LIFE DRAWING PRACTICE:
Drawing is a big part of work in all art prodution, whether 2D or 3D! Want to improve your drawing skills? Get a sketchbook!
Draw in your sketchbook from life every day, arrange to meet with the teacher for feedback, and as often as you can
attend Life Drawing Wednesday evenings 6-9pm at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (FREE models and supplies!).
1) JUST DRAW:
Drawing is a skill, learned with practice!
If you draw from life every day you will get better. Show your work for feedback to improve faster. Don't draw from pictures or the result will be flat; draw the people and objects around you!

Avoid Worried Lines:
Don't use lots of tiny, slow, sketchy lines to draw the big curve you need. Instead, train yourself to be bold: draw each body curve as one big, fast line!


2) LEARN TO DRAW WHAT YOU SEE:
To improve your eye-hand connection, try drawing your hand as one continuous line without looking at your paper. Try including details like knuckles, veins, wrinkles, nails, cuticles, etc.

The result may look silly, but the picture doesn't matter: the point is to try moving the pencil according to what you see. You can also do this with your face looking in a mirror, or the face of someone else.

3) PROPORTIONS:
Adults 6-7 heads tall, kids 3-4, supers 8. Waist at middle. Standing straight, back is still curved. Arms at sides, fingertips reach halfway between hips & knees. Skull front is oval, side is oval with circle top/ back. Neck meets skull at angle, not straight up. From chin, eyes are half up face, nosetip half to eyes, and mouth half to nose. Fingers at angles. Limbs are built on alternating curves.

4) POSE ANGLES:
Note angles of limbs and torso, especially hips and chest which are often opposite (contrapposto).

GESTURE DRAW: (a) Draw one long line to define spine curve. (b) Two lines for hips & shoulders. (c) Big oval for the head. (d) Smaller joints circles (knees, elbows, wrists, ankles). (e) Curves linking them all. (f) Ovals for hands and feet. Practice keeping the entire form on the page!


5) FORESHORTENING:
Where are you relative to the live subject? Which limbs are closer to you, and seem bigger? Which are further away, and appear smaller or shorter? Measure with your fingers.

Is the figure holding a prop, clothed, sitting on furniture? Work progresively from their big forms to small details, just like everything else. How do these other forms add to weight & balance?

6) VOLUMES:
Joint Curves define forms: turn a knee curve up to raise it. Turn knee curve down to lower it. Same with torso & head curves.

Shadows: Where does the form face a light source, and where is it in shadow? Fill shadows! Where does cloth overlap form, shading where they meet? Where does cloth drape, wrinkle, and pinch to occlude itself and create shadows that help to visually define the type of cloth?

If you go to the Boston MFA Free Wednesday Life Drawing:
  • Arrive before 6pm, ask at the front or info desk where is the Live Drawing.
  • Choose biggest paper & board. Draw BIG with your elbow (not wrist).
  • Sharpen 4-6 #6 pencils for a soft flow that will also allow deep darks.
  • Don't take an eraser. Don't waste time erasing: draw more!
  • Start with light gesture drawing for overall proportions, then a bit heavier for big volume curves. Work on the "whole body" at once; avoid small details like fingers or faces until you have the full form down. Then add shadows to help define volumes and details.
  • If you stay to 9pm, help clean chairs. Remember to thank your model!



  • Arrive too late to get a good seat for the model? Draw the other artists!
    FINALLY, CONSIDER:

    Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing -- Paul Valery
    Don't try to draw a "salt shaker" or a "trash can." Try to ignore what you know about the subject.
    Just LOOK, and try to draw the shapes, angles, volumes, and shadows you see before you.

    You have to be brave before you can be good -- Brian K. Vaughan
    Like archery, where you have to get through a hundred poor shots before you can reliably hit your target,
    expect you will draw a lot of mediocre work before you can start getting"good": understand proportion,
    composition and volume, and reliably move your hand to translate that to the page.
    What are you waiting for? Get drawing!