Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Caricature Quick Tip Series How To Draw The Human Figure


Thomas said...

Hi Elgin,

As it turns out, there is a "arts" version of that G.I. Joe figure, that I think is much better and comparably priced.

Yet the subject of figurative anatomy is an extensive one. IMHO the first and best route is to study figures from life whenever possible or practicable.

Also, there are a ton of decent books on the subject too. Ranging from old school Andrew Loomis tomes to Hogarth, Bridgeman, Coyle and Perard--for starters.

The stiff little Mannequin you had there is often used by beginners, with the goal of learning the general geometric ideas. Oddly, skilled practitioners can use them too, but have to have the experience to superimpose anatomical specifics over what would otherwise be an uninspiring anatomical form.

Still, at the end of the day, with all these options, there is no substitute for drawing from life.


Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling said...

Wow, Thomas, there's an "arts" version of the GI Joe! Thanks so much for mentioning it, I must have one!
First off, I wholeheartedly agree with what you mentioned.

Drawing directly from life is the best method for figure drawing,The Disney animators swore by it, and is a discipline that should never be ignored.

I take life drawing classes as much as possible, but especially like "extreme life drawing" on the subway trains,and have built my entire artistic persona around that.
Out of the books you mention, Hogarth is my special fave.

Still, when it comes to the beginner wooden dummy, I really gotta disagree with you there. From day one, even as a beginning artist, I thought they were limiting and dumb. They are hard to pose, and while you are suppose to super impose anatomical specs over them, I figured, why not just skip a few steps and use a posable figure that at least looks somewhat human.

Using this method, I experienced a rapid increase in my drawing ability of the figure that carried over into my life drawing. I also had the added benefit of learning how to draw realistic folds on a figure.

There are many ways to approach this subject, and given the limited time of a YouTube film you are limited in how. Deep you can go. I am thankful that some people, like you , want to dialogue more about a subject that interests them too. Makes me feel like the film wasn't made in vain. Thanks.

P.S. You gotta admit, it was pretty funny, the way I tossed the wooden dummy away!

Thomas said...

Hi Elgin,

Yes, the little mannequin really was of limited use. Just to clarify, I wouldn't recommend beginners use it, but some methods do ascribe to the simple geometric form approach. The red model you had--I think--is decorative. The Art S. Buck Anatomical Models are the ones I was speaking of. They're molded in neural gray and extraordinarily pose-able. The only major inaccuracy is the size and articulation of the feet. There is a male and female model and they run between 15 & 20 dollars. There is also a ecorche figure cast in resin based on a Houdin sculpture, that is hard to get but worth looking for. An illustrator friend of mine even has a live size skeleton (I'd get one, but I'd literally have to put it in the closet) and he uses it for studies all the time. Alas, all I have is a skull.

Funny you mention Disney animators, I helped train one, he eventually ended up working on the Lion King, Lelo & Switch and Pocahontas. His portfolio was--primarily--life studies. In a conference with Pixar, I was able to view the portfolio standard they use and I can say, it has only gone up since those days.

You're right in terms of there being not one best approach, though almost all of the better methods rely heavily of life studies. As you know, I'm an adherent to on the fly life studies via the sketch pad. You work up caricatures on the fly (no small feat) with your subway drawings. I use my sketches as research for use in other images, paintings etc.

You may be surprised to know that they make mannequins life size as well. They sell at NY's Pearl Paint for just shy of $600.00 new.

Videos are tough to do, you managed to make it watchable which is more than I can say of many others. One of our faculty is getting revenue this way. It isn't a king's ransom, but it's free dinner out once a month with beer.

Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling said...

You said
The Art S. Buck Anatomical Models are the ones I was speaking of. They're molded in neural gray and extraordinarily pose-able. The only major inaccuracy is the size and articulation of the feet. There is a male and female model and they run between 15 & 20 dollars.

Those would be interesting to look at, at the 600.00 life size one at Pearl would be a kicker just to look at. I think I'll ask them cart that one out next time I'm in the area.

I use to have one about the size of a standard GI Joe doll, a little more posable than the midget I used in my film, but as I said earlier I'm not reallly a favorite of any of them....

Now I do find the wooden cat and dog interesting, and even the horse. There JS also a single posable and that is great. I purchased one for an artist friend a few years back and ave been meaning to purchase one for myself, but never got around to it. I think I'll entertain the idea again.

Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling said...

Thanks for the compliment about the video. I try to make them personable, which kees me out f the dry lecture mode. I'd love to know how your collegue is profiting from his videos. But I'm sure it's a secret that he'd understandably, will never revea!

Thomas said...

I'll look into the revenue stream via YouTube for you, but I think they contacted him. His videos were getting hundreds of thousands of hits. They're instructional, having to do with the making of jewelry. He can't believe he's making money off them either.

Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling said...

Always nice to hear an authentic artist success story. After years of many of us being marginalized, its so gratifying that we're now being appreciated by corporations as a viable commodity. Its about time too.Since writing this blog, Ive been approached by a few companies myself, and it was shocking to say in the least! I was completely floored. I definitely became more focused after that! just goes to show that it really is true that if you do something you love the money will follow.

Thomas said...

Some corporations do appreciate artists. Pixar--for example--is one. Everything they create goes through the artistic lens first. Before it is modeled, skinned and coded, it is drawn first.

Blue Sky and a hundred other smaller firms keep artists on hand for similar purposes. A former student--now friend--uses his draftsmanship in game design. Amazing stuff.

Its out there. Simply has to be understood and market taken advantage of.