Learn the Basics for Improving Your Figure Drawings | Robert Marzullo | Skillshare

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Learn the Basics for Improving Your Figure Drawings

teacher avatar Robert Marzullo, Online instructor of Figure Drawing and Comic Art

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.

      Introduction to this Class


    • 2.

      Figure Drawing Lesson on Gestures


    • 3.

      Figure Drawing Lesson Refining Your Poses


    • 4.

      Creating Studies of Specific Areas in Your Work


    • 5.

      Twisting of the body


    • 6.

      Line of Action CSI


    • 7.

      The Human Figure - Basic Proportions


    • 8.

      Techniques for Foreshortening


    • 9.

      Drawing an Example of Foreshortening


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About This Class

This class is about the process that I use to construct my figure drawings. We start with gesture drawings and then add form followed by anatomy. I explain to you how simple steps like these can make the process much easier to accomplish.

Meet Your Teacher

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Robert Marzullo

Online instructor of Figure Drawing and Comic Art


My name is Robert A. Marzullo and I started teaching comic art online about 10 years ago after starting my Youtube channel.  It allowed me to connect with aspiring artists all of the world.  I love making art videos and I work with both traditional and digital art methods.

I am also the author/illustrator of the book, "Learn to Draw Action Heroes" and the "Blackstone Eternal" comic book.

It is my goal to help you realize your potential with art and follow your passion!  I hope you enjoy these classes.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction to this Class: Hello everyone. My name is Robert Marzullo and welcome to my class, Learn the Basics for Improving Your Figure Drawing, brought to you by Skillshare. In this class, you'll learn the basic fundamentals of figure drawing, things like gesture, line of action, basic proportions, techniques for foreshortening. You'll also learn about creating specific areas of study within your work, and then also time studies and what benefits you can gain from those as well. Follow along and draw the illustrations with me or feel free to create your own poses. Either way, I'd love to see the work that you come up with and thank you for considering my class. Good luck with your art and talk to you soon. 2. Figure Drawing Lesson on Gestures: Now we're going to do some gesture drawing. I like to just start with this almost any day that I'm going to do my sequential work or storytelling, gesture drawing is just a great way to warm up and it's integral, in my opinion, to figure drawing. You just have to study gesture, you have to try to look through the body. You see I already started placing shapes that look a little bit more like anatomy, and that's a force of habit, you don't have to do that. What you want to do is try to log in lots of poses and put them down with just as few lines as possible. What ends up happening here is based on doing that and getting confident with this effect and in the study, you end up logging lots and lots of poses so quickly that you learn just a tremendous amount about the way the body moves, the way that things line up, the way they pivot, so on and so forth. There's just tons of information that you need to get by not getting so caught up in the details. A lot of times you'll see me do little shorthand techniques like that being a foot, and obviously, that does not look like a foot, but it gets the information there. Maybe some of it is just stuff that I can read and others might misinterpret, that's fine too. My gesture drawings aren't really to impress anyone. They're more or less for me to just again, study the body and not get caught up in the details because I don't know how you draw or create, we're all very different in that regard, but I get caught up into details very easily. In fact, to me, that's the icing on the cake. I just always want to detail and render and make something look as cool as I possibly can imagine it. But in reality, you can hurt yourself that way. You can actually slow your progression and your quality of work when it comes to figure drawing, because there's just so much information to the body that seems to get lost. If you try to just draw a complete figure from start to finish, you can really seem to mess it at all up or something. But if you were to take and break it down and itemize it, and one day just study posture, and one day just study running, and one day just study jumping. All these things and you break down the energy of each one, I think you learn so much more by that process. It's very important to do, and gesture helps you do that. Again, try to do some gestures where they're just really fast, really expressive. Do lots and lots of variety on the pose, and just try to do them as quick as possible. One of the things that I do is I start with five minutes, and then I work down to two to one. One becomes actually pretty tough for me to do, but I notice that when I do that, I actually force myself or force through the time constraint to actually do more expressive lines. Because I have less time to think about refinement, I end up having to do just quick sweeping passes and really try to get some information in place. Again, you learn a lot by that process and I think it's important to do that. Yes, it's not the most gorgeous piece of art and you probably not as proud of it or anything like that, and you don't want to show it off in your portfolio maybe or something, but you learn so much by this process. If you get really fast at these, you're able to say, today, I'm going to do 50 poses before I get started. It doesn't really hurt you. If you're doing it fast enough, if you did one minute poses, you can log those in somewhere around an hour and you're going to be a lot better artist for doing those types of exercises. They do sometimes seem like work, I actually enjoy it, but I've had other artists tell me that they feel like it's like homework or something. But I actually think that it's not only enjoyable, it's just a very eye-opening experience every time I take the time to do them. You can see just like that, we've got another pose. That one's a little bit more rough than even the first, the proportions are askew and things like that. There's definitely some real flaws there, but rather quickly we've got two poses and we can move on from there. There you have it, there's a couple of quick gesture poses. Now practice some on your own and make sure to do some from life, some from imagination, and really just focus on quick, energetic sketches. Nothing too detailed and nothing too correct and have fun with it. 3. Figure Drawing Lesson Refining Your Poses: Now I'm going to time-lapse this portion and we're going to talk about adding form over the pose. You'll see here that I start to incorporate more anatomy and more detail unto the sketch, and I also do a lot of fine work if I have a problem area of the sketch. This particular one is from the imagination and just trying to think of some overlapping shapes like I did with the legs here and the arms coming out in a different fashion. This one, if you notice I draw and some quick perspective guides, you don't have to do that but I find it's helpful to see into the pose a little bit more, see into the perspective. Even though this is a pretty basic pose, and again, just really trying to warm up. Always moving things, always editing my work as I go but trying a variety of poses. Here I drawn the spine, I drawn the abdomen and get the front of the chest in place, then I switched to more an angular method, and there's really no right or wrong way, there's just lots of different ways to construct these, but like you see with the hips there, I just drew it as a simple box shape because I wanted to make sure to get that twist or that bend in the torso. Sometimes I'll switch to very primitive shapes just to visualize that at first. Again, always moving things around, always editing, I just find that it's always the best way to experiment. Especially if you don't really have it in your mind as to what exactly you need to see. Again, this one's purely from imagination, so I have to guess a little bit at times, especially if I can't find the right pose. But I may look at another picture and just study the anatomy, but have to turn it visually in my mind to make it work on paper or on Digital Canvas. You can see I struggle with the legs here and I to keep editing, I keep moving things around. There's definitely some flaws in the anatomy and the way that I did that, but again, it's not quite a finished drawing, it's closer and it's definitely a lot more reworked in a gesture. But each one of these didn't take me over probably about 10 minutes to do, with maybe this one taking a little bit longer because I had to rework it a few times. But that experimentation and that rework is very beneficial, it teaches you a lot I think, especially if you decide to do more things like comics and storyboards and things where you might not always have good reference, you've got to be able to figure out a way to construct these, and that's what I learned by doing these types of studies. Here I get the spine in, I get the shape of the pelvic and the torso by using the rib cage form, and then I start to lay in the other shapes with almost a little bit more of a rope drawing, and I'll talk about that more as we progress through the course but it's essentially connecting the forearms with lines or where the anatomy would start and end. It's also a great way to make your forearms look more organic. Typically when you use more structure like cylinders and blocky type shapes and things like that, you're going to get a little bit of stiffness in your character design, and you have to learn to pull that back with softer lines but rope drawing is the opposite I think where it will generally make your characters look a little bit softer, more organic, but you do have to be careful of that as well because you can go too far in that direction. A lot of figure drawing and character design is all about balance. You see with the hair is just really horrible on this character, so I have to redraw it and I try something entirely different and immediately like it. That's why experimentation is so important. Sometimes you fight through what you're trying to do and you're doing this uphill battle and you're wasting time, so there's certain times a total redraw is in a different look on your work is very important. Other times it's helpful to work through it and persevere because there might be some light at the end of the tunnel thing, but other times you just need to stop and reschedule it. But if your sketches are fast, then you'll be able to fly right through that. Here I've got a little bit more foreshortening in the pose, and I tried to make sure to do poses like this as often as possible as well because it makes you think more about condensing the forearms and bringing them out towards camera which is so important. There you have it. There's a few more poses to study and to work through. Now practice some of these poses on your own, come up with some different ones from imagination and practice taking your gesture drawings and overlaying form and anatomy like we've done here. In the next lesson we're going to talk about how to create studies of specific areas of the body to improve your understanding of them, so let's move forward. 4. Creating Studies of Specific Areas in Your Work: The thing I want to show you now is if you struggle with a certain part of your figure drawing or your comic drawing or whatever you are doing, the best way to combat that is head on. I feel like if you separate things by smaller sections and more focused studies, that's the best way to do that. The reason being, at least in my own studies and my own experience, the body can seem overwhelming and complex. So if you really just take the time to not only break it down to simple shapes, but just study specific areas of the body that you're currently struggling with. That's the best way to really get it into your mind's eye and overcome that situation. Here you can see I'm doing some studies of the shoulder muscles and a very defined shoulder shot in arm lifted. That's actually to the right of a shoulder, that's the trapezius. It's just my way of really focusing on a specific area. Now you don't have to shade it the way that I am or anything like that. This is more of a style choice than anything. You can use any medium and any style that you want in this regard, charcoal, acrylics, whatever you're into. It's really just my way of committing it to memory by drawing it in a overly detailed fashion that I like to do, which is comic style or line art. So you see I start with just roughing in basic shapes. I did skip any of the stuff that I'm going to show a lot of in these lessons as far as building it up with even more primitive shapes. But this is more just me studying and the purpose of this one is to really show you that, if you conduct these types of studies and you fill up your sketch books with these types of drawings, you'll really start to feel at home when you go to draw the full body. Shoulders always are a struggle for me, they always have been. I'm constantly trying to re-learn and get better at them. But what I also want to stress in this lesson is, don't focus too much on being perfect and doing perfection every time or anything like that. It'll really stress you out, frustrate you. What you want to really focus on is doing the best that you can today at this moment and constantly making small improvements. Even if it's a very slight thing and a very small improvement, it's an improvement and its forward momentum. That's where you have to really focus on. If not, you'll get very frustrated and a lot of thinking. You'll start to hinder your growth in your process of creativity. You want to just learn a little bit in increments each day, and really commit it to memory like that. Then it won't become so overwhelming and you've got to understand that when you do focus on learning something new each day about any specific thing, it adds up pretty quickly over time. It's not a silver processes as you might think. I think too many artists really push themselves too hard at first and they give up and that's something you don't want to do. So here you can see I really focused on just a plain Jane pause, but again, a very defined shoulder shot and I focused on the separation of the shoulder to the bicep and the tricep. Then I immediately cut it off by the time we get down mid or a little bit past that to the bicep because I didn't want to go too far into it. It's like for instance, I went a little bit too far into the chest and the ribs and things like that but are the muscles that actually encompass or overlay the ribs. But that's really the idea that I even have to hold back from wanting to over detail or keep drawing the rest of the picture. Here I actually start really quick and earlier on I defined the end of that arm. Those are just ways, again, to force myself to not draw too far into it. I really want this to be just about the shoulder. But to me, the way that anatomy works is that all intersects and connects to the next muscles or that is the way that it works. For me to properly study that, I do feel the need to go into the next muscle that connect. I couldn't draw the shoulder by itself, for instance, and get any real accuracy because the shoulder by itself wouldn't look like much. It needs to have the interaction of the surrounding muscles. So again, just doing some of that line work type shading that I like to do. Just really trying to paint this visual picture of what it looks like in this particular pose, how the other muscles might react by comparison. So again, create these types of studies with whatever it is you feel that you struggle with that day. It could be hands, eyes, shoulders, hipsters, all sorts of things that we face and struggle with in our own art style every day. If you focus on creating lots of puzzles like this and be very specific with what you're trying to study, I think you tend to learn more and you'll be really happy with your improvement. That'll complete this lesson. Let's head on to the next one. 5. Twisting of the body: So in this lesson, we're going to focus on changing the orientation from the head to the upward torso, to the pelvis. When you pay special attention to these areas, and the way that they have subtle shifts in the direction that they face and the angle that they reside in, you'll tend to get more dynamic characters. One of the reasons that we struggle to make characters look dynamic is in the very beginning, we get in the habit of just drawing everything pointing in the same direction. No matter how well you can draw something, how much rendering you put on top of it, if there's not a certain balance and flow to the underlying structure, and again, the gesture like we talked about before, then no rendering work is going to save. It just doesn't work that way. You can still probably make it look pretty or something like that or polished, but it's going to show that the poses is too static and too stiff. So this is another way to combat that issue. It's helpful to focus on just this midsection in the center area, and again, the orientation from the shoulders, the hips, and the tilt of the head. Once you start to get more comfortable with the range of movement that those have, then you're poses will start to look a lot more accurate and you'll start to think in a lot more dynamic ways to construct those. Even though the focus of this particular sketch just more on the mid section in the tilt from those three main masses, the head, torso, and pelvis, I still feel the need to draw on the arms and legs just to check the pose. So a lot of times if you construct just those main areas, that's fine. But then you also need to be able to look at it and see if it works, what the rest of the body in place. If you notice there's a good pinching of the abdomen from this angle, so if I was to illustrate that you have one side that pinches hand and one side that elongates the head, shoulders are about the same angle, but their pelvis is quite a bit different. That's really the purpose of that poses it illustrate those main things in that pose. So now we'll try another one, and with this one, we're going to do a little bit different angling of the head to the torso, and you'll see that it's quite a bit more dynamic already. A great thing to reference when doing these types of poses is dancing, so with that, you get a lot of the angling of the body that we're looking for. A lot of the different orientations from the shoulder to the hips, to the head, the tilting of the neck, the pivoting that you see. You can almost see that the neck itself has the same pinching relationship as we did on the hips or the midsection of the male. Her neck is actually elongated on the one side and shorter on the other based on the tilt of the head. Again, paying special attention to small details like this will help you to get these poses to look a little bit more accurate. Again, notice the way that the abdomen and the midsection connects the torso to the pelvis, and the way that the stomach muscles can actually tilt and fan across, so that's another thing that I wanted to really pay attention to what this type of pose. Notice too how the leg coming out towards camera. That a little bit of foreshortening does so much for the pose and add other dynamic to it. It's actually pretty easy to do. It does take practice to get good at foreshortening, and it's again, one of those things we're always trying to improve upon. But I will be giving you some tips on how to better understand foreshortening or how to break it down. You can see just like that, we've got a pretty decent pose in place, make it some final tweaks and adjusting proportions. Then now we can illustrate the angle and tilt from the head, the shoulders to the pelvis. You'll see they're all on very different orientations and that again is why the poses doesn't look so boring. It gives you a bit more areas of interests to study and look at. For this next one, we're just going to draw it another pose, but we're going to keep it just to the three main masses and very manikin style and the purpose of this one is I actually wanted to show you the difference that you can create by changing one component of this type of pose. We'll change the head to a different orientation from the first sketch and then we'll compare those two. This can be a great exercise for really studying through your work a little bit further. Try constructing a pose and just changing the arms, the legs, the head orientation, anything and you can see that you can learn to work through maybe a bad poses or save a pose from having a totally redraw it. You see that the heads on a little bit different tilt and the shoulders not much. There is a slight difference there and the shoulders are on different tilt and also coming out away from the body differently than one another. There's not a symmetrical thing going on there. It's very a symmetrical and that's the other thing that you want for a dynamic field to your poses, as much a symmetry as you can get. Again, we got that pinching on the one side and the elongated stretched to the other side, and then there's our orientations. Now what I want to show you, is if we were to take this and change just one mass, in this case the head, how much different of a pose that we can get. Again, this is another exercise that I really recommend, so creating a pose and just changing the arms or just changing the limbs or even one thing and seeing how much variety you can get to it. If you notice they're just by chance that tilt to the head and the orientation, it's got a lot more dynamic or impressive field than that first one. Again, this is based on whatever storytelling you're trying to do, so obviously it's got to match the narrative, but to me it has a better dynamic field in that first pose recreated, and that'll complete this lesson. Let's move on to the next. 6. Line of Action CSI: Now we're going to talk about the line of action and also some of the curves to look for in the body when doing your gesture drawing. One of the things I like to show people is that if you take your gesture drawing, and we touched on this before, and you draw your basic shapes of your characters with just rudimentary simple shapes. This is upper torso, that's a pelvic, this is a leg, a back like this. Other leg up like this, and the fluid is just a bit of a diamond shape. If you do this, it becomes really quick for me to see how fast I can draw something like that out, your gestures, like how we we're talking about in the previous example, how you can struggle to get these in place, if you simplify these shapes, you can get them in really quickly. This could even be a hair heritage as quickly as that direction of the face, as quickly as that, you see it's, it's really fast if you simplify the shapes. Likewise, if you think about things like line of action and you'd get a quick idea, it can be the spine or a line right through the body like that. Then construct your simple shapes over top of that, you can get this in really quickly. Obviously you're still going to have to get certain things, certain rhythms done properly for it to look like an accurate body. But that will come over time, that will come over lots and lots of these studies, so that you can see consistencies in the way that the body flows and moves. That's also where we're going to talk a little bit about CSI. CSI are the curves that a lot of artists will gravitate towards, you can see like there's a bit of a C right there, it could be said to be an S right there. These are various curves that you can use, an I could be right through there. I also think of it as CSIT because there's a lot of parts of the body where you just get kind of see maybe the legs are together, something like that. You get to the clavicles or the shoulders, you have this nice T-shape in the form like that. If you look for these quick representations in these quick guides, again, you'll really speed up drawing these out, you'll get better drawing them from your mind, which is what we're really after and what I'm really teaching in this course, I wanted to show people how to draw more of this without reference. You study reference to get your foundational knowledge, and you want to always study reference, you always do figure drawing from life, but then there are those times when you just want to be able to draw your imaginative drawing or stylized representation and all these little tips and tricks will help you to do that more confidently. Now we're going to put the line of action, the CSI into effect, we're going to do this where we're going to actually start with those marks. These are lines of action, think of the line of action if you were to make one line that was most influential through the body, that would be your line of action. If you were doing a figure drawing study, or in this case were drawn from imagination, but say you were doing a figure drawing study if you had to pick one line that most described that figure, that would be or line of action, sometimes you're going to recognize these types of shapes. Then I pick a helpful exercise is to draw through them, for instance, this one I see, maybe somebody hunched over that can be reading a book or what have you, we'll get the abdomen and here, the pelvic right here. Don't worry about the limbs confining to this line of action, that's really not the idea. They can go in their own directions and things like that, it's more or less like I said, the main portion of the body, the most definable part is as conforming to this line of action, the rest of them can go astray essentially. Let's take this and just say I'm home a book or something like that, you can see that that C curve lends itself really well to this type of poles, again, I'm not going for really great refinement or anything like that, just getting that information in place so that you can see it. No pun intended there, there's that. Let's go and move that over, we got room for the other one. Now for the S curve, it's a little bit extreme, but you could almost say that this is a bit of a dancer or something like that, we could like one of the things I really like to study her figure drawing as ballet because it really shows you the amount of bend that you can get to the spine, just overall just the way they are able to contort their body and do such an exquisite positions. It's just great for figure drawing, for studying the body and general soil, it'll get you in the habit of turning the head quite a bit of distance and also turning the shoulders and the hips and the head all the way from one another and not having such static poses were there all going in the same alignment, it will say something like this. Again, this isn't going to be pretty, but hopefully you get the idea down, then again, those arms can stray away from the body, you don't have to, but they can. You see that curve right through there, it works really well again for some dance poles like that. Then this band, I would say that this one is just the most common, that really, you should see this in almost every pose, you just don't want to have a poles where your skeletal structure of your character is like this. Almost never, in fact, the only time I would say you would do that is if you're purposely trying to show contrast to all the other characters so that, that can be a huge help when you're trying to tell a story or something, to purposely draw somebody stiff to contrast them to make them stand out, but almost any poles like just somebody casually standing there should have some band like this to it. Not be so stiff and I also say this is more of a weight-bearing leg here, and maybe this one just floating off to the side. Sometimes you'll see somebody just leaning over to the side and they've got all their weight on one leg and then the legs just floating there off to the side, but but the main purpose, like I said, is make sure that this type of curve is oftentimes in your work, it's rarely ever stuff. The body just has not as stiff as we tend to draw it, even this look stiff based on trying to make that line up, I could place the head width that action line, since it's generally going to be more of a spine, or in this case it's more the spine of a character. Yeah, so hopefully you can see, even though I kind of true, that the characters progressively larger there, let's move that up and get some always there. But yeah, we'll get into that further as far as how to construct these characters and using some of those as we do it, but again, hopefully you can see that by, let's see here, let's grab a read that by drawing these, with this, you're able to see these curves and these bends and lend to that. That's your action line, practice doing some various studies where you not only see that in your figure drawing, but you try to even draw that without figure drawing, you can even look at a model, but make your own polls from that don't look fairly, you have to copy exactly what you look at all the time, you always want to mix up your studies that way you want to do some studies where you are trying to recreate what you see, you want to do some studies where you're looking through what you're creating, you're trying to pull certain elements from it, very important actually for artists to do that. Then also somewhere you just start with maybe an action line like this and you create a multitude of pulses from your mind. That's it on action lines and the CSI technique. We'll move forward. 7. The Human Figure - Basic Proportions: Now, I want to go through some basic proportions to look for when doing the body. This is an important one to get some foundational information on because it affects everything else. Before we get into applying some basic anatomy and things like that, you really want to have an idea of how to proportionalize your character. I'm just going to show you a very simplified version just because there's lots of complexities that go to this. Start with defining a line straight up and down on your Canvas, and marking top to bottom, then marking approximate center. That doesn't have to be exact. Remember that you can get exact by doing a cross-section through the line work. It has to hit the exact middle though. You could actually do this with a square or rectangular shape if you're trying to get exact center and you do that by, what I'm doing is pretty poorly, you would draw that from corner to corner with a straight line and it would actually crisscross and give you center. But we're really not too ultra worried about this being perfection. Just get a general center there, and then do that again, so mark a general center from these points. Now, you've got it to about a quadrant. Little bit off there, but approximately. Then do it one more time. Now, this will give you one-eighth of this in segments. The reason why I think this way is so simplistic and so easy to use and easy to remember, obviously this part is very easy to remember. Then once you add the one-eighths model for the head, the middle mark becomes the bottom of the pelvis. You see, seen becomes really quick and easy to place these other shapes from here. You do still have to use a bit of your judgment for proportionalizing it from here. But what we're going to do is, we're going to align three heads over. Whatever that head shape, that oval that we placed, we're going to do thrills over. That'll actually give us our alignment for the shoulders approximately. This is a little bit more of a dynamic build of a character, but it can easily be skewed to any variety of characters that you're trying to draw. This line will give us the area for the nipples and then this line here will give us the navel, and the halfway mark here will be the knees. Actually, I feel like those need to go up a tad higher from the way that I marked this. Again, you're going to still maneuver this stuff around a bit, but this will get you pretty close. For the legs, we're just going to go ahead and connect these. I like to do a forward bend, dot for the knee or a circle for the knee and then a back bend. Forward bend and I still want to bring those knees up higher and then a back bend. Then attach a wedge shape or diamond shape. The toes are generally going to go outward a bit, but you're not going to draw them completely sideways either. That would be a little bit animated. Now from here, we want to figure out where the collarbone is. One quick way to do that is just divide this part from the second mark to a third and the thirds, and then at this top third, just put your collarbone right there. Then bring those out. Again, we've designated this already for our shoulders, so we'll place those. Remember the wider the shoulders, the more dynamic and muscular the characters is going to appear to be. Well, of course, unless you're just doing a wide individual. They could appear slightly obese, some things like that as well. But generally, it's going to give that presence of strength. Then finally for the arms, we're just going to bring the arms down to the bottom of the pelvis like this. Then from that point on, we attach the hands. We're just going to draw some basic hand shapes in there for now. You can see really quickly, we're able to get that and generally, the elbows will appear about halfway and line up to the mid section. Then we'll get in the ribcage oval shape like this. Then we'll worry about attaching all of it after this. But that gives a basic foundational information. This is essentially the eight heads tall model. Now, generally, people are right around seven-and-a-half heads tall, but up to eight and obviously lots of variation. The main thing I want to stress with this is that there are no hard set rules. There's lots of different structuring methods and measurement methods, but at the end of the day, we have to start somewhere and then we have to really elevate our thinking and try a variety of things because there's just so many different variations when it comes to people. Now with this, I'm going to soft erase this down and show you just a little bit of a buildup over top of this to show you how I utilize this to do a standard pose. With this in place, I'll just start to refine and draw. I've got enough foundational information and place where I can just start to. Don't think too heavily about it and just start to draw some character. Now, I tend to do a little bit more comic book stuff and animated characters. That's predominantly the look I go for, but I'll try to keep the muscles down to a slight minimal. A lot of this is just guides. Again, I want you to really think in terms of drawing through the information. Looking at it as a base, but then not adhering so tightly to it because this is just really proportion unit of measurements and not some exact correctness that we might want to hope to find in our work. We've got to really push past that. Then a really helpful exercise just so you know, is to take something like this and then draw as many different character types on top of it as you can think of. That's probably the best way to really get you to think in the way that I'm trying to illustrate here, is that you don't only perceive this as one potential body type. There's just lots and lots of character variation that you can now extrapolate from those. The knees can become tricky. One of the things I try to remember what the knee is, is a tilting go-off kind of the hip there. You can draw this straight line all the way down and likewise, the foot will point with the knee. If you've got the knee here, the foot is going to point out in that same angle and direction. Again, you can see I'm drawing around it. I really don't have much workup information here. I general start with some cylinders to place things, but I'm just using the base information here and just faking it at this point, throwing in some anatomy. We'll get into more lessons on how to construct this and make things look relatively correct by placing the anatomy over top. There's lots of little rules and guides. One of the things I do here with the leg is, as I come down to the side of the leg, I'll draw an inward bend right there, and that'll show me where the inner leg muscle goes. Again, the knee is pointed out going off the hip. I'll do a forward bend for the top part of the leg, and then a backwards bend for the lower part of the leg. It doesn't have to be overly dramatic. It can just be subtle, but it's definitely there. It's evident. In this little connection point from the inner part of the knee or the inside bone of the leg right there, will swoop down and meet at the ankle. Just all these little A to B points really help you connect the dots and construct the form. Again, we're just going to do this simplified and not overly correct at this stage, but enough to show you that with this base information in place, you can really start to construct the character pretty easily from here. Then obviously at this stage, I can still move things around. I feel like this one arm looks a little bit too big. It's probably a larger hand there. Constantly adjusting things as I go, but it just basically gets us started. It gets some of that information in place, the proportions in place so that we can now draw over top and start to refine it with a lot more level of accuracy than just starting at maybe the head and working yourself down. Remember this is the eight heads tall model. A little bit more of an ideal figure. As you get a little bit above that, eight-and-a-half I think is the ideal superhero figure and things like that. If you want something that looks a little bit less, maybe powerful and a little bit more plain Jane or something like that, you might go with seven-and-a-half, even a seven heads tall. But it's neat how you can really measure the rest of the fore arm just by simply using the head as a generic measurement there. From here, I just keep redrawing over top. If you notice, I'm just slowly adjusting lines, moving things around, maybe start to figure out a little bit more anatomy and things onwards going to go but still open to change if I can fix something, especially in the really sore thumbs kind of thing. Anything that sticks out really bad I'll fix that sooner rather than later and just really continue along with this process, the build-up. But I recommend starting here and really seeing what you can come up with now. Obviously, there's a lot more advanced ways to measure the body and a lot more detailed ways out there, lots of books on that and things. But this is just the one that I find to be the easiest to remember and the quickest to employ, and seems to work well for me. I want to share it here. Hopefully it'll work well for others, but there's definitely lots of different ways to do this. For instance, a lot of people will use sections of the body and they will create these from the hips up to the collarbones, and they start to measure things more with angular shapes and things like that. There's lots of great ways to get to the end result. But what I find that works really well about this method that I'm showing you here is that it's easier to remember. What ends up happening is the more time you spend doing this, the less you really feel the need to rely on these units of measurement. You'll actually get pretty good at recognizing proportion differences from body part to body part based on the type of characters you like to draw and create. But when an [inaudible] fails and when you hit those parts where you struggle because we all have them from day-to-day and things like that, you can always go back to these types of units of measurement and really figure things out. Also, I've got like these really misshape and forms going here, but as I start to place the anatomy, I try to figure out where I can correct things. Yes, there we go. That'll hopefully give you an idea of how you can start to lay out some measurements and construct the form a little bit quicker. Now, what we're going to do is talk a little bit about foreshortening because it's all pretty easy to do from a standing point like this. Even though this isn't entirely correct, I've got a few mistakes here I probably should fix, but it's easy enough to do a forward facing position and a side profile, and things like that. But once you start introducing more foreshortening, that's when it becomes a bit trickier. Let me show you a few more techniques on how to approach that. Let's move on to the next lesson. 8. Techniques for Foreshortening: Welcome back everyone. Now we're going to talk a little bit about foreshortening. First I want to give you some very basic examples to work from so that you understand how you can construct foreshortening and the basic principles that are involved within it. Essentially what I'm going to do is I'm going to start with a very basic set of primitives, primitive shapes. I'm going to do a square here, a bit of a wedge shape that's going to represent an upper torso, like this. Then another wedge shape for the pelvis, a little like this. Now notice that I've shifted the angles just a little bit, I didn't just use three block shapes entirely, there's a reason for that. I want to show you an understanding that you need to be aware of when you try to foreshortened parts of the body. Just keep in mind that if you get in the habit of taking work and simplifying it like this, complex things like foreshortening and drawing the body can become a lot easier to get the hang up. Now what I want to do is I want to draw this now on a foreshortened perspective, what I want to do is first establish some perspective guides, that's what these are and they're converging down to a vanishing point like that, these are just basic perspective lines converging to a vanishing point. Essentially now when I go to draw this head shape, it's going to need to compress and converge to that vanishing point. Now since it's just a square over here, I can use the exact lines that I've established from my vanishing point. Now as that goes back, because we're now looking at the top of this block head of ours, we have to convert those lines to another vanishing points. We're going to just fake this perspective, which is often the best thing to get in the habit of when doing your sketch work. Then as we add the chest, upper torso area, same thing, the top can be said that just be a squared off shape, but here's where the trick comes in, if we were to take these lines now and just go with the existing vanishing points or the existing perspective lines, that wouldn't be correct what we have here because, this isn't a square, it's a wedge shape. This area here, that angle needs to be different over here, what we have to do realistically to make this work, let's get back to this here, we have to bring this in further. If we went with the existing perspective lines, it would be about like this, we have to compensate for that angle, we're just going to do that visually for now and we're going to bring that even further in. That's the principle that you get with foreshortening, especially when you start working with arms and legs. The overlaps and the way that they connect is going to change visually based on things like this, now, like I said, you want to get this and a place with these very basic rudimentary shapes and build an understanding for this. Things like the overlap, how here you can see a clear distance between these two, but overhear you cannot, they are going to appear to be stacked on top of one another. All of these things are very important to start to perceive when you go to draw the body in a foreshortened perspective. Now as we add the pelvis, the distance of these two are roughly the same, we can start there. But again, if we were to draw this as a square, it would still be tapering in, but that wouldn't match what we have here as a wedge shape, so it needs to come back out a bit. Even so slightly, but a visual similarity to what we have over here, then finish that off. Then again as a perspective, we're going to draw that back and really want to use our vanishing point up here, it's going to angle up that direction, then maybe we'd shade that or something to show the difference and overlap. Essentially that's how you would block in a very basic version of this. Now let's take this off to the side, let me show you another quick rule of thumb, I guess, or technique for mapping out the distance in a foreshortened perspective. Let's say we have a basic arm coming out towards camera and we don't really know how far to add in certain areas of the arm, because this is a tricky thing for a lot of artist in the beginning, what we want to do is let's just first establish some arm and we'll keep those very blocky because I don't want to get into detail yet, I want this to be focused on the understanding of what we're talking about here, more than things like the anatomy, I don't want to confuse you with all that yet. Essentially we've got this arm shape and it's something like this. Notice I didn't draw it straight up and down, I want to have it look a little bit more natural in the way that it bends, there's our arm shape. When we go to draw something like this in an foreshortened perspective, it can still become pretty tricky even though we've used these basic simplified shapes. One of the things that I find to be helpful is if you first define where everything would line up in a perspective, let me show you how to do that. We're going to first take and put this in a confinement, a container box of a rectangular shape there, then we're going to take a ruler, we're going to draw right through this like that from corner to corner. This is actually a really handy technique for things like buildings and pretty much finding Center on almost anything that you can map out the corners. We're going to draw right through the middle of this, that's our center point. Now if we take another example of this, and we take this box now and we draw it into, well, let's just use a roller here again but let's go ahead and take and say we want the perspective of the arm to be something like this here. We're going to add our own perspective visualize, we're just guessing at it, but that's fine, it doesn't need to be a perfect perspective. Because perspectives and vanish points and things are going to change anyways, you want to get in the habit of being able to conform your artwork to this. Now we've got this other container box, I'll call it, let's just widen the solid just a little bit, something like that. But now what we want to do is find center again in this area, let's take our ruler, let's go from corner to corner. Again, you can see how powerful this would be for something like a building and perspective car designs, how this technique works for a lot of different things. There's our center point, I'm just going to draw that last line, because it's done a little bit of until maybe not too much, let me see, not too much, but that gives us our center point. Now what we can do is we can use the diagram to our right, and we can now try to place things. Let's place that sphere or a circle shape, it's a circle over here, but now we have to start thinking about it a little more spherical on the side, but first what I'm worried about is the negative space around it in each side, I want to try to place that as accurately as possible. I'm just going to block this and pretty simply. Notice here it actually comes back towards the edge of this box, I want to make sure to get that in there., but also notice that it's way up above the center mark, I got to get that in there. This is where I think a lot of artists myself included, I could still feel myself struggling and wanting to pull to the other side. This, this method will actually rain your perspective into place, that'll make you look at it a little bit differently and make you, force you basically to make some different changes. Now this isn't going to do it all by itself, you're not, you're not going to just be able to use this method, probably immediately be able to draw amazing perspective and foreshortened characters, but it should help. The thing that it's going to help alongside with is doing your figure drawing studies and understanding the body, you'll start to see the relationships from that and combine them with this method, as we attached the hand, notice that the hand comes almost right down to the corner and it takes up almost half the space there. It forces you to realize how extreme and how large something would get in the extreme foreshortened perspective like this. That's the part that is pretty hard to grasp, that's why I wanted to show you this method of looking at it essentially, then what you tend to do right here is you've got to realize, "Oh man, this wrist really stretches out before it starts to widen out." Because if you look here, it stays pretty consistent till about almost halfway, a little bit further than halfway up. Again, if you needed to figure that out again, you could actually cross the corners again and find center again, but we'll just visualize it to about right there. You have to keep this and that wrist relatively the same MOD distance across before it starts to taper out. It really does start to make you see it in that perspective and realize, "Okay, so this is where I might be making a mistake, maybe I'm making the upper arm too long in the forum, I'm not giving enough room in the risks and of taper and all these things that you could potentially be doing wrong with the illustration to not get that extreme foreshorten." Then we have to perceive back here is if you start to connect the character back here, then obviously they're going to be a lot smaller perspectively now, if you were to do the head shape or whatever, big block head. All that information back here is going to be a lot smaller and you're really going to get that extreme foreshortened perspective. Hopefully that gives you a better idea how this works. Now I'm going to show you how to draw a fully rendered arm and in foreshortened perspective. With that, let's move on. 9. Drawing an Example of Foreshortening: Now, I want to illustrate an example of foreshortening, and I want to show you how by starting with the hand first, or the object of the portion of the drawing that's closest to camera. You can also get a better handle on the idea and proportionalize, everything working back. That's always the way that I get the best foreshortening out of things like this. I think the reason being is the hand, or in this case the hand, becomes the placeholder. Then from there you can see a bit better as you work back versus if you work from the shoulder out, you'll tend to build up more information of the top and it becomes a little more confusing. This is just another technique that I find that has really helped me with doing foreshortened poses. You'll have to try it in your own work and see if it applies to you as well, since we all tend to create very differently. Now, that I've got a lot of this laid out, I've got some anatomy place then I start to shade it out and really check the work. Essentially when I do this type of shading, I'm trying to round out the forms, bring it to another level of finish and make small changes if I see anything that I can correct. But really trying to flush out the forms and the depth of it. This will also allow me to see if I was accurate in my depiction of the line work. Sometimes you're not supposed to do some redraws, but I try to only soft erase some redraw at this point and keep as much of that information handy and in places I can because the work's been done. Hopefully by now I can see any large flaws and go from there. I'm trying to correct the finger here and still looking at the the silhouette of everything. As I detail the inside, I'm also checking the silhouette, I'm checking the negative space. This was from imagination, so there's not any reference to check with this. But again, if I just can't get it right or at least to a level of finish that I think is somewhat accurate, then I will try to take a picture similar to this one and study from that. Even if it's not entirely similar to this picture, the information is usually still there. You can still pull a little bit of info from another shot that's even close to this and then just keep refining the one that you got. That's a really useful technique because you're not always going to be able to find the exact reference and sometimes you're not even able to create the proper reference. You really want to get in the habit of being able to look at something that's close and making it work with the use of your imagination. Now, that we've got this example rendered out, let's look for some things to remember. Every time I do a study of something like this, whether it be from the mind or from reference, I try to look at just the things that are good takeaways from the piece. In this particular case with foreshortening, I just want to show that you can really see a bit of a break and each main mass is what I'm going to call it each larger form. In this case the hand, you can see a bit of a break right through there, and that bit of curvature there through the form you could say something around, through this area like that, and up here through the area where the triceps are and the bicep meet, something like that. These are basically breaks and the overlaps that I'm seeing. Even though they're not fully illustrated as lines like that, it will at the shading in the build-up, it's evident. The other thing is, you want to also think about the direction that the stuff takes, action lines. If you're going to draw an action line right through the body, same thing could be said for here. Now, you could just say, well, I've got this pretty straight looking arm. I've put an action line right through there. But that wouldn't really give you as much dynamic field to your work. But if you instead think of it like the action line being a bit of a curvature line right down the middle. Say we're here to here, up and around through here, and then we'll say right down through the middle finger could actually be the middle of a pointer. But keeping on the top ridge, I'm going to go right through the middle finger here and something like that. If you pay attention to a curvature line like this, then you're going to start to memorize these shapes a lot more and not draw them so straight and stiff looking, which is a big problem for a lot of beginner artists. The other thing is, if you were to put it through the back here, you could go. There's the shoulder bend the curve through there, where it meets the elbow and then back through there, the back of the hand here, and then at this point you would probably just bring this down to the pinkie. That would be your starting point. Mainly the change in direction, the hand there. What I tend to think about when I do these types of lines and these types of studies is really the flow that you would see within a 3D diagram or a 3D wireframe render. Just try to think that way is dimensionally as possible, and that will actually be evident in your work, and you'll tend to get a more lifelike approach and rendering to your work. I'm going to show you another way to take notes of either your own work or photos you're studying, whatever the case may be. What is next we're going to just illustrate some of the shapes that we see here. I'm just going to draw around these and really segment them, paying special attention to the differences that we see in these shapes. This can be a fun and formative way to check the work and memorize some of these forms. You see how the hand, widens out as it meets the fingers. You see all this muscle wraps around the rest and meets to the inside points towards the thumb. You can see how the tricep, and actually it should be illustrated even more so. But the tricep is larger on this side than it is on this side here. That's evident in lots of parts of the body. If you look at the top of the wrist here, this muscle stops more abruptly as it wraps around way into here as to where this area of the arm stretches all the way down and meets a lot closer to the end of the wrist here. Again, paying special attention to those areas where one side is longer, one side is shorter. That happens all throughout the body and definitely very evident in the arm. You'll generally get a lot more realistic to feel that way. Now, also another thing to pay attention to, is this relationship that you get where we'll say that the upper shoulder comes down like this, meets round in the middle, but it has this round over the back of the arm runs over this way pretty heavily then the front top of the arm rounds over this way. If you notice, it's almost like a back and forth. That's another thing that's very evident in the body quite a bit. You'll generally see it in a lot of ways with balance, but you also see it in structure. Again, all these things are just mental notes and there's probably lots of ways you could interpret this. But the main thing is if you start to pay attention to these, you'll really start to memorize things within your drawing and you'll be able to construct this from the mind a lot easier. That will complete this lesson, we'll head on to the next. Let's move on.