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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Figure Drawing Resources for Beginners and Advanced Artists

Figure drawing is easily one of the most challenging yet rewarding ways to improve yourself as an artist. It can be split into three separate disciplines: life drawing, drawing from mind and drawing from reference (photo, book, etc.).

Life drawing is a form of observational drawing where you observe a three dimensional figure and translate it to two dimensions on your paper. In case you are drawing from your mind you need to tap into your knowledge and produce a convincing result based on that. Drawing from reference falls somewhere in between of these two disciplines.

In order to become a good artist it is important to master these disciplines at least to some amount. Of course this is just one opinion. I'm sure you can be a really good artist without sticking into this framework.

Each of these disciplines supports each other. As you draw from life you get to use skills earned in the two other disciplines and vice versa. It's difficult to learn life drawing without actually having some kind of a model. Fortunately it's possible to train the latter two with less effort.

I've tried to gather some pertinent resources in this post. Some of them are freely available, some are not. The list is not exhaustive. It's likely you'll have to do some research on your own. I do hope it acts as a starting point of some sort for you.

Note that given the subject it's possibly you'll run into nudes. If you get offended by this sort of thing, just move along. :)

Books and Magazines

All of Andrew Loomis' books
Especially "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth" is valuable. There's definitely a lot to learn from his books.
George B. Bridgman - Constructive Anatomy
Bridgman uses a constructive approach in his drawing. This means he uses simple primitives, such as boxes, and wedging to join them together. This simplification provides a starting point for further observations. Famous Frank Frazetta based his anatomy on Bridgman's work. The same applies to many others, Loomis included.
Michael Hampton - Figure Drawing: Design and Invention
A modern take on the subject. See also his blog.
Greg Albert - Basic Figure Drawing Techniques
Good book covering a wide range of techniques. There's a Kindle edition available too.
Douglas R. Graves - Life Drawing in Charcoal
A mass based approach to charcoal drawing. Truly interesting.
Doug Higgins - The Frank Reilly School of Art
At least the preview looks really cool.
ImagineFX Presents: Anatomy
Plenty of interesting information condensed. Ron Lemen covers various approaches to figure drawing. In addition there's information about animal anatomy by Marshall Vandruff.
Marshall Vandruff's collection
More books to read. :)
Process Junkie's collection of favorite books
Some of the books have been mentioned here. You'll find a few new ones there.

Courses and Lessons

Marshall Vandruff - Anatomy for Artists
Nice, streaming video lesson by Marshall Vandruff. There are some really nice insights, especially for beginners. Well worth the $20.
Good collection of commercial video lessons. I haven't checked these out yet but at least the site looks nice.
A nice collection of lessons by Brenda Hoddinott, the author of "Drawing for Dummies".
Learn to Draw the Human Figure
Commercial video series by Riven Phoenix.
Analytical Figure Drawing
Student work blog.