination. To me, being able to draw realistically from imagination and then to add a bit of your own style is the ultimate in draftsmanship. Then you're no longer just a monkey copying things, but a real artist. I realized just recently that I need to really dig into anatomy and memorize all the muscles and bones and their shapes so that I know them all cold. I didn't know that casual study of anatomy was not nearly enough. I also need to practice gestures a lot. For a year or more I've been wondering what procedure to follow to get to where I want to be. Now I think I know.

piper2
10-25-2004, 11:36 PM
Another thing that I've found really helpful is a mirror. When I'm sketching people with an unfamiliar gesture, I look at what I'm doing with my own hands. And actually, I've found that drawing in a loose, cartoony style really helped me learn figures . . . the informality of it all fools you into doing many, many sketches where before you would agonize over one or two.

You know what always stumps me, though, is painting or using color from imagination. I find myself using tried-and-true shadow placement, when in reality shadow and light are quite unpredictable. I can't imagine being able to paint something super-realistic cold turkey!

Now that is probably true mastery.

Fylia
10-26-2004, 01:10 AM
When I have to draw hard poses or Hand gestures, I usually take a picture of myself (using the timer function in my digital camera) or I ask a friend to pose for the pictures...

Lee-1977
10-26-2004, 09:42 AM
Another option is to get the program 'Poser', which would allow you to manipulate 3d figures in to any pose you want, and gives you a great frame of reference.

Best of luck
Lee.

K-Man
10-28-2004, 03:23 AM
Hello CoolArtiste! :wave: and, nice to meet you!

I do a lot of figures myself, some from reference photos, but the majority are strictly from my head. I set out on a quest to learn to do this several years ago, and found little in the way of information on the idea. I even found some opposition to it!

Then, I happened upon a book called "Dynamic Figure Drawing", by Burne Hogarth. While part of the focus of this book is to teach drawing of figures in movement in deep space and foreshortening, it also covers the subject of "invented" figures, which is how Hogarth worked most of the time.

This book gave me a much better understanding of the human figure, by explaining why certain body parts appear a certain way in certain positions and views.

Certainly; an understanding of anatomy helps, and as I said; I do use references on occasion... but this book worked extremely well for me!

Hope this helps in some way!

CoolArtiste
10-28-2004, 06:52 AM
But aren't Hogarth's drawings wild and distorted? I've been avoiding his books because I don't want to draw in his style.

I've been reading the books by Jack Hamm and Andrew Loomis for help on constructive figure drawing.

I also have the book by George Bridgeman, but I'm still not sure if it's useful or not.

Dallen
10-28-2004, 10:03 AM
Can anyone here draw realistic figures without a model or photo?
If you use a mannekin, that's OK. If you have any example drawings,
please post them here.

Leonardo didn't think so, Michaelangelo didn't think so, Raphael didn't think so, Titian didn't think so, Degas didn't think so, Gaugan didn't think so, Sargeant didn't think so, Rockwell didn't think so, and I don't think so.

It is easy to draw a figure without a model, but it is impossible to draw an excellent one, no matter how good you are.
Dallen

K-Man
10-28-2004, 01:59 PM
But aren't Hogarth's drawings wild and distorted? I've been avoiding his books because I don't want to draw in his style.

I learned from Hogarth, but my style is nothing like his. It is his method of basic construction which appealed to me, as it can be applied to anyone's style.

I've been reading the books by Jack Hamm and Andrew Loomis for help on constructive figure drawing.

I also have the book by George Bridgeman, but I'm still not sure if it's useful or not.

I also have all of Jack Hamm's books. I'd say my style is similar to his. Only discovered Loomis about a week ago! I'd love to have his books, but they sell for big money, being out of print and all. I'm not familiar with Bridgeman though.

I don't know that one can expect to achieve "photo realism" without a model, and to be sure, the creation of shadow and light on the human figure is extremely difficult without one. It all depends on your definition of "realistic". Even some of the "great masters" utilized "sculptural light", which emphasizes forms in a way which is appealing, but not really possible in reality.

I'm certainly not going to tell you I know all there is to know about figure drawing. I just wondered if you had encountered this book, as I enjoyed it myself.

coyote
10-28-2004, 05:17 PM
Only discovered Loomis about a week ago! I'd love to have his books, but they sell for big money, being out of print and all.

Loomis books are available to download, in PDF, here:
http://www.saveloomis.org

and Dallen... "it is impossible to draw an excellent one, no matter how good you are." :rolleyes: This is just not true. I've seen it done by three people that I can think of off the top of my head.

BTW, another great book for learning the figure is, believe it or not, "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" by Stan Lee, et al. Although the product may be looked down on in the fine art world, some of the best figure artists make their living in comics and animation.

coyote
10-28-2004, 05:25 PM
Only discovered Loomis about a week ago! I'd love to have his books, but they sell for big money, being out of print and all.

Loomis books are available to download, in PDF, here:
http://www.saveloomis.org

and Dallen... "it is impossible to draw an excellent one, no matter how good you are." :rolleyes: This is just not true. I've seen it done by three people that I can think of off the top of my head.

coolray
10-28-2004, 11:14 PM
CoolArtiste,

Drawing the human figure is complex. Yet if studied and broken down into basic components, you can basically draw the human figure without any reference at all. I have done that many times. I don't like to much, only because I like to capture the moment. Whether I use a live model and do sketches, or have a photo session, and paint from those photos, I feel I can be more accurate in my drawing.

All the books mentioned above are good books to have. You can even buy very inexpensive how-to books, and gleen information from that. Find one that is close to your idea of what kind of figure you want to draw. I have various books. I have cheap books, but I also have Grey's Anatomy book. It is a very intense book for learning the anatomy, but well worth it.

Practice of course is the big key. I do a lot of loose construction drawings, just to play with the figure. See what I am able to do.

I hope you have success in drawing your figures!

Terry

CoolArtiste
10-31-2004, 07:21 AM
I just read that when you're drawing a figure out of your head, you MUST visualize the figure on the paper and make it like you're drawing an outline over the figure you see on the paper. Do you guys find this to be true? I'm going to try it.

TedDawson
10-31-2004, 06:29 PM
Different things work for different people. I find it's helpful to think of the human figure, clothed or otherwise, in terms of shadow and light.

I think a good exercise is to draw with a light-colored pencil or whatever on very dark paper. You can't draw an outline so you're forced to re-examine things.

Dallen
10-31-2004, 11:56 PM
[QUOTE=coyote]Loomis books are available to download, in PDF, here:
http://www.saveloomis.org

and Dallen... "it is impossible to draw an excellent one, no matter how good you are." :rolleyes: This is just not true. I've seen it done by three people that I can think of off the top of my head.



Guess we just have different standards for excellence.
Dallen

Quiet
11-01-2004, 10:07 AM
Leonardo didn't think so, Michaelangelo didn't think so, Raphael didn't think so, Titian didn't think so, Degas didn't think so, Gaugan didn't think so, Sargeant didn't think so, Rockwell didn't think so, and I don't think so.

It is easy to draw a figure without a model, but it is impossible to draw an excellent one, no matter how good you are.
Dallen

You must mean well, but your attitude leaves much to be desired.

coyote
11-01-2004, 11:07 AM
Guess we just have different standards for excellence.
Dallen

I think we just have different levels of experience. :rolleyes:

Meldy
11-01-2004, 06:06 PM
I believe that anything is possible. I have seen amazing illustrations done from only the artist's mind. And I have been in Awe. If you want to be excellent without references, learn all you can about anything and everything you are doing. Then create. There are no limitations.

As for myself I will do rough sketches from my mind and even take them farther on my mind alone. But for me to truely do a final finished excellent piece I must have a reference. I don't veiw this as a limitation just my way of doing things. I know that no matter how well I have visualized something that there is something beautiful that I can observe from life that will take me even farther. My stimulation is what I SEE in life. And then I interpret that with my hands. I find this process exciting. I have no desire to work without references.

Follow your own dreams and desires! It is what makes your art and experiences exciting. :clap:

DigitalDust
11-06-2004, 01:49 AM
I'm not sure why anyone who wants to render in a representational (realistic) way would want to draw "from their head" - seems like reinventing the wheel to me.

All the aforementioned artists (like Loomis) give some terrific formulaic methods to create drawings from scratch, but it's based on years of observation and life drawing.

Considering the human body especially, so much changes on the surface of a person depending on how they are posed or what they are doing and how they are lighted (lit?), it doesn't seem rational to think one could "memorize" the infinitesimal variables associated with making something "look" real if not based on something that is real.

The problem with formulaic techniques of drawing, IMHO, is that all your people start looking the same and taking on the same stylized characteristics, like comic book art. Someone mentioned "Drawing Comics the Marvel Way" (which I've owned from way back when) - that's where I started learning to draw when I was a kid - Spider-Man comic books. It was a great way to create realistic figures in numerous poses, but I started getting into the rut of a drawing looking the way I "thought" it should look vs. what it really should look like and was a hard habit to break later on.

Below are a couple of quick sketches (the product of some fidgety energy one night) that if I were to compare to an actual person posing would be shocked to see how far off I am because of a formulaic, preconceived approach.

So, if one wants to render realistically, I would suggest going to the source; the actual human form or good, well shot photo reference. No shame in that and seems to be the method of a vast majority of classical realists.

daal
11-06-2004, 05:30 AM
Greetings,
First of all, thanks for the links to the Loomis books. At least one of them looks like something I'd like to read (For example the one on creative Illustration). I was wondering if anybody could give me a tip on how to download them in PDF form. So far I've only figured out how to download page by page as a JPG. Thanks,
P.S. Just my two cents on the subject of drawing out of your head: I think it depends on what you are trying to do and what your priorities are. There aren't too many absolute truths in art.
Daal

habondia
11-07-2004, 06:46 AM
For me the most important thing is to NOT use photographs when drawing a figure. Photos flatten out everything much more than we realize. When I see a drawing or painting copied from a photo, I always know immediately, and to me it shows a real lack of depth in the work. Using photos as reference can be fine, of course--anatomy, position of hands maybe, etc.--but not to base a whole figure or portrait from a photograph. For me that's a major no-no.

There is no doubt IMO that using a live model is always better for a lot of reasons; but it also depends on what you want your work to show. For example, if I am doing kinda strange fantasy stuff, I don't mind doing it from my head as long as it is anatomically correct (or incorrect in a controlled fashion). I am not a master, so I need to use live models and other references for help...I have spent many an hour copying Durer and others to try and learn how to draw hands and feet, but even so...

Also it's a good idea to use books, as already suggested here, depicting what other artists have done. Every artist's interpretation is different, even if they have same in-depth knowledge of anatomy, structure, and movement...that's another reason that photos are bad. The point is not to draw something "correctly"--you have to get to the point where that is taken at least relatively for granted--but to express something, and give your own personality to it.

That's my opinion. :)

CoolArtiste
11-07-2004, 08:37 AM
I just now tried taking an existing pose I liked from a photo and I made changes on it. I added feet, which were missing, and I changed the head to a much better looking head. I also corrected the perspective distortion of the photo by making the more distant parts bigger. And lastly, I made the arm muscles smaller because in this case they were too bulky. It took a lot of trial and error and adjustments, but I got great results! I got a drawing that's exactly the way I wanted, for the first time! For now I think it's a good idea for me to use references like training wheels. I can mix body parts and poses from different sources and also modify them to make them more beautiful or whatever. Studying books by Hamm, Loomis, Bridgman, etc. has helped a lot too, although I'm not finished studying. I'm reading Jack Hamm's figure book a second time because I forgot almost everything. I've found you can remember a lot better when you actually try to use the info in the books.

I don't think it's a danger for me to draw from photos because I have a good sense of what amount of perspective looks right and a good sense of shading for a three dimensional look, what needs to be corrected, modified, etc.

I took a life drawing class, and they have some serious drawbacks too! The models are usually very ugly and dumpy, they sit or stand in boring, sleepy poses, they have no facial expressions, they can't hold any dynamic poses for very long, they give you hardly any time to draw, etc. The life drawing class I had was almost useless because of these drawbacks. Photos have lots of advantages too, not only drawbacks!

One pet project of mine is to collect photos of the most beautiful male and female faces I can and study & draw them in order to learn to draw the most beautiful faces possible in the future. It'd be rare to find such faces in a life drawing class.

DigitalDust
11-09-2004, 12:09 AM
For me the most important thing is to NOT use photographs when drawing a figure. Photos flatten out everything much more than we realize. When I see a drawing or painting copied from a photo, I always know immediately, and to me it shows a real lack of depth in the work. Using photos as reference can be fine, of course--anatomy, position of hands maybe, etc.--but not to base a whole figure or portrait from a photograph. For me that's a major no-no.


I would have to agree and add, that there is usually distortion in photos creating "squat" or skewed figures because of the curve in the lens.

Use of photography in a realistic artwork needs to be supplimented, enhanced and corrected by knowledge of anatomy, and knowing it well enough to correct camera distortion, lighting and hard edges. Slavishly copying/tracing a photograph will not generally produce desired results.

A camera is monocular (single viewpoint), creating hard edged images. For something to look real as it would to a binocular creature (two viewpoints), such as ourselves, edges have to be purposely softened when painting from photo reference.

Quiet
11-09-2004, 07:53 PM
I'm not sure why anyone who wants to render in a representational (realistic) way would want to draw "from their head" - seems like reinventing the wheel to me.


I saw an amazing ceiling mural once involving a flying horse. That darn horse was perfect in every way Ė and the view was from beneath its hooves. Not only would a horse never hold still to be drawn, but I can guarantee you that the artist did not have a horse hoisted aloft or trotted out on a glass ceiling in order to gain that perspective.

Now, I personally donít have a budget for models, and when I spontaneously want to draw someone in a crazy flying martial-arts pose at three in the morning, itís my imagination or a photograph. And since I donít like being confined to whatís on hand in photographs, so itís up to me to know enough anatomy to draw or paint something that Iím satisfied with. Aside from that, I love to paint creatures that donít exist. Thereís not a dragon in the world to pose for me. I have to know enough animal anatomy to fake it properly.

Besides. . . although I may not know enough anatomy to render a perfectly realistic human from my head, what I do know greatly increases what I can paint when I do talk someone into posing for me, or when I try to sketch an animal that refuses to hold still.

sancyr
11-19-2004, 11:34 PM
Hey all. I don't post very often in this forum though I am technically an illustrator by trade. I do work from memory and find it much more difficult than drawing from life or from a photo. However, I choose to work from memory because sometimes, I like the imperfections that happen. I think a lot of the personality and style of an artist comes through from memory, just like a doodle from memory can say so much about an artist. Anyway, here's an example of a painting I've done completely from memory. There are many inaccuracies (monkey hands!) but the "look" is not anything I could have replicated with a model.

Oddly, I noticed the monkey hands error only after the painting was completely finished and sold which is why they were never fixed. Memory playing tricks.

Sara

DigitalDust
11-20-2004, 01:05 AM
Can anyone here draw realistic figures without a model or photo?

The above is an excerpt of the initial post of this thread.

So does Sara's painting qualify as "realism", or more of a stylized approach?

I guess an answer to the initial question depends on one's point of view.

So what say ye? What degree of realism is require to be considered realism? Is that a loaded question or a mute point?

(Sara, this is not to compare your work to Shanks', but to illustrate the question I asked above)



"Grace" ©1996 by Nelson Shanks Oil 44x44 in.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2004/34772-ritual2.jpg

sancyr
11-20-2004, 10:15 AM
I'd have to say my approach is definitely more stylized. I said so in my first post in regards to inaccuracies. However, I do see a difference between naturalism (true to nature) and realism (without idealization in a subjective sense).

The stylization is very evident in the example given by DigitalDust and it evident in my own work when I DO use reference. (Portrait from reference attached below.) For me it is a matter of purpose.

If you're going for a true representation of the human body and form, I agree with Digital that working from memory is like reinventing the wheel. However, if you're going for a representation of a spirit or mood, working from memory can greatly aid that, even if just your initial thumbnail sketches are from memory and are flushed out using reference.

Is it possible to render a naturalistic (photographic) figure from memory? No, not to the degree that a camera could render it or an artist working with a model. That's just the nature of memory. Could the figure still come across as real? Yes, I think so. The confidence of the artist has a lot to do with it. Could that same confidence be applied to a work using reference? Yes. But it's not nearly as cool as creating something that doesn't exist and couldn't exist except in your own mind. ;) Then we go back to the argument of "Is an artist merely a photographer?"

Just a thought.

(Not trying to showcase my work, but this is a subject I've been interested in and tackling since I started making art 13 years ago.)

Sara

Meldy
11-20-2004, 10:45 AM
Thanks for sharing those thoughts with us. I also have to say that the opposite is true as well. Having a live model can also enhance any stylization you want to create. Just because you have a live model in front of you doesnít mean that you have to make it exactly as you see it - you have no limitations. And if you already know what you are doing realistically, then you can really take your stylization to another level using elements in front of you that memory could never recall as well as using your imagination. This can be the most powerful combination. Just wanted to share the flip side. :)

Quiet
11-24-2004, 01:58 PM
Thanks for sharing those, sancyr and Dust! Good points and good examples.

Sancyr, I love the geisha!

Paperbackwriter
11-25-2004, 10:16 AM
[QUOTE=coyote]Loomis books are available to download, in PDF, here:
http://www.saveloomis.org

and Dallen... "it is impossible to draw an excellent one, no matter how good you are." :rolleyes: This is just not true. I've seen it done by three people that I can think of off the top of my head.



Guess we just have different standards for excellence.
Dallen

Hi Dallen;

I am 'brand new' here at WetCanvas, but have been an artist/illustrator/photographer for many years. I'm presently
an author and publisher. Come visit my pages at:
http://www.authorsden.com/annamariefritz


I agree that it can be done. One has to have a vivid and retentive imagination, coupled with years of observing, drawing, painting, etc. Many, many famous artists have done beautiful figure paintings...virtually from memory.

Paperbackwriter

debbykaspari
12-01-2004, 09:22 PM
I'm working right now on a set of fairy figurines for a company, and with some of them I just kind of doodle to start with and then tighten the anatomy up as I go. For extra help I found pictures online of dancers, and when I had a little trouble with the hands I had my husband take photos of my hands posed like in the thumbnail. But basically these come out of my imagination to start with and get enhanced. If it makes any difference I took a lot of anatomy and life drawing courses in school.

ed_keaton
12-12-2004, 06:12 PM
I think the key to drawing figures without models is to have alot of practice life and figure drawing. It won't tell you everything, but a good life drawing and anatomy background will do nothing but help you.

Also, I find it very helpful to map out figures first with anatomically correct stick figures- usually a circle for a head, sticks for limbs, and a tubish conical thing for the ribcage- and then flesh them out with previous knowledge. I try and do one small first so I can see the overall picure- and then do it again larger, and keep the small skeleton/stick figure sketch handy for reference if you start to get lost.