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"Thank you so much for making these classes available. They are rich and full and you are an excellent teacher. Your lessons are like a gift to my art."
K.B., USA

"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 term 4 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.

movies

Foreshortening

Foreshortening is a way of drawing an object or a figure in depth. That means several things. First of all the dimensions of an object change with an amount of foreshortening applied. For example, a person's arm is several times longer than it's width. However, when the model points his arm directly towards us in stages, we can observe this ratio to change very fast. Progressively the length of the arm shortens until it disappears when pointed directly at us. All we can see is the hand and it is understood that the arm is hidden behind it. One of the key elements of figure drawing is to avoid flatness. We are magicians creating an illusion of depth and so a standing body in a three quarter view is much more pleasing than the same body seen from the front. The three quarter view offers depth. That is why we seldom choose to depict complete foreshortening. Most of the time the foreshortening is partial to enhance the sense of space and depth.

The other thing that happens with foreshortening is a distortion in proportions. When the same model brings his arm to point directly at us, we can observe how the hand itself is first in pleasing proportion to, say... the head. But as it is lifted and brought forward, it's size "grows" and depending on how far we stand from the model, it can easily grow to twice the size of the head by the time it points at us. Now, this can be a very powerful tool of expression in cartoons, comics, storyboards and caricature. However, in realistic figure drawing this increase in size is mostly ignored or used very sparingly. Just as in real life when the model points at us we do not believe for a second that his hand actually did get twice as large as his head. The brain compensates and we automatically understand the change in size to mean the hand being much closer to us than the head. Apart from this information the perception is ignored. The most effective type of foreshortening is partial. The foreshortening is definite and it cannot be mistaken for the artist making a bad judgement on proportions. But at the same time the foreshortened space allows enough room to fit in some detail which only enhances the illusion.

When practising the art of foreshortening drawing the human figure, it is of great assistance to have anatomical knowledge. Knowing the muscles of the foreshortened part of the body will allow us to make a good estimate of what is the approximate cross section of the limb at any point. This will determine our choice of a shape to represent the part of the body. Of course, rough foreshortening can always be achieved by simply tilting the large geometric shape. For example the simplest shape for a lower arm would be a cylinder. Tilt it and you can achieve an indication of the effect. But you can see in many examples of the A Drawing A Day series how there are smaller shapes embedded in each large shape. Rendering of these will give more definition, accuracy and conviction. But the starting point, as almost with everything in figure drawing, are the large shapes.

Below is a summary video of all of the above and it's application to drawing the human figure.

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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