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"I really enjoyed my time in this class. Robert's style of teaching is very encouraging and patient. Having never studied anatomy before I found it challenging but really rewarding when I saw the results on paper, having an understanding of the bone structure and muscles was really helpful and allowed me to experiment with my drawings. Each model was exceptional also, all of them very different. I am looking forward to progressing onto the intermediate course, I had such a great time, I would recommend it to anyone!"
Angeline
from Australia, after completing term4 of the Masterclass

"Thank you very much for my membership to Figure Drawing Online blog! And thank you for the great lectures! They are exactly what I was looking for!
Your lessons are even better than the lessons that I have visited during my graphic design studies at the University.

Because of your teaching lessons I discovered the figural drawing again for me and I have the feeling to really learn something ... step by step. Thanks for that ;-)

In a few weeks I would like to progress to the Advanced Class."
Nicole K., Germany

"I was so impressed with the clarity of the beginning lecture and the lecture on the torso that I will be ordering all 13 lectures and advanced as they are produced. Great teaching!! I wish I was in Australia!"
Jack from USA
 

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Note: The links in orange are live and have content. The rest is coming soon.

1/ Approach To Drawing – a bit of theory that goes a long way

1.1/ There is no such thing as Multitasking

1.2/ Copying versus Creating

1.3/ The Only 3 Rules

1.4/ Grasping the Complex

2/ The Basic Set–Up

2.1/ Materials – paper, drawing tools...

2.2/ Environment

3/ Drawing Basics

3.1/ Why Standing?

3.2/ How to hold A Pencil

4/ Drawing Practices

4.1/ The Shapes

4.2/ How to Steady the Hand

4.3/ Basic Perspective

4.4/ Foreshortening

4.5/ Imagine It and Draw It

5/ The Drawing magic

5.1/ The building Elements – line, plane, mass and contour lines

5.2 Flick that Light Switch

5.3/ The rule of the Mass – weight, thrust, orientation
 

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Image of a female model and the drawing of her.

I also teach in person – figure drawing, figurative sculpture in clay and figurative sculpture in stone. Attending a class in person has it's advantages. If you wish to do so, find out where and when is the next class held.

Grasping The Complex

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I know, I know, I said it many times. The human body is an incredible complex system of shapes and forms that constantly change their size, shape and position. That seems like a nightmare for anyone wanting to make a drawing of it. But that's how it is. No matter how perceptive you are, no matter how good your attention to detail is, unless there is knowledge of the human body backing your efforts to draw, it's going to be very hard. What to do about it? Follow the Three Basic Rules.
And, yes, I said that already too, but you need to understand that this is not just a piece of mental note that is easy enough to understand. This is something you need to keep in mind while drawing. At least until it sinks deep enough to become a subconscious setting. And the only way to get there is to be constantly reminded. So, please, do forgive the repetition.

In this article I will concentrate on the second rule, the concept of simplifying the complex shape into simple geometric forms. For an untrained eye it is hard to see the geometric froms an accomplished artist uses partly because of lack of training on the observer's side. Mainly, though, it is because the artist will gradually reduce the geometric shapes to a mark on the paper here and there. The more the artist practiced this rule of simplifying the complex form in order to be able to draw it at all, the more it is part of his decision making process and the less it has to be put down on the paper. He will be able to just hold these concepts in his subconscious mind and look after the the expressive stuff in the drawing. What he wants you to see.

If you have doubts about this rule and/or method, have a look at the drawings below. The first one is from a giant of german renaissance, Albrecht Durer. Observe how he uses the second rule to convert parts of the body to geometric shapes to simplify them. And then, once he has done this he can easily determine how to position the simple shape. Remember the simple questions? Is the shape facing up or down? Left or right? Is it rotated? Also note, that in this exercise he does not use shading. It is only shapes and yet there is no question which way are the shapes turned. Adding a few more attributes to this type of thinking gives us "Massing". I will speak more about massing later on down the track. For now, I will point out a few more things about this drawing in the video below.

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drawing by Albrecht Durer, 1471 – 1528

The next drawing is by another renaissance man, Luca Cambiasso, from Italy. Cambiasso is working out a dynamic scene with multiple figures interacting. This is an extraordinarily fast and effective way to work out a composition. To define attitude through body language and gesture. And, of course, to clarify the elements of anatomy. When you see a finished painting you would not guess how it all started, and yet, this is how figure drawing has always been taught. The only way how the complexities of the human form can be grasped, worked with, expressed and communicated. Cambiasso takes his study a step further than Durer and introduces light in his drawing. But it is too early for that yet. I would strongly advise everyone to stay with the simple basics until they are part of your visual vocabulary. Then add more.

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drawing by Luca Cambiasso, 1527 – 1585

Below is a video in which I demonstrate the three rules and also talk about how the three rules work together. I would strongly encourage everyone to practice this process all the time. Later on there will be some advice on what sort of exercises are good to build awareness of these rules.

If you found the free tutorials, articles and the
"A Drawing A Day" series helpful, please donate an amount of your choice. Your support will enable me to continue producing more free stuff to help the progress of your learning. I do appreciate your support.

Image of a hand making a pen and ink drawing of a figure

This site has a Blog which is the platform for announcements. This is where the news of any new article, video and / or tutorial is posted. It also publishes the "A Drawing A Day" series where I upload a drawing a day, sometimes with a bit of commentary to demonstrate some of the many points talked about in the free lessons and the drawing course. This may take on a form of a video.

 

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