Basic 101: Class 14
The Human Figure—GO FIGURE!
Honestly, I’m a portrait guy—I love to draw my family and my dog—I like landscapes and I like rabbit hutches but I have never been captivated, like most artist, by the human figure. No real reason—it is just a personal preference.
It doesn’t matter whether or not I like to draw the figure—I OWE it to myself as an artist to draw the human figure whether it be male or female. It always disturbed me that there are always more female reference sources then there seem to be male. Anyway, I am glad that I did this as it rekindled a spark in me that I thought was long extinguished.
For the past few classes, we have been skipping merrily away from the DeReyna book and that is ok because I want you to pick up as much as you can from different sources. Like spinach and that eggplant casserole that my aunt would always say that I would like because I had not tried hers—well—like my aunt would say—“its good for you”. In this case, the experience is good for you.
So here we are back in DeReyna-Land. Please experiment with any medium that you would like—both dry and wet. The purpose here is the experience of drawing the figure so go about it anyway that you feel comfortable.
A couple of things regarding the human figure:
1. The arms and legs are cylinders as well as the torso, waist, chest and head—think about this point and creating solidity with your figure—a three dimensional look.
2. The standard measurement of the human figure is in “heads”. A classic human male or female is 7.5 heads tall. This is not, by any means, a fixed position. For example, a petite female may be 6 heads tall or a male be as high as 8 heads tall.
FOR GOD’S SAKE—YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRAW THE HEADS. Instead create for yourself a strip with pencil marks where the heads would be and use it to occasionally measure figure as your sketch progresses.
3. The cylinder is just ONE way to construct a body—You can also build a human figure using trapezoids and bold-like strokes., make reference marks or follow contour lines. Try them all if you have the time.
HOW TO TELL A BOY FROM A GIRL
1. The female sternum is smaller the that of the male
2. The sides of the male waist is longer then the female
3. The female pelvis is wider then the pelvis of the male.
4. The nipples of the female are positioned lower then those of the male.
....and, of course--the usual ways.....
SOME MEASUREMENT TIPS
1. The general size of the face is about the same size as a hand.
2. The upper arm is around 1 and 1 half heads
3. If the fingers are extended, the length of the lower arm is equal to around two heads.
ABOUT MY DRAWINGS
Having not done figures for a while, I decided to experiment. The first female is a pencil sketch. The second female is done in ink and is a character from a novel that my daughter is writing. She is very big into the female empowerment. The first male is just a 5 or ten minute quick sketch using a conte’ stick--it was a horrible mistake but I can't justify NOT posting the goofs--—never used the conte stic before and will spend some more time with it before committing anything else to paper-- and finally the the last male is a quickly sketched male using a mechanical pencil. Again, I place emphasis on the fact that I generally do portraits—don’t shoot the artist!
YOUR ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK
1. Very simple—draw at least one male nude and one female nude.
2. Bonnie, this will be a breeze for you—everyone create a fantasy piece using a human figure. It does NOT have to be scantily clad women riding around on huge battle cats. It can be past, present or futuristic. The decision is entirely yours.
EVERYBODY HAVE FUN WITH THIS ONE.
Doing the course of the week, I will probably also put together a more respectable demo for you as well.
THIS WEEKS FIELD TRIP ARTIST OF THE WEEK IS
MONTREAL PAINTER—I REALLY THINK YOU WILL ENJOY THIS NEW ARTIST’S ABOVE EXCELLENT WORK. HE SHOULD BE TEACHING THIS PARTICULAR CLASS
AND BE SURE TO VISIT ERIC’S WEB SITE. HE IS AN INSTRUCTOR AT AN ATELIER AND HIS SPECIALTY IS THE HUMAN FIGURE. IF YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT BECOMING A STUDENT OF THE HUMAN BODY, THEN THIS IS CERTAINLY THE MAN AND THE INSTRUCTION TO PURSUE. NOTE THAT THE SITE PROMOTES THE ATELIER AND SO IS AN ADVERTISEMENT FROM ONE OF OUR MEMBERS BUT THE STUDENT GALLERY IS PHENOMONAL AND SPEAKS VOLUMES TO THE SKILLS OF ITS INSTRUCTORS.
Also: consider checking out the figure forum for inspiration.