Real life drawing boring?

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Rad Sechrist
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Post by Rad Sechrist » Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:19 pm

One other bit of advice. You don't draw what you see, you draw what you know in the same spot as what you see. You develope the skill to tell how far apart stuff is and then you place an object there that you know. If you only know how to draw boxs and spheres, then draw those in the places where rib cages and noses and eyes go. and so on. As you learn, you can make more and more complicated forms untill you get something pretty close to reality.

Reagan
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Post by Reagan » Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:24 pm

See, I love drawing from life, yet I almost never do it. I did it intensely for a few years though.

A lot of the time I hear people treating life-drawing like the ultimate way to good drawing. This seems to work for some people, but for some reason when I did more life drawing, my drawings done from imagination really suffered, like I was becoming dependant on drawing from some kind of live model or photo reference.

Not everyone seems to have this problem that I do, though. So take it with a grain of salt. I just know that there was this one time where I did so much life drawing that I became super awesome at it, yet everything I drew from imagination just looked like formless crap, and I didn't have any ideas for anything that didn't exist in everyday modern life.

I find that it helps me most if I draw something from imagination, but incorporate elements from a real thing. Like if I'm coming up with a fictional car for a single page, I'll look out the window into a parking lot or do a Google images search for cars and use them as very loose references for how a car should be proportioned. Just stuff that'll tell me how to not make the doors too large or too small.. Really basic stuff. And once I know those I can go on to drawing from imagination while retaining a bit of believable realism.

I also noticed that combining imagination-drawing with life drawing helps me to memorize how to carry over knowledge from life drawing and store it in my head for drawing from imagination. When I draw strictly from life, I'm just doing what my eye sees.. Yet I'm not thinking at all. My hand just follows my eyes. So when it came to the point where I had to think about what I was drawing, I couldn't do it because I had no visual reference.

Another example of this is if I want to draw a guy throwing a punch. If I'm having trouble, I might look around for a photo of a guy punching someone, but I don't ever copy it. I just look at it so I can understand where certain muscles, joints, and movement should be at and apply it to the drawing I'm doing, even if the drawing I'm doing is in a different perspective or body type.

I mostly just use reference to make sure I'm not doing anything glaringly incorrect, rather than to actually draw from it, I think is what I'm saying.

Sebastian Agresti
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Post by Sebastian Agresti » Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:55 pm

Thats intresting to hear, thanks reagan : )

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thirdeyeh
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Post by thirdeyeh » Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:33 pm

Reagan wrote:See, I love drawing from life, yet I almost never do it. I did it intensely for a few years though.

A lot of the time I hear people treating life-drawing like the ultimate way to good drawing. This seems to work for some people, but for some reason when I did more life drawing, my drawings done from imagination really suffered, like I was becoming dependant on drawing from some kind of live model or photo reference.

Not everyone seems to have this problem that I do, though. So take it with a grain of salt. I just know that there was this one time where I did so much life drawing that I became super awesome at it, yet everything I drew from imagination just looked like formless crap, and I didn't have any ideas for anything that didn't exist in everyday modern life.

I find that it helps me most if I draw something from imagination, but incorporate elements from a real thing. Like if I'm coming up with a fictional car for a single page, I'll look out the window into a parking lot or do a Google images search for cars and use them as very loose references for how a car should be proportioned. Just stuff that'll tell me how to not make the doors too large or too small.. Really basic stuff. And once I know those I can go on to drawing from imagination while retaining a bit of believable realism.

I also noticed that combining imagination-drawing with life drawing helps me to memorize how to carry over knowledge from life drawing and store it in my head for drawing from imagination. When I draw strictly from life, I'm just doing what my eye sees.. Yet I'm not thinking at all. My hand just follows my eyes. So when it came to the point where I had to think about what I was drawing, I couldn't do it because I had no visual reference.

Another example of this is if I want to draw a guy throwing a punch. If I'm having trouble, I might look around for a photo of a guy punching someone, but I don't ever copy it. I just look at it so I can understand where certain muscles, joints, and movement should be at and apply it to the drawing I'm doing, even if the drawing I'm doing is in a different perspective or body type.

I mostly just use reference to make sure I'm not doing anything glaringly incorrect, rather than to actually draw from it, I think is what I'm saying.
I think Reagan nailed it. Life drawing teaches us principles and in understanding those principles we can better apply them to our art in an imaginative way. But understanding those things is what makes a good drawing from your imagination more believeable. I always found that when I was in school I was doing both in my art classes: tried to learn from reality, while also creating art that I was pleased with.

An interesting confirmation of that can be found if you watch the guys from Weta discuss designing for Lord of the Rings. The reality of anatomy and design by function is what guided them in their creation of Tolkien's world. And while they bent the rules all over the place, it all worked because it was formed off of a knowledge of life.
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Reagan
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Post by Reagan » Sat Feb 24, 2007 7:14 pm

Oh, and another thing. I hear this a lot from animators..

When you do life drawing, try to get good at looking at the subject you're drawing for only a few seconds, then trying to draw it entirely from memory.

It was EXTREMELY maddeningly hard for me at first, but after a lot of practice I was slowly able to do it. I found that this also helps drawing from imagination, since you're using your mind to capture a mental snapshot of something. So in a way you're doing both - drawing from life, and from imagination. This is also a GREAT way to practice drawing things in motion, since you want to be able to see a person jumping mid-air, remember what it looks like, then draw it on your own.

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Ashwara
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Post by Ashwara » Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:46 pm

I've had the same feelings as well. I do it because I know I should, and it really does help. I like drawing from life, but only studies really. Sitting down for hows drawing a bike or somethign isn't that fun. But still, the more you know about reality, the more you can change it while helping it stay beleivable.

Something I've always done is "observe and then draw". Basically all the time in life I am looking at things, thinking, "Oh, that's how you draw that." Oftentimes i will be drawing and then I realize I don't know how somehting looks. usually that'll make me more likely to observe that thing in real life [or go get a picture from google, ha ha, but still, I look and then draw].
It's funny, though, I've noticed that a lot of people I know who paint realistically don't know how to paint or draw from their imagination, ha ha.

Great points all around though. And it's good to see that other people feel this same way.

This point is pretty similar to the previous post. That's usually how i do it, because I find it more enjoyable, oh ho ho.

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Sankam
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Post by Sankam » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:13 pm

Reagan and Rad speak Truth.

I've discovered it was the struggle of learning to draw that made me hate life drawing. I've been back in school for the last year and the more I learn, the more I like it. It was not being able to tell what I was looking at, or not having the dexterity to put it down accurately, that drove me batty. But yeah, it's important that you use the model as a reference. It's not about slavishly copying-- it's about understanding how things are put together, rhythms, light, etc. That's why cartooning is the same thing as life drawing-- cartooning is an exaggeration of the essence of a thing.

Some people can capture the essence of a thing in a purely graphic design, but that's its own sort of talent.

Usually I'll invent from imagination, then use reference to 'fix' it, if there's something I am unable to solve.
"Once, there were only wilderkin..."

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Ainsley Fish
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Post by Ainsley Fish » Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:00 pm

I used to think drawing from life was boring until college. I don't know why but just drawing from life in High School was the most horrible thing ever. But I've just taken a liking to it since I got into college.

If I were you I would do gesture drawings at the very least. You only spend about 30 seconds on them and they help SO much.

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