Figure drawing from Life: Why and How to get Started | Ariel Vittori | Skillshare

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Figure drawing from Life: Why and How to get Started

teacher avatar Ariel Vittori, Illustrator and Comic Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Course Trailer

    • 2. Reasons if you're just starting out

    • 3. Reasons if you have started a while ago...

    • 4. Doing it at home, or getting out there

    • 5. Working with the model

    • 6. My personal approach and what yours could be

    • 7. Final tips & goodbye

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About This Class

Learn why you need life drawing if you're studying any kind of visual art - or be reminded if you know you should practice it - and what you can get out of it. Then get a few useful tips and tricks on finding the resources to do it at home, or with your artist friends!

Meet Your Teacher

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Ariel Vittori

Illustrator and Comic Artist


Born in 1992, Ariel has decided she was going to draw for a living when she was 12. She self-taught herself into signing her first paying art job at 18.

She has since decided to delve deeper into art thanks to various workshops with many important industry professionals, many of them with the amazing Idea Academy.

She makes erotic comics for body-positive, female authors only Filthy Figments, and freelances as an illustrator, specializing among other things in food illustration.

She has been running a life drawing class with a group of artist friends in Rome, Italy for the past year.

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1. Course Trailer: hello and welcome to figure drawing from life this area. And this is why you might need figure drawing if you're a visual artist or students at a level where you can get from a depending on your level and how you can do it more easily and more often from the comfort of your home. 2. Reasons if you're just starting out: if you're self taught or did you talk to our school yet? You might not have been introduced to life yet. So what is it for? Our purposes will, if I us drawing a figure from life under a specific attack? A strange why is from life support? Well, that's because photographic references can be very useful, will use them to to duty such your size of home. But they have to be issues. The 1st 1 is clarity. Sometimes photographs a certain lighting that doesn't like you see the four too well, and that may say harder for you to get what you want from the picture to put it down on paper. And so we only have to use a specific kind of photograph that year. Way took or somebody to Yeah, probably intending it to be reference and not just finally photograph. And secondly, we have distortion from the camera that untrained eye can sometimes Nazi or even if you can see it can be hard for you. It's a beginner to kind of make up for it, but drawing what you know to be true, even though the photograph it showing you otherwise like I'm exaggerated for shortening or distortion objects near three end of the frame anyway. So desert, the to be issues photography. And there's people using three D models this reference, but that to me, that's pretty much a big no no, except for gesture during as we'll see later, because pretty models can never be as natural as a human being, of course. So the poses are usually stiffer, and the proportions are usually just the ideal proportions. And so we will not get anything. Got a bit more than we could get out of a constructive Not to me, you know, building a figure that's ideal. The really cool thing about life growing is that you get to see real proportions. Real people that are we're that have Alexa are too short or weird hands, and that's interesting. That's what that's what makes character. And you can draw people's character, you know, through life forming, and that will help you with your own practice. If you're your room, you designing characters. If that's what you want to do eventually and if that's not what you want to do, I don't care for figures much because your morning to drawing monsters or environments or whatever. Then what do we care? Well, we care because off the second big, the part of the definition of life drawing, which is the time constraint, Why is it so important? Because that's gonna get you a crucial scale, which is speed if you're planning to do anything more than studying in act. If you're planning to be a professional, speak is extremely important when you're not a student anymore. You can't really allow yourself until you're at that point where you're, you know, really high in your career, and you're seeing a lot of bucks for a single picture. You can't really allow yourself to spend two weeks on an illustration or, you know Teoh spend forever in the planning stage off being too uncertain about the figures about the environment or everything until you're up to the patient stage, because that's gonna slow you down. And when you have to pay bills with your art slowing yourself down, it's really something you can for. And so yeah, that's that's what makes life during such an important exercise to do at first and then to keep going with to keep growing with. There's an exercise that I just you could do before actual figure growing. If you can find a class or if you can't make any of the methods that I'll explain later, work for you for a finding model or somebody to pose for you, well, then just get your friends to pose for you or your siblings. Just get them a copy and they don't even act to take your coat up. Just, you know, during yourself to see the forms and shapes, even just in a face or in a club. That figure and you can do that sitting in a coffee shop in your sketchbook. And that's what I did pretty much through all my teenage years. So even if I wasn't academically trained in any way when I was in front of a model for the first time, much later when I was 21 um, I did not feel out of place because I learned a little bit at least Teoh to really see. And so that's a nexus I said suggested you and you could even bring that That's your class product. If you want 3. Reasons if you have started a while ago...: If you're a beginner anymore, I'm sure you know how important life growing this and how important it is for you to keep it up, even just 30 minutes at the beginning of your work. They can make a difference, especially the lover, by my now find. It is easy to find time for its on. You might leave it aside. Well, you shouldn't because there's lots of opportunities in life during this well, life drawings can be a part off or even the main subject off a really cool art book, big or small, that he called Distribute to your friends or I can even be just another day on your Facebook page, and it can be something that people are really interested in. But because it can be a really big expression off your personal voice looking for some block but break these life drawings, they are really unique, really. Case. Or it could be something different from your usual work, and they could be something that's unusual for you, and that could be interesting for people following your work. A swell and for all the young artists and the sudden artists that follow you could be so interesting. Teoh. Look at the process of your work. The process of your learning and life Drawing is a part of that and and going back to art books more specifically, Look, for example, of what David Pakistan, with its ink life drawings. There's this wonderful a book muse, and it s on every successful Kickstarter and, uh, looking at something smaller. There is somewhat meaningless patsy sketchbook, and there's some light runs any to along with this crazy and wonderful creatures. And so you can really be parked off your work even if it doesn't have a place in your portfolio anymore that you're gonna show in the industry. Whatever. Usually just your urine it conceal have a place in the work day you used Teoh make your living and just to build a following Plus, life drawing can be an extremely useful tool for your work if you're into comics or if you're doing on illustration with figures. In a take a page out of James Carney spoke imaginative realism and use the model Teoh do a study from life, and that's something that can be extremely useful. And it could be a lot better than graphic references For all the reasons that I mentioned in the student recent section off plus, but also just because it's, you know, it's more fun. And, uh, yeah, that's helped me tremendously in my last comic book. Well, I should say, just comic, because it has only being a Web comic on the developments that come, and that's on me tremendously. There was this one model that I kept going back to and calling for life during classes because she was just the model for the main card they're off my comic book on. Yeah, so just do like the old musters and do a study for life. 4. Doing it at home, or getting out there: No, no. Why? It's so important for you to draw. Figure some life at any level you might be asking. Yeah, but how does it I don't know any other artists. They don't leave close to me. How do I practice? He trying? There are many websites likely that can help you with that. I am listening Some in the resource attachment in this class right down here somewhere on, uh, one of my favorites is quick poses. It's very motivating because it's God kind of achievements you can unlock when you go forward, and it's just really nice because you can set a timer so you can kind of decide working for yourself with different time timings, and I'll show you my favorite over team later. And, um, if if you're if you're lucky and you leave next to a big city or in a big city or even in a medium sized city, you might have more artists around you than you think. And you can go to artist community websites like weapons catchers are or dot com, um, or a concept are thought. Arm the message porter. It's full of people, and that's what is useful. If you are in the US, But if you are in Italy, for example, just because that's where I am, there are websites like Robin releasing it away, which is a block, but it's also a Facebook page and Facebook. It can be easier to see where people are from their sorts of groups, where people post their art on Facebook. And if you're in any of those groups, it can be really worth your time. Teoh. See if there's other people drawing in your area that might be interested in life. Uh, because they my already have a group set up that you don't know. Or they might take advantage off the local art school life drawing class or even better. If not, those things are happening yet. You might be able to set up a good for yourself. I am in a self managed light during group here in room. By the way, if you pass by room, you're welcome to you. Contact me and join for a session, and basically what we do is we weren't up a small place. You don't even need that much space. You just kind of need chairs, a sofa or um or computer for the model will be better. But even just church is fine and a place that's small, like a living room. It's more than enough for 8 to 10 people and a model to be, and that can be pretty chip. I mean, I think I don't know us prices, but we get our location for really, what is the equivalent off? $40 I think, And basically you split the price off the location between 8 to 10 people and explain the fee off the model of 12 which again can be really chip. If you know any photographers, it's really worth it to ask them if they know any models that might be willing to do. Like throwing life. Drawing can be a lot easier than posing for photographs, so most models are more than willing to do that. And you might have lacked finding models. If you practice any kind off sports to their big crazy like I do aerial acrobatics and there's lots of people there that are, and dancers or performers of any kind, and they might be willing to pose for you as well. And since it's not that not that heavy and activity they might be able to doing or and $15 per hour. And you have $20 per hour toe. Have a really good session. You might just need a couple of hours. And so he can be a really nice afternoon. Get together and you can get a copy and by the models, some coffee as well. She deserves it or if he deserves it. And you can just be really nicely to get together with other artists and kind of build a local community that you can go to to ask for tips and to confront yourself, especially when you're gonna be starting toe work so you can ask for a bias on, uh, you know, what kind of price do I put on this commission? How do I deal with this commission commissioner who has done me wrong and stuff like that, and especially if you can manage to find people with more experience and kind of surround yourself with them, that's gonna be really, really helpful. And that's what helped me grow in the last year. A lot. Andi has given me a lot of opportunities, and I highly suggest you try and, uh, build a local community. If it's not there yet, it's funny possible, you know, if I made it in a small way, you can, too. 5. Working with the model: So you set up your class or you found one for your at home sitting in front of your computer and you're opening up quickly closes. What should we do know? So the routine usually go for And that, I suggest, is starting now with just your drawing. Just enjoying is something that you do not even looking at the paper, and you're just kind of looking at the model and just kind of trying to get the gesturing. If you are in animation or want to go into animation, that's a really, really important thing. And there's, um, a book that's called Drunk Life You can see, but it's under my laptop over there, and it's just full of information on just your drawing and on life running that IHS more but jester in general. Your gesture and the gesture off the character in the case of animation, of course. But really, we're talking about the gesture off the model here, and anyway, that's gonna be one of the resource is in the attachment there. And, um, yes, just a drawing you can. That's that's pretty much the only thing that I will suggest you to do on post maniacs those maniacs is. You probably know it. It's, um, three D models off people. And it's not something I suggest for life growing because you don't really get the sense of off the gesture of the post. You just kind of got proportions where the lower ideal and usually models don't have ideal proportions, and that's very interesting. But for gestures that might be good enough, gestures can be really 30 seconds to one minute will not suggest you to go longer than that . Longer than that. He's already life form to me already a proper post, and you just kind of go and feel a page out with just a drawing store, just kind of set a timer to non more than five minutes. I think it's it's a really useful to build more than five minutes unless you're just doing just drawing. And you're doing that to warm yourself up to a work day or a study date. And, uh, yeah, after after you warm yourself up with that because the first few drawings gonna 40 crappy anyway. So you know, you just get them out of you and you go forwards, and at that point I like to do three minutes poses or five minutes poses. And if you have a model in front of you, it's really it's really wait Tiu have it be a very natural kind of setting and maybe citing the gestures off a person taking their clothes off so you can kind of go three minutes stopping the person when she or he has an interesting post. Well, taking your shirt off or taking their shoes off, and it can be really interesting to kind of do more unusual stuff like that. And, um, yeah, after a 30 year, you don't with that, I suggest, at least, um, five quick places like that. After you start your you've done that, you can go into longer poses, but especially if you're slow. I suggest you do poses that are not that long. So 7 to 8 minutes it's usually enough to capture the whole body and a few details where you want them, and it's gonna it's gonna teach you. Teoh, get moving. Teoh. Go forward to not, you know, worked much on wondering on one piece, and that's gonna help you with your full illustrations as well. And, uh, yeah, it's It's just a really good exercise to you. Pick your focus in advance A swell when you know you just want a detail ahead. You're going on, you know, build a full body. But you're gonna be quick and do quick lines and confident gestures for the whole body and just kind of going to detail into the one bit big that our audience or the face or And, um, yeah, that's that can kind of give a sense off. Uh, not not finished base, but a sense off compression Teoh to your to your life growing piece. Because that way it can feel like it's trying to say something and that something can even just be Look at this beautiful hand Pooh's this model has on. And I've done that once or twice with a pregnant model that we had like to have. And she just said this really wonderful hands on Bali off that was full with her baby that she'll be born by now, by the way. And, uh, yeah, it's just something that can make the exercise worth your well, even more because he can exercise not just your visual sense but your composition sense as Well, if you're starting a work or study day, and you just kind of want to bring a life going into your routine more slowly, I suggest maybe doing 30 minutes before just started a war day and five minutes can be just your stay. And then you're 25 minutes. You can kind of do 10 minutes that are really sure poses on done. 15 minutes to there and three say, my short poses or two. You know, the 78 minutes poses and that will walk. That would work really well. And you will see the improvement. Well, you go forward. You might be frustrated at first are now. But then you were really feel three Improvement not just in your frying spot in what you're doing after a swap. 6. My personal approach and what yours could be: so I usually don't draw, um, from life with digital media. I much prefer natural media, but for the purpose of demonstrating better I'll, um, I'll do it digitally this time and I'll try to be as natural as I can. Um, so I would usually start with a topic marker pan. Tony, we call them in Italy, And, uh so I just kind of start This is my girlfriend's picture. Okay? It's a really cool vintage picture from a good reference gallery of freshly sr dot com. And, uh uh, So, yeah, all the time frame, I'll give myself 10 minutes or so, not longer. And, um, yeah, so that's just laying the general shapes seem, um, very intuitive in the way I lane shapes. But you can tell that there's a little bit off construction too. Very little. I'm not very economical, all in my approach. Um, so this is just again my personal approach. It does not have to be yours. Uh, you can You can do different. You can be more academic if you want. Um, you could even be more interested in me and not do Ah base like this little I usually take advantage of this kind of start suggesting shadow. Or at least this is what is going to suggest Shadow one later. I only, um, go over what I need. And, uh, I only, um, underlying the main lines and no pun intended. And this is gonna give on effect off shadow without actually during the shadows after I've drone. You mean lines that that I need That I I want to put on the page. And so I will do this with a color markers. Sometimes it's, well, sometimes crazy colors, too. It was being a bit more traditional for the sake of the demonstration. And, uh, yeah, we could demon beside while we're drawing to make her, uh, a character. So since she s is pretty leaves, weaken maker wouldn't leave. That will help us with exaggerating the features that we want to exaggerate. Okay, so I'm about one minute mark. What I will do after I want really loosely with the copy marker will be taking a darker maybe a stabbing bullpen or a brush bun, which is what you can win by participating in the class project if you want. And, uh, I just go over what I want to go over whether want to bring out. And so all of this will kind of go like it will be secondary would have done loosely here now. So even if you look, my C and if it did not look pretty will not be as important as visible because the dark lines who we'll go to the viewer will go to the front and, uh, she's smiling, says smiling. Too drunk. If you walk into a life drawing class, yes, lots of people doing the silly expressions that the people there drawing there are doing. Sometimes even even deposes kind of changed a poster while you draw duck making here, get less Miley and a bit more sad would mean so I'm exaggerating their hair to I wanted to be popular, and I want her face to be a little bit simpler, maybe a bit sharper, then your original sexually best to use as little lines as you can to make big Flory lines like this long, close feelings like this. But I'm a bit out of my debt with the tablet that's not mine. Hand the digital medians of the natural one. So you forgive me for breaking it up in real lines. It's okay if you weren't accurate. See here. I, uh I've changed position of the leg a bit because I was not that accurate. And it's OK going to see correct your mistakes or even if you don't, it's fine if, uh, you do better the next time you have made another mistake on Since I'm trying to pretend I'm using Natural media will not correct it. True, we'll show you how I try to undermine it in other ways later. Unlike like body hair, too. So exaggerate data to here. I'll take advantage of negative space to make the whiteness of risking go forward to refine shapes better signed of the five minute mark it thing or so sketching leaves quickly. You don't have much time and still have quite a bit to do. Hence, uh, if you're not gonna be detailed with them, just suggest them very lightly. These people are going to tell if you make a mistake here, since I'm gonna be suggesting them and modifying them from the original drawing a beat, too, to make them read a sense we don't having to throw them very accurately. And I'm also making up the shapes of their get more readable leaves. King soon. I still have two minutes left can to it's it's food. You almost forgot about that. It can be quite hard, but it's okay if you just let something be messy and refined is the focus is gonna be here , so we don't much. Okay, so what I will do at this point where I've got everything pretty much we find a way I wanted to be in the time I got. I'll try and give something. Give her something more. Give me a little kick What I do. I usually Doolittle's worlds in the hot spots. I really like that. I feel like there a bit of a signature of mine, too. I don't either with pencils or with markers, say will be under doing clients course. And yeah, we can and decided to do the same with leaves around. Just a minute left. So well trained can be messy, doesn't have to. Doesn't have to be accurate weights like this. We're just kind of trying to give finished sense to the picture, and I really love negative space. Well, due to bring out the profiles well is go over with a marker kind of try and bring out powerful over here and lose the negative space. Find out more leaves this world like that and we're under 10 minute mark. And what you can do, you can just even if the model is not posting for you anymore. If you're not looking at the reference anymore, you can keep going a little. If you wanna finish it up, if you want to give it, they'd be more sense of what you were doing to bring to the picture. Really? At that point, it's best if you move on and exercise, you know, into the exercise with the next one. Even if you were in real life, you jump in kind of trying correct your mistakes, okay, that I will not be able to correct your real life. We just have to make everything doctor. And yeah, with a gel pen. You just go over your mistakes as much as you can. Maybe united space. If you like what you've done, you can go forward and make it a personal piece. Although it's in real life, of course you can't make it. Um, you can find it can only refine it up to a point. But, um, of course, you can also just read write another sheet of paper by knowing that you wanted to be more finished, and then you give it and different sense from from there. Yeah, really? You can just go do it for the fun of it. And then once your hand is warmed up and your loser from from the activity, you can just go study what you want to study and go work on what you want to work without necessarily making it more than done it. ISS. And that's it. So try and, uh, do your own No. 7. Final tips & goodbye: This was my brief introduction to life dry on. It was a way to share my import state on. I hope you've learned something new about this wonderful access size. And if not, I hope I have reminded you of something that is worth remembering. If you want to delve deeper into the subject, there's lots of interesting books and the resource is in theory, attachment below. And yeah, I hope you go check them out and, uh, read and alert. But before you do that, you can ask your partner or sibling to post for you. You can open up quick poses or you can get to your life or in class and just participate in the class project because he might get the chance to win a Moleskine sketchbook and a part of Russia. I hope you enjoy this and have fun, great from life.