Figure Drawing

. Woman Crouching by Egon Schiele, 1918.
Woman Crouching by Egon Schiele,
1918.
.

The Power of Human Figure Drawing

Figure drawings from Old Masters and contemporary artists alike can be some of the most moving and expressive artworks that you might come across. Not only is this because the artists arrive at emotive figure drawing poses that are visually dynamic and interesting, but also because of these gesture drawings are often found at the foundation of each finished work.

Imagine drawing figures without acknowledging the stance and position of the body--it would be like painting without color or gradation. There would be something inherently lacking in the figure sketch. Instead, the most powerful way of drawing human figures is to zero in on those minute positions, bold gestures, and overarching shapes of the body.

What is most exciting about embarking on a figure drawing tutorial is that there are so many benefits to the exploration. Live drawing sessions with models are a popular and rewarding way of keeping basic figure drawing skills sharp. Such occasions also allow an artist to make a series of work in a relatively short period of time. These could possibly lead to more formal works in the studio, or they can be given as gifts or even sold. You also get the opportunity to be part of a drawing movement--networking with other artists as part of a community that value the creativity of figure drawing.

Most importantly, figure drawing artists never run out of inspiration. The human form holds a whole world of inspiration in its arms, legs, and torso. From exploring figure--drawing proportions to focusing on that all-important gesture of the body, there is always something to delve further into if you take the figure as your subject. And in the end that is what is most inspiring--that no matter how many figure sketches you create or how many times you draw figures, there is always a fresh way of looking and a new way of experiencing the figure in your work.


Measuring Your Figure Drawing for Fit

Leaning Figure (Claudia) by Dan Gheno, 2007, graphite, 24 x 18. .
Leaning Figure (Claudia)
by Dan Gheno, 2007, graphite, 24 x 18.
.
.

Figure Drawing Resources

Drawing Magazine
Mastering Sketching and other Art Books
Figure Drawing I:
Anatomy of the Head with Dan Thompson
Figure Drawing II:
The Gesture with Dan Thompson
.

Many artists face a great deal of difficulty trying to fit an entire figure drawing on their papers or canvases. There is no rule that says you must draw the entire figure, but this is a particularly terrifying issue for those artists drawing an académie or trying to fit several figures within a complicated perspective layout. In both cases, I find it very helpful to mark on my paper the top, middle, and bottom of the figure.

Finding the midpoint of the figure, one can draw back and forth from the top to the bottom, working back toward its center. Many artists subconsciously shorten their figures as they move perilously close to the bottom of the paper. If you don't have time to restart the drawing and you have no other choice, it is better to let the feet run off the page, with all the other body parts correctly proportioned, than to turn your model into a modern-day version of the short-legged Toulouse-Lautrec.

I try to trust my gut as much as possible during this early stage of a figure sketch. Only when I'm satisfied with the general placement and action of the figure do I begin to zero in on individual forms and details, and only then do I begin to optically measure the proportions of the model. Most often, I use the head size as my unit of measurement when drawing figures. It's a good idea to repeat each of your measurements at least twice to confirm accuracy. Then cross-check your head measurements by comparing large anatomical units such as legs against arms, the torso against leg units, and the overall figure length against its width. In a seated pose, a model may begin with perfect posture, and then several minutes later end up slumped forward.

You have several options: When working alone, ask the model to adjust the figure drawing pose and/or take more breaks if the pose is difficult. Unfortunately, it's more problematic if you are drawing in a group situation. Looking around the studio, you may notice that your fellow artists have drawn the model in different states of tiredness. The best solution is to wait until the model resumes the pose after a five-minute break. Refreshed, the model will likely return to the original gesture. You can also adjust your figure drawing to reflect the pose when the model gets tired. But stick to it! Whatever you do, never change your figure sketch back and forth, trying to chase the shifting movements of the model.

At all times, be sure to find the middle point of the figure-wherever that may be (usually near the crotch on the standing figure). And don't forget to mark it lightly on your paper. That way, if the upper part of your figure begins to grow larger as you concentrate on the details there, you'll catch your mistake before you run out of paper for the feet.

--Dan Gheno

 

Prudh'hon's Working Method for Drawing Figures 

. Figure drawing by Prud'hon.
Figure drawing by Prud'hon.
.

Studying the range of figure drawings-both finished and partially finished--that Prud'hon made over a 40-year period allows us to reconstruct a methodology for how they were started, developed, and completed. This helps in understanding their ineffable quality--the rare combination of delicacy and structural strength that is essentially his.

Prud'hon's figure drawings are densely constructed and built up in distinct layers. These layers or stages include linear thoughts-such as contour designation and hatching--as well as broad tonal passages of stumping, rubbing, and graining. They are built up in strata and go through stages in which the figure drawing is first established, then effaced, restated, and refined. Mixing lines, tones, and additive and subtractive techniques, Prud'hon presented us with a full range of the expressive possibilities of chalk and paper.

Prud'hon's distinctive choices started right at the outset, beginning with his selection of black and white chalk on blue paper. Although hardly unique to Prud'hon, this cold tonality sets up a completely different emotive key than the more common warmth of red chalk on cream paper. Aside from its color characteristics, the blue paper also gave Prud'hon a solid middle tone from which to begin and locates the drawing directly in the center of the tonal range from the start. The other conspicuous element of Prud'hon's beginnings is that he made full use of both the black and the white chalk right from the outset. When working on toned paper, many artists spend much more time developing the darks initially, only adding the white chalk toward the end in the form of restricted highlights. But Prud'hon got the lights and the darks in his figure sketches going at the same time, using the white chalk extensively from the start, and this allowed him to establish his uncanny sense of luminosity early on.

It seems clear from the partially finished figure drawings that he would begin with a tentative, airy contour to establish the basic proportions, gesture, and positioning of the figure on the paper. He would then attack the major plane breaks with extraordinarily free and vigorous hatching. What is so impressive about these initial marks is that despite their élan, they are perfectly placed and anatomically informed. He used his marks variously to run down the length of a bone, to pick out a subcutaneous landmark, or to begin to carve out the planes of a major muscle mass. This amount of accuracy, combined with such swiftness of delivery, speaks of knowledge of the body so deeply ingrained that he was able to make these notations in a split second, with his hand in constant motion.

At this stage, the figure sketches were completely linear--made up of a dense network of lines, slashes, and quickly jotted down notations for anatomical landmarks. The mark-making came out of his initial training in tracing and copying engravings. He would then home in on a selected part of the drawing--usually starting from the top--and take a stump and rub down all the marks in that section, transforming them into broad tonal washes. Occasionally, he would stump down the entire figure drawing. But the number of partially finished drawings in which there are both linear and rubbed-down areas seems to indicate that he usually developed the drawings in sections.

After this early process of stumping, the drawing started to make a radical shift from linear to tonal and began reading more like a soft grisaille painting than a line drawing. This rubbing down of the surface gave the drawing a breadth and a freedom more reminiscent of ink wash than dry chalk. And although this initial stumping served largely to divide the figure into its basic planes of light and dark, the black and white chalks also began blending into those seamless gray halftones, which would survive into the final stages of the drawing.

--Ephraim Rubenstein

Proving Leonardo's Figure Drawing Proportions

. The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, pen and ink drawing, 1487.
The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci,
pen and ink drawing, 1487.
.

Leonardo's figure drawing The Vitruvian Man is an icon of such stature that Dr. Martin Kemp referred to it as "probably the most famous drawing in the world." Here we will focus only on the theories of proportion proposed by Vitruvius as understood and elaborated on by Leonardo.

Leonardo's figure drawing measures about 13½ x 9¾ inches (344 x 245 mm) and is executed in light brown watered ink on a soft, warm, gray paper. It is one of the earliest of his drawings on human proportion and was done during Leonardo's first Milanese period.

What follows is an assessment, line by line, of the accuracy of Vitruvius' theories as interpreted and illustrated by Leonardo using both his drawing and mine. In order to clarify Leonardo's transcription of Vitruvius we have separated and enumerated each of the theories with bold numbers in the text.

Leonardo begins his interpretation of Vitruvius with, "the measurements of the human body are distributed by Nature as follow:"

1. "4 fingers make one palm." Perfect; a simple measurement with a caliper or compass will confirm this. Just below the figure and the second paragraph (which is only a single sentence) is a horizontal line with markings at both ends. The words diti (fingers) are written directly under four spaces, defined by five small lines, indicating the width of the fingers.  And next to that the word palmi (palms) written directly under five spaces, defined by six small lines, the width of each measures exactly four fingers.

2. "4 palms make one foot." Not quite; the length of the foot in both Leonardo's drawing and mine is less than three palms.

3. "6 palms make one cubit." Correct. I have found that in verifying Leonardo's theories one should trust in the ratio of the module to the part being measured. However, in this case, as the cubit is not part of the body but an ancient form of measurement (18 to 22 inches), we must rely on the accepted measurement of the cubit. So, if the width of a man's palm is approximately 3.25 inches, then six palms would measure 19 inches, which fits into the width of a cubit. And if we measure this same man of average height at his shoulders we would find that the width of his shoulders, between 18 and 20 inches, would enter into the height of a man four times, proving the theory in numbers 4 and 13.

4. "4 cubits make a man's height." Usually correct.

5. "And 4 cubits make one pace and 24 palms make one cubit." Variable; One cubit at 18 inches x 4 = 72 inches or 6 feet, but a pace, according to the definition, is smaller at 58 inches--less than 5 feet. The conclusion here is to stick to the anatomical modules to establish a canon, and as for the second part, the measurement is slightly less than 24 palms in a whole man.

6. "If you open your legs so much as to decrease your height by 1/14...the space between the legs will be an equilateral triangle." Variable: In Leonardo's drawing, the decrease--the distance from the feet which rest on the bottom of the equilateral triangle to the feet resting on the bottom of the square=-measures slightly more than 1/14, but in my drawing the decrease measures more than 1/17 of the total height of the figure. However, in both drawings the equilateral triangles are perfect. Go figure!

7. In order to bring further clarity to the text, I have rearranged Leonardo's text by combining a portion of the last sentence in the first paragraph to the single sentence of the second paragraph.

"...and spread and raise your arms till your middle fingers touch the level of the top of your head you must know that the center of the outstretched limbs will be in the navel..." and, "The length of a man's outspread arms is equal to his height." Perfect. A man standing perfectly erect in a square, stretching his arms upward, will find that his middle fingers touch the top level of the square level with his head, at the exact point where the circle intersects the square. And his navel will be at the compass point of this perfect circle. In addition, we will find that the length of a second set of his horizontally outstretched arms will be equal to his whole height.

Leonardo was the first (after Vitruvius) to comprehend and combine these theories together and the first to combine the circle and the square together in a single drawing, not by trying to square the circle, but by projecting it outside the square. In so doing he surpassed others before him and those who followed.  


8. "From the roots of the hair to the bottom of the chin is the tenth of a man's height." Variable. In this Leonardo quotes Vitruvius' words verbatim but contradicts it to measure 9 faces in several other examples. But even here in both Leonardo's and my figure drawing the full figure measures only slightly larger than 9 faces.

9. "From the bottom of the chin to the top of his head is one-eighth of his height." Correct. This is the standard, acceptable, and reliable measurement, which works perfectly in Leonardo's and my figure sketch.

10. "From the top of the breast to the top of his head will be one-sixth of a man." Correct. The measurement must be taken at the pit of the throat formed by the manubrum, the top of the sternum. It is perfect in Leonardo's drawing and mine.

11. "From the top of the breast to the roots of the hair will be the seventh part of the whole man." Variable, and correct. This forms an unusual module and it measures slightly more in Leonardo's drawing and slightly less in mine.

12. "...from the nipples to the top of the head will be the fourth part of a man." Correct. Perfect in both Leonardo's and my drawing.

13. "The greatest width of the shoulders contains in itself the fourth part of a man." Correct. Perfect, in both Leonardo's and my drawings and proven in several other examples.

14. "From the elbow to the tip of the hand will be the fifth part of a man." Variable. In both Leonardo's and my drawing it measures no more than one-fourth of a man.

15. "...and from the elbow to the angle of the armpit will be the eighth part of a man." Correct. This should mean that the module is roughly equal to the size of the head; I find it slightly more in both Leonardo's and my drawing.

16. "The whole hand will be the tenth part of a man." Variable. We already have proven that the hand is equal to the face and is closer to one-ninth of the whole man.

17. "The beginning of the genitals marks the middle of the man." Perfect. This point is the pubis symphasis where the two halves of the pelvis come together in front. This bony landmark is a standard, reliable reference point and is proven several times over in these pages.

18. "The foot is the seventh part of a man." Variable. Here Leonardo parts from Vitruvius, for Vitruvius states unequivocally on several occasions that the foot is one-sixth of the whole height of a man. In both Leonardo's and my drawing the measurement is closer to seven than to six.

19. "From the sole of the foot to below the knee will be the fourth part of a man." Perfect in both Leonardo's drawing and mine.

20. "From below the knee to the beginning of the genitals will be the fourth part of a man." If we take 19 and 20 together, they will equal two-fourths, and make half a man. See 17 to verify the center of a man.

21. "The distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose and from the roots of the hair to the eyebrows is, in each case the same, and like the ear, a third of the face." Perfect. 

--Anthony Panzera


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  • Kinder Love by Jason Bard Yarmosky, 2011, pencil drawing, 18 x 24. Frontal Study of Naked Man by Leonardo, 1503- 09, pen and ink drawing, 9 1/4 x 5 3/4. Looking East by Kerry Brooks, colored pencil drawing. I'm excited to report that the fall issue
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  • Last time we discussed the idea of switching up art practice techniques . The concept was that, while repetition builds skills, change keeps the mind sharp and the work lively. I've been thinking about ways I personally switch up techniques. The first
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  • Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Nicholas Hilliard (attributed), 1585. I can only imagine the excitement and thrill of sitting for any one of the great portrait painters in history such as Bronzino, Velazquez, and Sargent. But then my mind goes directly
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  • This issue considers the gentle and peculiar graphite portraits of Jason Bard Yarmosky, who draws his grandparents wearing various costumes in order to reassess cultural assumptions about old age. It also includes another article that explains how artists can use the proportions of the figure to aid
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  • Click on any of the above images to see David Kassan's Drawing the Eyes . That is no small task, no doubt about it. Yet hundreds of thousands of us search every year online about how to draw eyes. Mostly, I think, because we take drawing eyes for
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  • In this issue, Kenneth J. Procter discusses his work in the medium of powdered charcoal and looks at his own evolution as an artist. The issue also features a special section on portraiture, a subject with great expressive potential despite the restrictions portrait artists sometimes must work under
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  • Employ A Wide Range Of Media And Styles; Spanish Masters From Ribera To Goya; Mapping The Face Through Large Self-Portraits; How To Draw Active, Lifelike Figures; Advice For Drawing Leaves+ Plants In Perspective.
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  • Marjorie Forgues' figure drawing, day 1. Marjorie Forgues' figure drawing, day 2. Taking a painting or drawing class is always a learning experience, but often I find I learn a great deal from other artists in the class as well. This is especially
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  • I am kidding! So kidding! But I was thinking about this article and how I wanted to discuss working with a model, specifically how to position your model in a figure drawing , and what that position can convey both compositionally and as part of the narrative
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  • Unknown Woman by Thomas Wilmer Dewing, 1890, pastel painting on paper. I love the effects and colors you can get with pastel paintings . . . at least I do now. It wasn't too long ago that I felt like I had some kind of weird complex where I could
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  • Oil painting demonstration by Robert Liberace. To listen to Robert Liberace talk during one of his demonstrations, sometimes, fleetingly, it sounds to me like there is an occasional contradiction. The most recent example I can point to is when he talked
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  • This is a long pose drawing that made it into my "evaluate" pile. Part of the artistic learning process for me is learning how to evaluate my work, not on a piece by piece basis, but collectively. This summer I am looking at my drawing art works
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  • Left: Kem , detail, 2004, 48 x 24, oil on canvas. Right: Hands #1 , 2011, 24 x 24, oil on canvas. I am not claiming either painting is better, but without my figure drawing practice between 2004 and 2011 I couldn't have painted the newer painting
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  • Woman on a Treadmill by Kate Sikorski, figure drawing, 2009. I am a firm believer in starting a life drawing with the envelope—the shape you first draw before anything else. I've come to think of it as one of my drawing basics. This envelope
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  • A photo of the plein air landscape site I chose to paint. I can still recall the first morning I saw this little bend in the river ike it was yesterday. The air was still cool and breezy, the sun was glinting off the water, the bees in their hive were
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  • Peter Kelsey's cast drawing of the male torso. Hey fellow artists! Drawing anatomy seems overwhelming to me sometimes, but if I focus on strategies for HOW to learn it, it starts to seem doable. Here are a few tips I learned from a recent article
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  • As I was struggling to pull my drawings together, I realized that it didn't matter how good my line got, because I couldn't tell what I was looking at. The topic was the human body, and more specifically, the back. If you've gone through life drawing, perhaps you know the problem. You're
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  • From the time I started drawing, I have had a constant battle with myself over how to start. For years I have been looking for the one right way to sketch in a composition or block-in an underpainting. Lately, and with the help of my Studio Incamminati instructors, I have learned that there are several
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  • Golden by Daniel Gerhartz, oil on canvas, 16 x 12. Since its inception in 2009, Weekend With the Masters Workshop & Conference has brought together some of the top instructors of representational art under one roof for a long weekend of workshops
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  • Figure Throwing Ball by Rob Liberace, chalk drawing on paper, 24 x 36. Rob Liberace: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Robert Liberace is considered by many to be a contemporary classicist, equally accomplished in sculpture, drawing, and painting and
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  • Approaching Noise (in progress) by David Jon Kassan, oil painting on wood panel, 40 x 34. David Jon Kassan: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Following his initial drawing studies at University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, David Jon Kassan attended
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  • Twilight by Tony Ryder, 1998, pencil drawing, 25 x 19. Tony Ryder: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Anthony Ryder studied at the Art Students League of New York, the New York Academy of Art, and the Ecole Albert Defois, in France, with oil painter
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  • Throughout his career, Richard Schmid has promoted art education through his books, articles, workshops, seminars, and television presentations. Richard Schmid: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Richard Schmid was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1934.
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  • Thinking Man by Jacob Collins, oil painting, 30 x 20, 2004. Jacob Collins: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Jacob Collins is a leading figure in the contemporary revival of classical painting. He earned a B.A. in history from Columbia College and attended
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  • Light at Sunset by Joseph McGurl, oil painting, 24 x 36. Joseph McGurl: Weekend With the Masters Instructor Joseph McGurl has been referred to as one of the acknowledged leaders in the current American landscape painting arena. This has been confirmed
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  • Scott Burdick and Susan Lyon are skilled artists, inspiring instructors, and just really kind people. If you've ever been in a workshop with either of them, you are lucky enough to know what I mean. In watching them work, you get a sense of the sensitivity and thoughtfulness with which they craft
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  • On the Cover: Idaline (detail) by Anthony Ryder, 2007, graphite and pastel on tinted paper, 14 x 10. Collection the artist. FEATURES The Ryder Studio School: Drawing on Light & Form by Allison Malafronte Artists who want to learn Anthony Ryder’s
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  • A couple of years ago I wrote an article about an education program that introduced modern art to children in a museum setting. After seeing the artwork, the kids then had the opportunity to make their own pieces. In the workshop, they acted like successful artists—fearless, opinionated, and not
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  • Ramona by Tony Ryder, 1995, graphite, 24 x 18. Private collection. My father has been in the construction industry for nearly 40 years. When I was younger, one of my favorite things to do was visit him on the job site before a building was finished and
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  • Check out what's featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Drawing magazine.
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  • In the new atelier she opened in Rome, Andrea J. Smith teaches students to use a limited palette of colors when painting exactly what they see from a measured distance away from the subject and the easel.
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  • Very few rules are absolute in art. But one rule keeps popping up in our magazines, quoted by art instructors and artists of all types...
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  • "Bodies ... The Exhibition," currently housed in New York City's South Street Seaport, offers draftsmen the chance to draw from human specimens after hours. It's an opportunity New York City area artists shouldn't miss.
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  • Here are a few basic concepts of artistic perspective you absolutely need to know, whether your intentions are expressive or realist-minded.
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  • In this passage, which we had to cut from the print article in our Spring 2009 issue of Drawing for space reasons, artist-instructor Dan Gheno explains how visualizing the arc that body parts move through will help you place the joints in the right location, ensuring proper proportions.
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  • What inspired you to first pick up a pencil? For some it was first seeing an Audubon print. Others may have fallen in love with the anime film Akira. Maybe it was Superman.
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  • Joseph McGurl grew up under his talented father’s artistic tutelage while cultivating a passion for boating and a love of the sea. This early influence, coupled with years of hard work and practice, have made him one of today’s foremost landscape painters, and in this interview he shares
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  • In this passage, which we had to cut from the print article in our Spring 2009 issue of Drawing for space reasons, artist-instructor Dan Gheno explains how the tanned portions of a nude model seem to stand out and push forward, and he reiterates the value of studying individual body parts.
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  • Here's a sneak preview of an upcoming feature in Drawing magazine: the lively, colorful figure drawings of NYC artist Fred Hatt.
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  • Above, a selection of sketchbooks from Kunst & Papier, Palo Alto, California. About two weeks ago I opened up a discussion regarding the best pencil for drawing. Now I'm interested in the best sketchbook. Although I had an opinion about the best
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  • Recently, two new drawing books caught my eye. I hope to review one or both in an upcoming issue of Drawing , but for those of you who need holiday gift ideas for the draftsman on your list RIGHT NOW, here's a sneak preview. Understanding Architecture
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  • Occhuzzie Paint Company, a small manufacturer based in Charlotte, North Carolina, unveiled two new pigments at the Savannah College of Art & Design's Art Materials Show, held at the beginning of October. One featured ground graphite suspended
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  • During the course of my work with Drawing magazine, I occasionally get to visit with Anthony Panzera, an excellent draftsman and teacher at Hunter College, on New York's Upper East Side. He is a man of dignity and warmth, and I enjoy chatting with
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  • Drawing is arguably the oldest form of visual art, but despite its long history, it still has the power to surprise. For example, the simple graphite pencil has been around for more than 200 years, but artists continue to find new methods of working with
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  • Anthony Panzera comments on Antonio López García's Portrait of Maria . by Anthony Panzera Portrait of Maria by Antonio López García, 1972, graphite drawing, 28 x 21. Collection the artist. I first saw this drawing some
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  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City, marked the renovation and reopening of the Robert Lehman Wing with an exhibition of 60 drawings by Venetian master Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and his son, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo. Tiepolo Drawings From
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  • Anthony Panzera comments on Leonardo da Vinci's Head of the Virgin in Three-Quarter View Facing to the Right. by Anthony Panzera Head of the Virgin in Three-Quarter View Facing to the Right by Leonardo da Vinci, ca. 1510, soft black and red chalk
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  • David Jon Kassan comments on Robert C. Dacey's Andrea in Shadow. Andrea in Shadow by Robert C. Dacey, charcoal drawing on Bristol board, 20 x 30. by David Jon Kassan This piece is a great figure drawing study in light and dark contrasts. It has a
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  • Anthony Panzera comments on William-Adolphe Bouguereau's A Girl in Peasant Costume, Seated, Arms Folded, Holding a Ball of Wool and Knitting Needles in her Right Hand. A Girl in Peasant Costume, Seated, Arms Folded, Holding a Ball of Wool and Knitting
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  • Owen Gray comments on Peter Paul Rubens' Hercules and Minerva Fighting Mars. Hercules and Minerva Fighting Mars by Peter Paul Rubens, ca. 1632-1640, gouache and brush over brown ink over preliminary drawing in black chalk on light brown paper, 14
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  • David Jon Kassan comments on Burton Silverman's drawing, Demonstrator. Demonstrator by Burton Silverman, 1968, charcoal drawing. by David Jon Kassan This charcoal drawing by Burton Silverman represents one of the many conceptual approaches the artist
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  • In the winter 2008 issue of Watercolor magazine, Margaret M. Martin discussed incorporating figures in her architecture and landscape scenes to help direct the viewer's eye and infuse a sense of movement and life into her paintings. Here, we offer
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  • As one studies drawing, it can be useful to learn from masters that came before in order to gain inspiration and find ways of approaching challenges that arise. For those discovering drawing, there are several master draftsmen one can learn from. by Naomi
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  • Ephraim Rubenstein discusses Michelangelo's The Risen Christ and The Resurrection of Christ. by Ephraim Rubenstein The Risen Christ by Michelangelo, ca. 1513, black chalk drawing, 16 x 10. Collection the British Museum, London, England. The Resurrection
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  • David Jon Kassan comments on Michelangelo's Male Nude . Male Nude by Michelangelo Buonarroti, ca.1504, black chalk drawing heightened with lead white, 16 x 9. Collection Teylers Museum, Haarlem, the Netherlands. Looking at Drawings: "Male Nude
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  • It was tough, but we chose 10 finalists who best showcase the skill level and imagination of our readers and named Noel A. Carmack the Drawing Magazine Cover Competition Winner for 2006. Noel A. Carmack Shannon by Noel A. Carmack, 2006, black colored
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  • Careful use of darks and lights within and around the figure can give your drawings more power and dramatic force. by Dan Gheno Laocoön by Baccio Bandinelli, red and black chalk, 21 x 15¾. Collection the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy. Some
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  • Many artists work within the confines of their studios or homes, making it difficult to connect with colleagues. Below are different ways beginning artists can enter the social dimension of the art world. by Naomi Ekperigin Art Classes and Workshops Attending
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  • The Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier, just outside of San Francisco, began with one woman’s dream to establish a school steeped in the traditions of the European ateliers of the past. Today the atelier is one of the most regarded classical contemporary
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  • David Jon Kassan comments on George Bellows' A Stag at Sharkey's. A Stag at Sharkey’s by George Bellows, 1917, lithograph, 18½ x 23. This lithograph drawing by George Bellows was based on an earlier painting of the same name done
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  • A look at the anatomical structure of the neck, and some helpful figure drawing tips from Drawing magazine's Understanding Anatomy series. Read other features in the Understanding Anatomy series: Drawing the Leg Drawing the Ear Drawing the Arm by
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  • David Jon Kassan discusses John Singer Sargent's Male Back . Male Back by John Singer Sargent, charcoal drawing. Drawn between 1890-1915. by David Jon Kassan While most artists will rely on how light describes form in their figure drawings , John
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  • From the thousands of art-instruction books available, we offer a list of those that have proven beneficial to new artists. by Naomi Ekperigin There are many options available for artists wishing to improve their skills. However, the price and time commitment
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  • This New York artist discovers many of his breakthroughs through drawings, depicting strictly what he sees with little thought for accepted standards of draftsmanship. by John A. Parks Study for Eroded Cliff 1955, sepia wash on paper, 18¾ x 23
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  • This New York artist uses the sheen of graphite to create the light highlights in her drawings on black paper. by Bob Bahr Study of a Roman Sculpture 2007, graphite on black paper, 50 x 33. Collection the artist. Twilight by Sherry Camhy, 2006, graphite
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  • by John Rutherford Exhausted Surgeon 2002, Conté and acrylic, 17 x 21. All artwork this article collection the artist. My approach to figure drawing allows me to work quickly in establishing both the linear outlines of the model’s form and
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  • Many of the great teachers who trained Daniel Graves were featured in American Artist in the 1970s, while he and his students have been profiled in more recent issues. As the magazine celebrates its 70th anniversary, we examine the academic art education
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  • Maryland artist Mark Karnes paints everyday scenes by sketching value studies in ink or watercolor then slowly painting in oil or acrylic without a detailed preparatory drawing. by Ephraim Rubenstein Dining Room Cloudy Day 2005, acrylic on board, 16 x
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  • A more finished drawing is possible when a model poses for an extended amount of time, but this luxury comes with particular challenges. Identifying and preparing for the potential pitfalls will improve your figure drawing . To read more features like
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  • In the fall 2007 issue of Drawing magazine, we highlighted the Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier as one of the most regarded classical contemporary schools in the country, offering students traditional figure-drawing training from today’s top artist
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  • John P. Smolko won the Grand Prize—a new MetroShed, furnished by Blick Art Materials, for use as a stand-alone studio—for his imaginative colored pencil piece, Homage to Klimt (The Virgin). Read more about the artist, and view five online
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  • Prud’hon drew from the figure throughout his career, and now those “académies” anchor his reputation. How did he draw such stunning figure studies? by Ephraim Rubenstein Standing Nude charcoal heightened with white chalk on blue
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  • Chicago’s School of Representational Art offers a classical art education in a modern world. by Mark G. Mitchell Tartan by Steve Ohlrich, 1999, charcoal and pastel on white paper, 25 x 19. On the top floor of an old factory warehouse in the arts
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  • Liz Haywood-Sullivan relies on several techniques to ensure she consistently achieves rich, velvety darks. View an online exlcusive gallery of Haywood-Sullivan's work. by Christopher Willard Southwest Solitude 2005, pastel, 24 x 36. Private collection
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  • Although Paul Lowe, our Artist of the Month, finds inspiration in nature, he almost always paints his landscapes from inside the studio. by Edith Zimmerman Palm Oasis 24 x 18. Courtesy Galerie Gabrie, Pasadena, California. Although Paul Lowe, our Artist
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  • Teachers of all grade levels and subjects can use museum resources to enhance their curriculum. by Erica Yonks African Mask 2006, 10th grade, charcoal and pencil. During a unit on the art and history of West Africa, students drew from figure sculptures
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  • Online resources offer students in all grade levels fast and easy access to images and background information that offer students a deeper understanding of fine art and art history. by Erica Yonks A Hyena’s Dinner 12th grade student, 2006, found
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  • In past issues, we explained how to analyze and correctly draw different areas of the body. In this tutorial overview of the figure, we bring it all together. by Dan Gheno Weighted Stasis by Dan Gheno, 2006, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned
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  • Line has been around for a long time. Ever since the prehistoric era, when that first artist picked up a lump of wood ash from a spent campfire and outlined a hand on the cave wall, lines have described forms of all types--human, animal, and landscape
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  • If you know the anatomy of arms, you can use them to express much. by Ephraim Rubenstein Study of Arms 2006, red chalk, 26 x 19. All artwork this article collection the artist unless otherwise indicated. This study shows the major masses of the arm in
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  • As well as any artist before or since, John Singer Sargent learned the best lessons in value, light, and form and used them throughout his life—lessons clearly visible in his drawings. by Mark G. Mitchell Sleeping Child 1872–1873, graphite
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  • by Edith Zimmerman From Hart’s Cartooning series (Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, New York). Anyone interested in the techniques of cartooning has probably heard of Christopher Hart . His instructional books have been read and reread by millions
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  • Depicting features is only the beginning. Putting life into a head drawing requires assimilating it with the rest of the body, capturing an attitude—and much more. by Dan Gheno Study for the Angel in Madonna of the Rocks by Leonardo, silverpoint
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  • This New York artist draws convincing objects in imaginary spaces, finding meaning in both the items and their presentation. by Lynne Moss Perricelli Into the Light: Yellow 2004, colored pencil and collage, 19 x 22. Collection the artist. New York artist
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  • Tonal drawing--the juxtaposition of relative values, the notion of seeing masses rather than outlines--more closely replicates the way humans see than do lines. This emotional way of depicting the world has been explored since Leonardo; modern artists
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