When I began this course, whilst my drawing skills were decent I struggled with perspective and stiffness in my work. I still do, however throughout the weeks I have found my work becoming more expressive, with fluidity in poses and a growing understanding of how important perspective is. In week one, we were asked if we realised how important perspective was, I said I did. However, it isn’t until the more recent weeks that I have realised exactly how much we use it in our drawings. I could break down the human body into basic shapes, however my poses had no defining line, no fluidity, approaching the end of this semester I can see how the 1 minute poses have helped my poses look more natural.
In week 1 we learnt about perspective from drawing boxes. It was in this session that I realised exactly how little understanding of perspective I had, especially when we were then asked to put shapes and characters into the boxes. When I handed in my homework for that week, Michael brought to my attention that I hadn’t used a horizon line. He explained to me that a horizon line gives the shapes weight and gravity. This was particularly useful in a later homework where we had to draw spheres under a light source, and give the sphere’s shadows.
Perspective practice also came in handy when drawing the models. The models usually have a prop, incorporating the prop involved perspective and I had the most difficulty when the models used a chair. As the class continued I began to understand how we could use the chair and its perspectives to help us work out the models proportions.
When we had the Superman homework, I also looked at fitting Superman’s head into a box as it was a already very square in shape. This has helped me when drawing the life models’ heads, as it gave me a perspective and basic shape to work off. Although I am still struggling with drawing the models with hats. However, this is an improvement as when I started life drawing I didn’t even attempt drawing hats as I didn’t understand how they sat on the head.
When I began life drawing I had been reading Burne Hogarth’s books ‘Dynamic Anatomy’ and ‘Dynamic Figure Drawing’. I understood that I had to break the models down into separate shapes and lines, however my lines were very straight and I struggled with proportion. Michael told me in class that I should be using a line of action, and curves in order to achieve more fluidity in my work. Looking at Preston Blair’s ‘Advanced Animation’ I discovered more about the ‘line of action’ and began to apply it to my work. I can see how my work has advanced from stiff hard lines, to fluid curves and the illusion of weight thanks to Michael’s and this book’s advice.
Another challenge we faced was drawing our models as characters, Dirk the Daring and Madam Mim. As fun as this was, it was also challenging. We had to match the proportions of the character to the model. Unfortunately, I missed the week we drew the model as Madam Mim, however I felt the effect of missing just that one class, it felt like I had taken a step back. It has motivated me not to miss another class ever again.
Overall, I can see myself improving, not only in my work for Uni, but also in my personal work. I am gaining a better understanding of how the body is proportioned and the importance of perspective. In the future, I hope to work more on my life drawing work at home. I did take a weekend life drawing class this semester, however I feel that I would benefit from dedicating even fifteen minutes a day to life drawing work as sometimes I don’t manage even that. I hope to continue improving in my work.
Blair, P. (1948). Advanced animation. 1st ed. [Laguna Beach, Calif.]: [Foster Art Service].
Hogarth, B. (1970). Dynamic figure drawing. 1st ed. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications.
Hogarth, B. (2003). Dynamic anatomy. 1st ed. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications.