Category: anatomy

Proko’s Figure Drawing Fundamentals – Lesson 2 Homework

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You can watch the free version of this lesson here!
However, the premium version is longer and more resources and examples are provided.

Beans, beans, BEANS!  I’m continuing my lessons with Proko’s Figure Drawing Fundamentals class with the lesson on simplifying the motion of the torso.  When I first saw this exercise, I kind of laughed to myself.  What could a bean tell us about the torso?  Wasn’t this too simple?

I wasn’t saying that later when I was about 70 beans in and I realized that there was so much more information being transmitted in this exercise than I realized.  When a torso bends and twists, creases and tension are expressed in various ways.  This is such a subtle lesson in physics that can really bring volume to your figure drawings!  Here’s an example with a current work-in-progress of mine.

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The first pose is very straight forward and also very stiff, while the second pose pushes the dynamism a bit more, but still seems so stiff.  I employed the ‘bean’ method in the 3rd pose to try and capture the subtle twist and lean of the torso combined with the foreshortening of the lower camera angle.  Already, the pose is looking much better and has more weight to it than the others, which didn’t quite pay respect to the physics of the torso.

And now the beans! Here’s a sketch dump of all of the ones I sketched for this lesson.  I’ve been doing the recommended 100 sketches before moving on from a lesson.

The biggest challenge for me was figuring out how the creases turn when a torso is twisting.  I have no advice on this issue except to practice and observe!  Foreshortening, torsion, and eye level play a big part in what overlaps what and I am only scratching the surface of this concept, even after drawing this many beans.

I also believe that learning something so subtle as this requires practicing and drawing, rather than reading advice about doing it.  It just kind of clicks in your brain when practicing, which is why I think in this case drawing numerous sketches like Proko recommends to be very useful (and essential)!

I’m definitely excited to move on to the Robo Bean, which is the next step up in complexity from this base form in a later lesson.

Of course, I couldn’t help having a little fun by the end of this assignment illustrating random bean puns.  A cookie for you if you can guess which ones they are!

Previous Lesson:  Gesture
Next Lesson: Structure Basics (coming Soon!)

My Anatomy Improvement Wishlist

In an effort to improve problem areas of anatomy, I present to you My Anatomy Improvement Wishlist, or exercises I intend to do involving the following:

  • Hands – I still have problems with fingers at foreshortened angles and the joint of the thumb to hand/wrist.
  • Feet – Less troublesome than hands, but still alien to me in their funkiness.
  • Faces – Specifically various facial expressions and different facial types.  To help me draw people who look diverse instead of like myself. Also concentrating on the planes of the face for better understanding of how varying light defines facial features.
  • Arms – Mostly the construction of the bicep/tricep area. The way these muscles interact baffles me.
  • Man crotches – Don’t laugh!  The way pants and clothing drape over this…complex…area of anatomy always looks too tight or just plain flat and weird the way I draw it currently.
  • Man Waists – To help battle my bad habit of drawing men with feminine waists.

How will I fight these difficult areas of anatomy?  With practice…and chocolate (and coffee)!  I’d like to do the 100 drawings of each exercise and will probably shift my studies of life drawing towards planar breakdowns and contour exercises instead of the usual gesture and shaded drawings I’ve been doing with the Pixelovely tool.  They say you have to draw something, 10,000 times to know it completely by memory. I think I’ll just try 100, for starters.

Once this month is up, I’ll probably dump the best picks from my studies here for you all to see.  In the meanwhile, what areas of anatomy do you all have problems with?  How do you plan on combating your problem anatomy areas?

Stay creative!

Commissions, Portfolio Reviews, and Study Sources

So a lot of big changes have been stewing in the pot for me.  With the decision to switch focus to more concept oriented work, I’ve been gathering resources to study not just design and the game industry, but also sources to help me in this challenging transition from traditional to digital media.  I’ve also realized I need to step up my fundamentals, especially anatomy, perspective, and my old enemy – the background environment!

I feel like I’m going back to school again, which is kind of exciting!  I miss studying and learning new things and even considered picking up some classes here at SCAD-Atlanta again with my alumni discount, but I figure I would try the self-study route first and see what happens before getting myself into more student debt than I already have.  No doubt this is going to be a willpower-driven endeavor, but I CAN do this!

I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot here, but due to the amount of time I should be studying instead of toiling into the night on commissions, I am shutting down private commissions UNLESS they have no deadlines whatsoever.  I’m still going to finish the ones in my queue, but from now on, you will only be able to purchase custom work from me based on what is available in the Custom Items section of my Etsy shop (masks, keychains, pendants, earrings, etc. Mainly my crafts).  I am still available for commercial and corporate work, however!  I do need money, but I need my sanity more!

Rather than feel like I’m taking something away from you guys, I figured I’d offer something new – Portfolio Reviews!  If you would like me to look at your work and provide constructive criticism of your strengths and weaknesses, send me an email with a link to 8-10 pieces, your name, a bit about what industry you’re aiming for, and your website link with the SUBJECT: Portfolio Review.  If you don’t know what industry you’re aiming for, let me know and I can always suggest what comes to mind in my humble opinion based on the work you present to me.  It’s a great way to get your work featured here, which I’ll be doing once a week once I have somebody to feature!

Finally, I figured I’d share my list of study sources just in case anyone else is curious or going through this same transition.  I’m on the lookout for more sources also, if anyone has any suggestions!:

Anatomy Books:
ImagineFX Presents: Anatomy – A nice collection of common problem anatomy areas complete with many charts, photos, and contour drawings by top notch artists. I snagged this one digitally for a low cost.

Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist – This is a somewhat dated book, but the section on different body types, expressions, and the effect of aging are exceedingly useful! Also, you can’t beat $6 for a used copy.

Figure Drawing: Design and Invention – Breaking down the body into simplified shapes and contours. I love the approach of the gesture method used to establish the energy of a pose first before trying to construct the heavier lines, muscles, and forms. Energy is important and I feel this book is going to help me with my stiff figure problems.

Digital Coloring Books:

Imagine FX Presents: Fantasy Workshop – I’m a big fan of ImagineFX magazine for its inspiring tutorials and wonderful art from the game industry. This collection gathers many of the artists from their first run of magazines for specific techniques and tricks with screenshots for how the effects were achieved digitally.  Unlike the 2nd book, which just gathers pre-existing workshops.
Digital Painting in Photoshop – Just a basic book on Photoshop tools. I know most of it, but there are some holes in my knowledge as far as file processing and setting up workspace and workflow. Sometimes it’s good to get back to essentials, especially when you’re self-taught and might have some glaring knowledge holes that could come to light in a digital job.
Digital Masters Collection: Volume 1 – Digital Painting Techniques – A straight up digital fantasy and scifi art book with instructions on how each image was made from pros in the industry.
Concept Art Books:
Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Art of the Animated Series) – Admittedly motivated by wanting this for my personal collection, but what better way to learn than to study this series that has inspired me so greatly?  I intend to learn much from the designs which are so similar to the subject matter I’d love to be hired for, with particular attention paid to how they had to simplify the designs to work for television animation.

Game Art: Creation, Direction, and Careers – Also somewhat dated (as they’re still talking about looking forward to nextgen systems like ps3), but the info on what sort of staff makes up a video game development company and what one should expect in their job is golden!

Instructional Videos:
CGMWORKSHOPS – A wonderful channel on YouTube showcasing the videos of various master artists and designers.

FZDSCHOOL – A channel on YouTube featuring videos from an amazing school of design with easy to follow videos on basic design concepts and digital painting techniques.

TheArtDepartment.org – An offshoot of conceptart.org for their instructional workshops. Amazingly, I just noticed in checking the site this morning that their videos are STILL on sale for $7.99!  Personally, I’ve grabbed their workshops on color, composition, and perspective with a few of Jason Chan’s character videos.
And that’s all for now!  Let the learning begin.  My sponge brain is ready!  Or perhaps it’s just spongy from all those marker fumes…hrmmm…