Saturday, March 12, 2011

Constructive Figure Drawing Pt. 1

Well, today is the first week of spring break, woohoo! I still have a ton of homework to get done, but I figured I'd start it off with some drawin' just for fun. We've been doing pretty much all skeletal studies in figure class and I've been itching to do a full figure drawing again, but I wanted to keep pushing the anatomical stuff we're studying and construct it from imagination. Gonna see how realistic of a final rendering I can come up with using only supplementary reference, not directly copying any one photo. Still got a lot of learning to do before mastering this, but it's not lookin' too bad.

First step was just a fairly loose gesture sketch to get a feel for the pose. Decided to keep it pretty simple since there's gonna be enough challenges trying to invent the light and form without having to deal with crazy foreshortening. The main thing here is just the proportions and what direction each "bone" is facing.

Next is refining each thing as accurately as possible. Normally figure drawing wouldn't be this analytical, but this is tough for my skill level so I want to be sure of the understructure before worrying about any muscles. Adding in smaller things like the clavicle, scapula, illiac spines and separating the radius and ulna is important here so its easier to find the origins and insertions of the muscles that hook up to those bones.

Here is defining some of the major masses; starting out defining the torso as a big block, the legs as big cylinders and so on for each thing. If I were to just dive in to muscles, there's a 100% chance that my proportions would get totally off; starting with the bigger forms and carving specifics out of them will keep things in check later on. I opened up a photo ref here to double check proportions.

Now comes the oh-so-fun part of adding muscles! I made the image high-res so there was room to work and started attaching each muscle in to its proper place. There's still a lot of gaps in my knowledge here, so I grabbed Bridgman's and Stephen Peck's books to have a look at each muscle and find their proper origins and insertions. A big thing here was also thinking in terms of mass, if this is gonna look real perspective needs to be considered, so instead of just drawing lines where muscles should be I tried to separate them all in to planes and add cross-contours to be totally sure of the 3D form of each muscle, and be sure it was subordinate to the major forms established in the previous step. This took quite some time even with grouping lots of smaller muscles in to larger masses.

And lastly for today is fleshing it out; adding on the skin and fat that'll make the figure look like a human and not like an architectural mannequin. Here I started breaking out photo reference to double check stuff. Once again, I don't have any photo reference that matches this pose exactly, just bits and pieces from my reference folder and online resources. The goal here is not to copy, but to understand and re-create.

And that's all the progress on it so far. Tomorrow I'll go in and correct the things that are wonky, then try to render it out by using the forms already established and additional info from various photo refs. I also need to try and get some of my original gesture back; it got pretty stiff from adding on muscles so mechanically. Hurrah for figure drawing!

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