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Old 10-31-2004, 11:56 PM
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Dallen Dallen is offline
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Re: Figures without models

[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." 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

Last edited by Dallen : 10-31-2004 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 11-01-2004, 10:07 AM
Quiet Quiet is offline
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Re: Figures without models

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallen
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.
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Old 11-01-2004, 11:07 AM
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Re: Figures without models

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallen
Guess we just have different standards for excellence.
Dallen

I think we just have different levels of experience.
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Old 11-01-2004, 06:06 PM
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Meldy Meldy is offline
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Re: Figures without models

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.
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Old 11-06-2004, 01:49 AM
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Re: Figures without models

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.
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Old 11-06-2004, 05:30 AM
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Re: Figures without models

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
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Old 11-07-2004, 06:46 AM
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Re: Figures without models

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.
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Old 11-07-2004, 08:37 AM
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Re: Figures without models

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.
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Old 11-09-2004, 12:09 AM
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Re: Figures without models

Quote:
Originally Posted by habondia
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.
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Last edited by DigitalDust : 11-09-2004 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 11-09-2004, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalDust
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.
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Old 11-19-2004, 11:34 PM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Re: Figures without models

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
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Last edited by sancyr : 11-19-2004 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:05 AM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Re: Figures without models

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolArtiste
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)



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Old 11-20-2004, 10:15 AM
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Re: Figures without models

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
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Last edited by sancyr : 11-20-2004 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 11-20-2004, 10:45 AM
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Re: Figures without models

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

Sancyr, I love the geisha!
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