Soft Lines and No Tension

I’m not a napping kind of person. When I’m up, I’m up and I want to be doing something or on the go. That’s usually the kind of body drawing that I’m pulled to as well–muscles torqued, body indicating action, and an underlying sense of movement. That being said, I do recognize and advocate for drawings that show the body at rest.

 Doppleganger by Michale Grimaldi, drawing.
Doppelganger by Michael Grimaldi, 14 x 18, pencil drawing, 2005.

There’s something beautiful and quietly sensual about the human form lying prone or supine–a landscape of soft lines and no tension in the body. But in order to truly represent this kind of lassitude and ease when drawing human body sketches or studies, I need to be better equipped when it comes to figure drawing.

Nude Study by Edward Minoff, 16 x 12, charcoal drawing, 1999.
Nude Study by Edward Minoff, 16 x 12, charcoal drawing, 1999.
Nude Study by Edward Minoff, 16 x 12,
charcoal drawing, 1999.

I realize now that the body at rest is just as complicated as the body in action. Understanding how to draw a human body in both ways does an artist a good turn because you witness and take note of the body’s muscles and bones in its widest spectrum of motion. That is always a good thing so that no matter what a model does or how they are positioned, I can “unpack” the form through anatomy so to speak.

If you want to really sink into knowing how to draw the anatomy of the body in all of its softness and sensuality as well as its power and movement, consider the Figure Drawing Master Class. We at Artist Daily can’t recommend it highly enough. You’ll find a guide to drawing human forms from head to toe from favorite instructor Dan Gheno, showing the body in various stages of activity and position. Plus a year’s subscription to Drawing magazine, where anatomy drawing is approached from an artist’s perspective–giving you knowledge of the visual landmarks on the body and a sense of proportions that you’ll want whenever you draw the figure. Enjoy!


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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

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