With this particular figure drawing I started with an abstract shape. It’s definitely a different way to start. Now what I’d like to share with you is how to branch out from the legs into drawing the torso.
That is drawing the torso with correct proportions. On paper it sounds easy. But executing this is somewhat difficult. It takes good eye hand coordination.
The concept is to use targets to branch out. What are targets you ask? They are little marks that you place on the paper to estimate where the edge of an item would be. The edge of the torso, the edge of the arm etc.
You’ll also want to look at abstract negative space between the torso and the legs. Take it slow and do not rush this step. Look and study more than you draw.
Lastly you’ll want to take measurements. Common sense stuff like what is directly opposite the model’s breast? What is right below the model’s navel. Not very romantic but these techniques work.
Like I said on paper this all sounds very boring and simple. But this really does take quite of lot of eye hand coordination. How to you get that, you draw everyday.
If this technique helps you please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear anything you can add to conversation. If you have tried this technique and are still having issues with getting correct proportions I would like to help.
I would be happy to critique your work each and every Monday in our members Critique Gallery. It’s a cool place to get feedback on your work without all of the negative commentary.
Have you ever looked at your drawings and something seemed not quite right? The drawing was beautiful but a touch flat. I know I certainly have. Both my paintings and drawings had a flat look at one time.
After many years of trial and error I finally learned why my paintings and drawings looked flat. I was putting much too much detail everywhere. I was putting detail in the light, I was also rendering detail in the shadows. I was putting details in the background as well as the foreground.
If you are detail orientated like me you most likely love to render. You love to put details all over your images. You might want to consider using less detail to create more depth and atmosphere.
For example keep your shadows shapes fairly simple. Add details and texture in the light instead. Another tip, don’t put too many details in the background of your images. Think more shapes in the background, less texture. Render most of the texture and detail in the foreground.
These are simple tips for you to consider in order to create a well balanced drawing or painting. Letting go of detail in these two specific areas, the shadows and background will enable you to create an image that has depth and atmosphere.
If you have questions about this topic leave them in the comments section below.
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For those of you who have been around the drawing block before “Negative Space” is kind of like an old familiar friend. I think it was either fifth or ninth grade that I was introduced to this technique. Betty Edwards has certainly created a whole cottage industry around this technique. All the power to her.
I have used this technique forever. I remember getting my pre-college portfolio together and negative space helped me with my still life drawings. Negative space or shape also helped me back in my college days when I was clueless on how to draw the figure.
This technique of spiraling out from a simple negative space is golden. It’s simple and it works.
I usually like to start with the negative space between the models arm and torso. If the model has their hand on their hip this shape will most likely come in the form of a triangle. I then measure across the torso to the other side of the models torso drawing in two angles. I then draw a little in the middle, usually the spine.
So in essence it’s sort of like you are spiraling out from the center of the first simple negative space you see.
The other beautiful thing about this drawing technique is that it tricks your brain. Anyone can draw a funky looking negative shape, however drawing a complicated figure, that’s hard. A lot of artists always start with the head first. That’s a great place to start. However starting with an abstract negative shape gives you options. Especially if you are drawing an unconventional foreshortened pose.
So the next time you are in life drawing class or even drawing from a photo try spiraling out from a simple abstract shape. It’s super fun and easy.