The Human Form

Accurately portraying the human figure

Day 1

Through this project we will learn about the human form in its abstractedness and physicality: the human body represented by concrete, three-dimensional figures and energy of movement.

For the first assignment, we were asked to keep these points in mind:

  • recognize low to medium to high energy movements
  • create a gestural or symbolic drawing of the body
  • alter mediums and scale to achieve desired outcome

Task: Draw low to high movement and activity visualized through gestural, simple forms

Although I have drawn people in the past, most of my drawings were stuck in the static form of the body. Drawing the energy of a person was new for me, and it was quite difficult.

Drawings from live modeling

These drawings were done using group members as models in studio. I first started out with Copic marker, but I found that it made my figures stiff. I then moved onto conte and ink, but these mediums were harder to control.

Characteristics of used mediums:

  • Copic Marker: stiff, create shorter segmented lines, no line weight
  • Conte: good flow, difficult to control, able to alter line weight easily
  • Ink: good flow, able to alter line weight easily, process slowed down by dipping and washing brush

I was unsatisfied by my drawings, so after our session in studio, I drew some more figures from an online website at home.

Drawings from online photos

These were done using the website I found that these drawings were much more representational and stiff compared to the in-person drawing session. They were also created in Copic marker, which did not help the stiffness of the figures at all.

However, I found that these drawings were more accurate proportionally and communicated the human form better than my studio drawings.

As a counter to my representational drawings, I attempted to capture the form of continuous movement using abstraction.

I found it difficult to do gesture drawings since I have always seen the human form as something to dissect and study rather than an overall form.

Capturing the movement of a figure in one frame was more challenging than I had imagined.

  • Practice more with conte to get used to the medium
  • Capture energy and emotion while conveying form
  • Practice, practice, practice!!

Day 2

  • Gesture: energy, emotion, activity of movement
  • Shorten drawing time (1–3 min)
  • Repeat drawings of the same poses to improve proportions
  • Try using a line of action at the beginning

My mind set while drawing this was to use the characteristics of conte to my advantage. I utilized the thickness of the conte crayon to create wide strokes that aided me in communicating the line of action of the figures.

Drawings from live models

When I envisioned the body as a whole rather than segmented pieces, I was able to capture the emotion of the movement better. Before, I would be bogged down in the details of each limb and muscle, so the overall movement was lost.

Favorite works

Although I focus less on the anatomy of the form than before, I feel like that is still a big focal point in my work. I will work to lessen my dependence on these aspects to communicate the human figure.

  • Loosen up more
  • Don’t overwork the drawings

Day 3

  • Observe relations between humans and other things
  • Get to know measurements of yourself
  • Draw hands and feet on the figure

I measured myself and found that my head to body height ratio was 1:8. I also studied my relation to the furniture in my room. My chair seat was exactly the height of my feet and shins, the desk hits my upper thigh when standing, and my bed is up to my mid thighs.

Task: Do six drawings of a person doing a simple action (stand, sit, climb, lean). Draw the start, middle, and end of the action at two point of views.

For my action, I decided to go with stretching.

Beginning, middle, and end of stretch movement; 3/4 front view
Beginning, middle, and end of stretch movement; 3/4 back view

Day 4

Task: Choose an action and fully explore/research it

Studying movement

I decided to go with raking, but I found that my drawings were very stiff. I asked Matt about this issue, and he suggested that I physically try to understand the movement of raking. I went into studio and got a broom to understand where the power is coming from.

Day 5

Key takeaways from class:

  • not powerful enough
  • put person on 3d plane
  • Go do some raking! (learn where the roles of each limb)

I didn’t have access to a rake, but I did some vacuuming to try and understand the dynamics at play when doing a movement similar to raking. I found that what Matt said was right, one arm is responsible for the strength of the movement while the other guides it. Same with the legs: one guides one is support/strength.

Notes from class:

I warmed up with some figure drawings from online pictures

Warm up drawings

I wanted to focus my attention to structural drawing, so I looked at Matt’s drawings and recreated them. This helped me envision the body in segments.

Drawing Matt’s notes

Task: Draw one scene in two points of view that focus on proportion with a ground plane.

I looked up youtube videos of people raking leaves (my search history is quite strange at this point) and drew them.

Reference photos

These are the reference photos I worked with. They are screenshots from a youtube video. The bad image quality is the actual image quality sadly.

I started drawing the raking poses to experiment with the one I wanted to focus on for the final two drawings.

Drawings of raking

Here are close ups of my two point of view drawings.

  • Work on making the figure less stiff (Again!)
  • Covey the power of the movement better (Again!)
  • Do more practice with ground plane

Day 6

Feedback from class:

  • Draw on a larger scale
  • focus on line weight
  • work on foreshortening

I took some notes about what I could improve on in my previous drawing. I also did some studies of segmented body forms using tutorials online.

Reflecting on the previous drawings

I had a lot of issues with my previous sketches, ranging from anatomy to foreshortening. I aimed to understand the problems better so that I could improve in the next iteration.

More studies

These studies of figure drawings helped me understand where and how to break the human form down into simple shapes. This helped me when deciding how to break up my model’s form.

Redone 2 POV pose

Here is my new version of the 2 POV pose. Eric mentioned that the line weight of my previous sketch was getting the outline and the guidelines confused, so I tried to make the contrast more visible. I also drew this on a much larger scale so that the lines wouldn't get muffled.

I did not use the same reference for the pose on the right since I felt that it was a slightly different pose. Instead, I imagined what the pose would look like at a side angle. This made the pose look wonky, so I hope to work on drawing from my mind more in the future.

Adding head details

Day 7

Today we focused on drawing details of the human body (feet, hands, face).

Notes from class:

Class notes

Drawing feet and hands.

Feet at different angles
Hands at different angles
More hands



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