I don't see figure drawing studies shared from members of the Paper Demon community too often. I suspect figure drawing is one of those things artists only study if they are forced to as part of a larger art program. Perhaps people think it's boring? Or they tried it and didn't like it?
But I'm here to tell you that studying figure drawing is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you want to improve your drawing skills. You can study it on your own. And it's even quite fun.
What is figure drawing?
Figure drawing, or life drawing, is the study of the human figure. It usually involves creating drawings from a live nude model reference, but can also be done from photographs. The goal being to capture the emotion and rhythm of the subject as well as indicate the anatomy and structure of the human form.
Why studying figure drawing is so essential
You'll learn fundamentals
Many beginning artists start out producing drawings that look kind of stiff or rigid. Through studying figure drawing, and artists drawings will begin to have more expression and aesthetically pleasing rhythms in the line art and will begin to look alive.
Through studying figure drawing, you'll learn to make your drawings look more three-dimensional, as if they have volume and weight. And you'll learn the foundation, structure, and anatomy of the human figure which will make your drawings more accurate and believable.
“If you’re designing without a foundation, you’re designing a lie from a lie; Something from an abstract idea. And the further you get from the truth, the more it gets distorted. Like the telephone game.”
– a panel member from a panel of Disney animators at WonderCon
You'll be able to draw almost anything
“My work for Disney is more environment-based. But it still involves construction, rhythm, shape design, and how shapes are related to one another. It’s the same, whether you’re designing an environment or piece of a body.”
Dan Cooper, Disney environment illustrator, Source
The fundamentals described above apply not just to figure drawing but to any type of drawing. Once you learn them you can reuse them in many situations. And you'll be able to learn to draw new things really quickly.
It's how the professionals learned to draw
Disney animators have relied on figure drawing and life drawing for decades as an essential component to producing great animation. It's also standard curriculum for anyone who studying animation or illustration at the university level.
You'll be able to draw from your head
After you've had some time studying figure drawing you'll begin to notice you'll have an easier time drawing human figures from your head. Over time you'll begin to remember how to draw the human figure at various angles and can draw upon that whenever you need it.
My figure drawing journey
The first time I tried figure drawing I didn't really care for it. Though looking back now I think the reason for this is I didn't have a great teacher. Most of the time we just spent watching him draw and he didn't really explain the techniques. And my drawings didn't really improve as a result.
Finally I had a good figure drawing class once I began studying animation and illustration at San Jose State University. After just a couple months, my drawings began to loosen up and have more life and expression. And I actually enjoyed it. It was clear to me the positive impact it was having on my drawing, so I repeated each of my figure drawing courses multiple times. Most of the courses I took were with her on, a student of Glenn Vilppu.
Eventually, I got to the point where I could draw people in many different poses without even looking at a model. As many of us feel there's always room for improvement, but I try my best to revisit my figure drawing studies in between drawing my usual stuff because I know how powerful it is at taking my drawing further.
What's holding you back?
What sorts of stories are you telling yourself about why you haven't tried studying figure drawing? Perhaps you're saying to yourself...
figure drawing is too hard
it's awkward looking at poses of nude figures or looking at a live nude model.
I tried figure drawing before and I was dissatisfied with my drawings.
I'm not ready to study something like that
How might you rewrite the stories in a way that serves you better as an artist?
I've done hard things before. I can do them again.
It may be awkward at first but I'll get used to it.
With persistence and the right instruction, I'll be making awesome drawings and see results within a few weeks
There is never a better time than now
How to get started
Look for a figure drawing course at your local community center, school, or art store. Or take an online course like the one from Stan Prokopenko or Glenn Vilppu. Or you can watch Proko's free figure drawing course on YouTube. Prokopenko and Vilppu are awesome instructors that break things down into easy step by step instructions.
If you can, try to integrate a bit of figure drawing into your daily drawing routine.
I hope I've convinced you to give figure drawing a try. If not, what's still holding you back?
As always I'd love to hear what you thought of this article. And don't ever forget the community is here to support you.
Line-of-Action is a tool with clothed and nude photographs that rotate on a timer.
Croquis Cafe has video recordings of nude models for figure drawing
The Posefile book series has nude figures which you can use as reference for your figure drawings
ArtModelTips has a lot of photos of nude figures which you can also use as reference
How to participate
- view the topic for the day. If there's no topic posted or you don't like the topic, do whatever topic you want. Might I suggest smaugust?
- create a sketch on the topic
- post it to paperdemon site with the "sketch dailies" tag or the discord #shares channel
You got this! You can do it! The more we draw, the better we get. I look forward to seeing what y'all come up with!
Participants will gain 30 XP for every daily drawing (limit 1 per day).
Topic: Not loading?
Oh that's strange. I haven't noticed that on my version of chrome and Windows. Don't worry will try to get this fixed
Are you one of the many people who have decided you want to earn a full-time living from your creative abilities - writing, drawing, photos, videos - instead of working your 9-to-5?
Below is a guest post from the wonderful Case Lane who helps entrepreneurs and writers. I met her at a recent conference and she was gracious enough to write this post to help our community! Please enjoy and thank you Case! - BogusRed
For the thousands of people who have decided to ignite their side hustle dreams and start a business, the initial work - creating your product or service - brings peace and joy. But at some point, you realize you have to be able to distribute your content into the global marketplace and pay the bills. In the absence of your own version of Medici family-style sponsorship, how do you manage the business side of your business while staying true to your creative spirit?
Creatives aren't suits
In Hollywood, there is a clear line drawn between the 'suits' and the 'creatives.' The suits are the people who run the studio business like finances, operations and technology departments. The creatives are the writers, directors and actors who bring stories to life. Many suits in the industry want to be creatives. But, in my experience, no creatives want to be suits.
In the transforming global market, many of those people who thought they would be confined to 'suits' forever, are now finding online tools and endless information resources that make it possible for their once hidden creative talents to emerge.
People can spend their time creating, and market and distribute their work all over the world. Latent creatives are starting their own businesses based on their hobbies and passions like watercolors, writing or growing succulents. However, as these opportunities become more successful, people who did not want to be 'suits,' find themselves having to do the business side of their business and are finding no joy in the activities.
Many creatives, myself included, just want to do our work, which is creating. I begin each day writing 5,000 words, but I would do more if I did not have to stop and take the time to manage my business.
The business side
If you are creating, producing and distributing content that you hope will support you, you will have many tasks associated with your work. For example, if you run an online business, you have to
- check e-mail
- manage your e-mail lists
- manage social media
- check your advertising returns
- cover your expenses
- review your spending on distribution and marketing your product or service.
You may have to do the work every day, or every week, but when you're starting out, all decisions go through you.
As you formalize the business, you have to worry about registration, incorporation, trademarks and policies.
And as the business grows, you need to think about teams, benefits, physical and automated operations, and growth strategies.
All this when all you want to do is create.
So how can you manage these rising demands, while staying true to you and your initial dream? Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Prepare to Run a Business
The word "preparation" means the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration. When you begin thinking about transforming your work into a business, think about "making yourself ready" to be the CEO of your own corporation.
Making yourself ready is first about your confidence and belief in yourself. You can be prepared to launch your business and make it successful if you first convince yourself it's possible. Focus on you in your preparation. You may have many people around your life who are trying to convince you that starting a business is not a good idea. You do not need to listen to their comments, you only need to focus on your own vision.
Own your attitude towards business success by preparing yourself to be a CEO. What do CEOs do? They read - about the business, industry and the market they will be participating in. Even if you think you have no time to get into the details of a business, start by taking the time to read and learn more about the world you think you want to live in. Before you know it, you may just find yourself spending time on actually launching the business.
Finding reliable tools will encourage you to work on your business every day. Whether your perfect tool is a good notebook or a reliable pen or the notes app on your phone, you need the right items near you at all times to get started and to avoid excuses around why you did not get the work done.
Taking the first step to obtain the basic tools you need will put you in a business planning and launch frame of mind. If you designate the tools, and an area to work in for your business, you can spend time in that corner working on the business side of your activities, separate from your creative work.
Focus on your Strengths
Are there any traditional business activities that you like or may be good at? For example, if you like numbers you may be able to do your own accounting and finance. If you are detailed oriented, you may enjoy mapping your processes.
Understand the skills that you have that may be useful for completing traditional business activities. Knowing the part of the work that you want to do may help you stay focused and interested in specific business tasks, and you will not have to spend money hiring someone else to do this work for you.
Keep it Simple
If you believe you need a fancy flashy website with moving pictures, spectacular graphics and all the dynamic latest themes, take a look at what James Clear has done. He literally goes to straightforward black and white text, and interested readers follow him there. Or have a look at Berkshire Hathaway's site. One of the most successful companies in the world keeps it simple with links and charts, no flashy pictures, and hardly any color.
Why does simple work?
Because the content is so strong. If you create content that people want to read, they will find it. Although, you might occasionally hear people say how 'cool' someone's website is, they won't mention it again if there was no valuable content to read on the site.
Simple does not only apply to websites. You can manage your graphics yourself if you stay with familiar fonts and standard colors. Keep your finances in one place and use clear labels for filing. Download project management software to keep track of tasks or research. In all instances, do not try and do too much or learn complicated new programs. When you're tempted to get the latest gadget, all you really need to do is remember you want to keep it simple.
As a creative person, you may decide there is absolutely no way you want to do any of the business-like tasks related to your passion. In that case, you can outsource.
You can hire a virtual assistant to do the tasks you do not want to do. Virtual assistants are people who work from anywhere to provide online assistance such as managing a website, sorting through e-mails or even copywriting and contacting people on your behalf. You will have to do research into the VAs skills and negotiate costs, time and expectations. But that initial process will save you hours in the long run.
For specific tasks like building a website or setting up your bookkeeping, you can hire a one-time contractor who can complete the work for a set price. When hiring, you have to be careful with your specifications to make sure the work is done to your preference. By the way, you can have a VA do the research on hiring freelancers for other work the VA cannot do.
Hiring or co-opting friends, family, or neighbors to help you get the work done is sometimes the most viable, and inexpensive option. Volunteers can be invaluable resources when you are starting out, especially if they are professionals in a business field such as graphic design.
If you decide to go with volunteers, make sure these assistants fully understand the work you want done and are prepared to follow-through to the end. You may have a hard time holding a volunteer to a deadline, but you will have to if you want to have your business running in a professional manner.
Setting up and running your own business based on your passion or hobby is one of the most rewarding activities you can do for yourself. If you are a creative, who does not like the business side of business, do not let that fear stop you from going ahead and getting started. Select an alternative option that suits your personality and work preferences so that you can concentrate on what you do best - your creative pursuits.
About Case Lane
Case Lane is the founder of Ready Entrepreneur, a business focused on helping wantrepreneurs become entrepreneurs in a high-tech, global economy.
For more than a decade, Case had a front-row-seat in Hollywood to the transformation from physical to digital media in the entertainment industry. During this time, she helped train a diverse group of current and future media employees who had to learn to directly cope with the impact of technology on their jobs. Realizing a higher percentage of people will have to become economically self-sufficient in the coming decades, Case focused her business on helping people obtain the information they need to start a business and fulfill their lifestyle dreams.
Educated in communications, political science, business, law and economics, Case has lived, studied or worked in eleven different countries as a reporter, diplomat, digital media corporate executive, lawyer, writer and entrepreneur. As a writer, Case has published Life Dream: 7 Universal Steps to Get the Life You Want through Entrepreneurship, and Bloom! Defeat Negativity, Overcome Bad Advice, Love Yourself, and (finally) Become the Happy Person You Want to Be.. She also writes future tech, political and romance thrillers.
To learn more about Ready Entrepreneur, please visit http://www.readyentrepreneur.com where you will find unique articles and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs, and you can sign-up for Case's e-mail list to get tips, strategies and other information.
Topic: Not loading?
I've spoken to many artists who say they struggle with self confidence. You may have thoughts in your head like "There are tons of artists better than me," or "It's not going to turn out the way I imagine it anyway so why bother," or "No one likes my art anyway so why should I keep making it".
These are all just forms of "head trash" or negative thoughts we tell ourselves. Woozle from our engineering team refers to this concept as negvox, short for "negative voices." Whatever you call it, it's important to understand our thoughts can dictate our success. As Henry Ford once said
"Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."
The good news is there's a simple technique you can use to eliminate the head trash, and it only takes 2 minutes each day. It's called daily affirmations.
I've been using daily affirmations for about two years ever since I first learned of them from Boho Berry and the Miracle Morning. I use them to help me with my anxiety, confidence, people skills, and motivating myself to draw more. And as silly as this thing sounds, it actually works.
Getting started with affirmations
Take a few moments to choose two or three affirmations you will use for the week and write them down on a piece of paper. See below for examples. Select affirmations that directly negate negative thoughts you have about yourself and your art. For example, I struggle with perfectionism, so I use this affirmation to help me produce more art.
"Consistently creating art is more important than perfection"
Set aside two minutes each morning to recite your affirmations. Make sure you say them out loud and firmly. Affirmations are most effective when done at the start of your day. The thoughts created from these affirmations are more likely to stay with you throughout the day and build a positive mindset.
Place your paper with your affirmations some place where you can't miss them in the morning, such as on your mirror, in front of your toilet 🚽, or the cupboard where you keep your breakfast cereal, coffee, or tea ☕. This will help you remember to do it each day.
You'll likely get bored of these affirmations over time so be sure to change them out now and then.
Why this is effective
Reciting daily positive affirmations help you build a positive mindset and confidence in your art and in yourself. By reciting simple positive messages, you’re building pathways in your brain towards positivity. You probably won't see the effects right away but over time, repeating this exercise will foster positive thoughts in your mind. When you have a positive mindset you'll be motivated into taking action and creating more art more frequently.
To make things easy, I've written a few sample affirmations that you can start using today. Over time, you'll probably want to swap these with new ones you find online, or even better, write your own.
Perfect is the enemy of done. I start things even if I fear not doing them perfectly. I will not let perfectionism freeze me from making progress.
I am a highly skilled and talented artist
If I never try, I am sure to fail
When drawing and painting, I am not a slave to my reference. I change and design it to be more aesthetically pleasing and tell a story.
I schedule time for rest and self-care so that I avoid burnout and can remain creative.
Today I am making time to create.
The only person I compare myself to is who I was yesterday.
If you're thinking to yourself, "this is silly and it wont work," acknowledge that that too is head trash. You've got nothing to lose except 2 minutes a day. So why not give it a try?
What affirmations did you come up with? I'd love to hear them and try them out! Share yours in the comments below so others can get ideas from yours, too.
Over the weekend I attended a conference that was all for creatives with online businesses in Boise, Idaho. There was a plethora of speakers, everything from YouTubers to bloggers to authors. It was a great chance for me to get inspired and learn some new things.
After the conference, I did a bit of sightseeing and went to what the locals call "Freak Alley," the northwest United State's largest outdoor gallery. It's an alley filled with an amazing variety of street art painted by artists local to Boise. I left feeling amazed and even more inspired. I'd never seen street art like this anywhere before.
I was lucky enough to have a couple of locals give me the tour. I learned that this alley has been a place for street art for several years and every year they organize a new group of artists to paint it again with new art.Entrance to Freak Alley and a record of the events
If you find yourself in Boise, Idaho, definitely check it out and enjoy the art while you can because for sure it will be painted over anew in the future.
What art treasures are lurking in your neighborhood? Maybe take a walk outside to find out!
Hello Daze! Welcome to the community! We will certainly get along. Your doodles bring a smile to my face. I'd love to see more of them.
Topic: Kind of Overdue - but Hello!
Welcome CherryWitchery! Super excited to have you be a part of it!
What types of things help you improve? Are you using any software in particular for your digital art?
Also sorry the first reply to your message was spam. We've been having a lot of that in the forums lately
Topic: Art section overhauled!
Thanks for reporting the bug! I tried Firefox on WIndows 7 and don't see that issue. Do you have this problem in the non-adult section or just the adult section? Can you send me links to the artwork where this problem occurs?