Monday, 26 January 2009

Exercise 5

This week's sketchbook exercise builds directly upon last week's.
By now you should be able to quickly make a stack of 8 1" squares and create a pile of 3/5 wide ovals down the center like so:

The next steps are to divide the second square in half horizontally, make a dark point at the center of the divide between the 3rd and 4th squares, and vertically divide the bottom 4 squares in half.

Make sure the line dividing the 2nd square is 2" long and centered. This is two-head lengths wide and is the typical male shoulder width, for a female the line would be two-head widths (1 1/5" in this exercise).

The midpoint is where we generally place the widest point of the hips, we make this two-heads wide, you can choose to draw in two of the ovals as I've done, or just indicate the width in the line.

Make a triangle of the outermost points of the top line and the center of the line between the 4th and 5th squares. The triangle gives you the shoulder width and the length of the torso to the crotch or pubis.
I was doing something similar to this, cobbled together from a stew of Loomis, Hamm and others, but when someone showed me some sketches of Reilly's figure abstraction method a light bulb went off in my head. I don't build figures completely to Reilly's method, but it's simplified the process for me.

Using the outer points of the two-heads-wide line at the 4th square I draw two lines up towards the top oval that intersect with the half-oval on the shoulder line as illustrated, Next I draw another two lines going down to the bottom of the 8th square, both lines touching the outer sides of the oval in that square. That's all you have to per day this week outside of your own drawing for pleasure.

It's a pretty simple head-on figure shape and greatly resembles part of Reilly's method, though it gets more evolved and thorough than just the simple straight-on view shown. Jack Faragasso's Mastering Drawing the Human Figure is largely based on Frank Reilly's teachings and is a book I highly recommend.

It really is just a few lines away from becoming a more developed figure.

It should be pretty clear why we started with all the 1" squares six weeks ago as, by the end of this week, should be able to judge shape and distance better than when you started, have better control when drawing straight and curved lines and now you're able to apply all that to something considerably more complex, like a basic human figure.

We are still dealing with flat forms, though. Putting the figure into 3D space is the ultimate goal, but there's still quite a bit to cover as we work toward that.


Kane Motri said...

I hope this sounds more complicated than it is... :)

Richard said...

It is pretty simple, but, with the inclusion of the shoulder and measurements it just seems like it jumped a complexity level, but you're just flexing muscles you've developed in prior exercises in slightly different ways.

Kane Motri said...

After having done a couple of those I must admit, it's not that hard. Although those straight lines still aren't really 'straight'...

Richard said...

When I need really straight lines I use a ruler, but, after 20 years of drawing professionally, I can draw reasonably straight lines. The important thing is knowing the goal and relaxing about the time and effort it takes for you to reach it.

Reasonably straight is usually good enough for sketching.