Life drawing is also known as figure drawing. It is the perfect starting point for the beginning artist. The basics of art are learned here and members need not worry about meeting advanced or intermediate skill levels. In addition to one on one training by an experienced teacher art books are available for reference. Life drawing is a problem solving exercise that challenges the artist to mimic proportions according to the size variable. The fundamentals taught here work as tools for future artistic endeavors carrying over in to other mediums including pastel, watercolor, and acrylic painting.
The drawing of geometric shapes is a large part of the initial development of artistic technique. Shapes are applied when blocking out areas of any drawing. Look closely and you can see a wide array of shapes within each drawing. Shapes are the foundation of drawing not only living figures, but still life and landscape drawings and paintings.
Any subject can be broken down into simple shapes. This is the basis of sketching. It is best to begin your pencil sketch very lightly so that the initial structure of lines can be erased later. When studying a reference, look first for the general shapes that make up its outline. Once the basic shapes are arranged and sized correctly, begin to soften lines and angles to better match the reference. As detail is added to the rendering, the drawing will come to life.
Shading is the next step in life drawing class. Light to dark shading determines the value of particular areas of the drawing. The intensity of light on a given area of life or object is the means in which we determine its dimensions.
When creating dimension, flat shapes can be made to appear solid simply by adding shadows and highlights. All 3 dimensional objects cast shadows and reflect light based on the intensity and direction of the light source. In pencil drawings, highlights are generally depicted by the white of the paper, and shadows by the deep grays of the pencil lead. The use of a full range of gray tones will create depth and interest within the drawing.
Shading techniques consist of classic shading, hatching, crosshatching and stippling. Keeping the pencil sharp will ensure uniformity while executing these techniques.
Classic Shading: Parallel lines are set at a 45 degree angle to the bottom ot the page. The closer they are drawn, the darker the value of the shadow will become.
Hatching: Lines that are drawn near one another to create an area of shadow. The concentration of lines determines the darkness of the area.
Crosshatching: Lines that are drawn parallel to one another and then have a second set of lines drawn at an angle across the first set. The higher the concentration of marks; the darker the area will appear. There are many types of crosshatching depending on the number and shape of lines.
Stippling: The grouping of dots to create a shaded area. A higher concentration of dots will create a darker shadow.
Moving in to Perspective and Distance
Depicting any object or location accurately, requires placing the elements properly within their surroundings. It is important that the artist consider how people perceive distance, size and direction of movement. These are the pieces that help determine proper perspective. Perspective drawings have what is called a horizon line. This is usually considered the visual point that the viewer is seeing in the distance from his eye level. A horizon line, whether visually there or not is necessary to create perspective in a picture. One Point Perspective drawing means that the picture has a single vanishing point and lines remain parallel to one another. All lines leading toward the horizon should converge at this single point. This point usually falls opposite the viewer's eye on or just above the horizon line.
IDEAL FACIAL PROPORTIONS
Learning to draw a properly-proportioned face can be overwhelming, and no two faces are really the same. However, learning the ideal facial proportions can help you understand where the elements of the face should generally be placed, and this will get rid of much of the uncertainty and make tackling the face less intimidating.
There are several different approaches to plotting out facial structure, and the one we will be discussing is one of the easier to understand methods. Follow the steps outlined below, keeping your guide lines light so that they can be erased later:
a) divide the space between the nose line and the chin (bottom of your face) horizontally into thirds. The place where the lips meet should fall on the first line below the nose line.
b) or draw a line halfway between the nose line and the bottom of your face. The very bottom of the lower lip should touch this line. The ears should be placed on the outside of the face, between the eye line and the nose line.
If you would like to learn to draw, come in and see us. This is just one of the fine arts classes taught at 9Muses Art Center. Classes are taught by professionally trained staff. Check our Calendar for more information.
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